Real-Deal Apple Pie

A little bit fussy, Pie

I feel like posting this recipe is giving away a family secret and I feel guilty about it.

  • Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 100g cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 100g cold or frozen lard -(real lard, from a butcher)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • Apple pie filling:
  • 6+ cups peeled and diced apples, (Jonathan is best)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 rounded TBS flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 TBS butter
  • Cinnamon sugar for top

Pulse flour, salt, butter, and lard in food processor until butter and lard are the size of peas. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add ice water and stir with a fork until incorporated.
Divide dough in half. One half at a time, roll out between sheets of wax paper. Fold the outsides of the dough in, to incorporate the dry edges and to help make a circle. Flip over and peel wax off several times during the rolling. Refrigerate until ready to use, stored in between the wax paper.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with one half of the dough. Reserve second half for the lid.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Mix all filling ingredients except butter together. Pour into pie shell. Cut butter into small chunks and dot all over top.

Place second pie crust on top. Seal and flute edges. Make your signature pie cuts on top, prick with fork all over, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 475 degrees. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45-55 minutes, or until you see bubbles popping in the MIDDLE of the pie, through the slits. It may take longer.

Apple Layer Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

A little bit fussy, Cakes

I just found this recipe in my recipe box. I made it for my grandmother about 15 years ago and she claimed it “a keeper”. It was an excellent use of the saddest apples you’ve ever seen – from one of the apple trees on my parent’s farm that I stuck in the fridge and forgot about for a little too long. The frosting is a classic American buttercream, but with the addition of a butterscotch you whip up ahead of time, which deepens the flavor. Pay no attention to the brittle on the top – that was just leftover in my freezer and needed a home.

  • For the cake:
  • 1 pound peeled and diced apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 TBSP brandy
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large eggs

Combine apples and water in a saucepan, simmer until tender – about 20 minutes. Process until smooth. Measure 1 1/4 cup apple puree. Reserve any extra for another use. Cool.

Butter and flour three 8″ cake pans.

Sift together flour, soda, and spices.

Beat sugar, butter, brandy, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the apple puree, then remaining flour mixture.

Divide among pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


  • Brown Sugar Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter

Combine brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat to dissolve sugar. Increase heat, boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream. Cool.

Beat butter and powdered sugar together until well-blended. Beat in cooled brown sugar mixture, adding more powdered sugar or more cream to reach desired consistency.

Fill and frost cake. Dust with cinnamon sugar.


A little bit fussy

I’ve been making these marshmallows forever. People have been looking at me like I’m crazy because I make marshmallows forever. But, homemade marshmallows are one of those things that are so superior to store-bought that it’s worth the fuss. And the crazy looks. And since this is a safe space, I’m sharing the recipe with you. It is s’more season afterall.

  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3/4oz total)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (or corn starch)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Special equipment:
candy thermometer
stand mixer with whisk attachment

Line a 13×9-inch pan with foil, letting some overhang to make lifting the marshmallow out easier. Coat lightly with non-stick spray or butter.
Pour 1/2 cup cold water into bowl of stand-mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand.
Combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water in heavy medium saucepan (with a handle preferably). Over medium heat, stir super-gently with a heatproof spatula, or swirl the pan every so slightly, just for the first couple minutes to dissolve the sugar, being careful not to let any sugar granules stick to the sides of the pan (if they do, wash them down with a wet pastry brush). Once sugar had dissolved, attach a candy thermometer and never stir it again until it reaches 240º, about 8 minutes. It will boil up the pan quite a bit as it gets going- just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over, adjusting the heat accordingly.
With the mixer running on low speed with the whisk attachment, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin in a thin stream, running down the side of the bowl so the whisk doesn’t splash it all over. Don’t worry about the syrup that sticks to the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until very stiff and cooled to lukewarm – it should take 10-15 minutes.
Add vanilla and beat to blend, about 30 seconds. DON’T FORGET THE VANILLA. Otherwise you will have beautiful sweet marshmallows that have that lovely hint of horse hooves. Ask me how I know.
Spread the marshmallow into the greased pan and smooth the top as best you can. Let stand for at least 4 hours before cutting. Overnight is even better.
Sift starch and powdered sugar together and dust your work surface. Lift marshmallow out and cut into squares using a rotary pizza cutter dusted with sugar/starch. Or a large knife also coated. Roll in sugar/starch until all sides are coated before stacking or packing.


  • Add 1 tsp instant coffee to gelatin
  • Add 1 tsp cinnamon to gelatin
  • Substitute almond, mint, rum or any extract for vanilla
  • Sprinkle with toasted nuts after spreading in pan
  • Dip in chocolate after cutting in shapes
  • Add food coloring
  • Fill a pastry bag with the warm mixture, pipe into Peeps-like shapes, roll in colored sugar, and dot with little chocolate eyes for Easter (I did that once – again, safe space)
  • Sky’s the limit, really