Vermont Apple Slab Pie

Absolutely the perfect fall dessert! And while this was made in an 8 inch square pan, you could make this stretch to 16 servings if you cut the squares small enough. Which is why slab pies were invented, I should think, plus the ease of eating....sort of like a hand pie.
I really lobbed on the frosting. (As my father used to say when cutting into his birthday cake: is there cake under all this frosting?) The pie itself isn't all that sweet, but I found myself scraping off some of the frosting when I tried a square, so be more prudent than I was when slathering it on. Wouldn't this be fabulous for tailgating at a football game? No fuss, no muss.
Love the maple syrup in the frosting. I remember as a kid tapping a maple tree (and hanging a pail on it) to get the sap and eventually make syrup for a science class. Does anybody teach this anymore?

Vermont Apple Slab Pie
From Kate at Framed Cooks

2 refrigerated uncooked pie crusts
4 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 4-5 apples)
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes (I used plain bread crumbs)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375
Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with nonstick foil, using 2 pieces so you have some overlap hanging over all sides. Cooks note: The non stick foil is all well and good, but I found it still stuck in places. Next time I'll spray the foil with Pam as well.
Cut the piecrust dough into rough 9x9 inch squares. Place the first square in the baking dish, pressing the edges a little ways up the sides.
Scatter the cereal over the dough. Refrigerate while you prepare the apples. 
Put the slices apples in a layer on top of the dough.
Stir the cinnamon into the sugar and then pour the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples.
Top with the second crust and press the edges down towards the bottom crust. They don't have to be sealed. Cut a few steam slices in the top crust and bake until golden, 50-60 minutes.
Cool in the pan for about ten minutes and then carefully remove from the pan, using the foil edges as handles. Cool on a rack in the foil until completely cool. 

When the pie is cool, make the glaze by mixing the maple syrup into the powdered sugar. If it is too thick add a little more syrup.
Carefully transfer the pie from the foil to a serving plate (I use two big spatulas for this) and then drizzle the glaze over the top. 


Mushroom Bruschetta

Everyone loves to see a plate of bruschetta passed around and there are so many delicious mixtures you can pile on top of those crusty pieces.  Blogger friend Susan from Savoring Time in the Kitchen recently posted a tomato and gouda bruschetta and they looked bright, summery and delicious.
As for me....give me mushrooms! Can't help it, I love 'em. I didn't find any morels this time, dried or otherwise, (darn it) but used shiitakes and some other wild mushrooms available at the market. The recipe calls for dried herbs, but I always use fresh.

As I recall, this recipe was originally from some Food Network show, but I've been making it so long I can't remember whose. 

Mushroom Bruschetta

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons onion, minced
2 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh
Some shaves of Parmesan
Balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 baguette


In skillet heat olive oil. Cook onion until golden, add the garlic for the last minute or so. Add mushrooms, thyme, basil, salt and pepper. Add a splash of vinegar. Cook until mushrooms begin to wilt. Top baguette slices with mushrooms and then finish off with some shaved Parmesan and serve.

Toasting bruschetta:
Preheat oven to 425. Slice a baguette at an angle. Brush one side lightly with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes or until toasted.


Orange and Maple Braised Lamb Shanks with Fresh Mint Sauce

Lamb shanks have long been one of our favorite dinners....my mother often made them just with salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven. Not quite as tender as braising them, but something I still do once in a while when I don't have time to spare or don't want to fuss. There's a more gamey flavor roasted like this; lamb naturally has a slight gamey flavor anyway and shanks have an even stronger taste than a leg or loin chop. Some people really don't like lamb at all just for that reason, but braising them makes all the difference. My favorite recipe is an old Gourmet one that uses red wine, which I posted a while back. Shanks need a long, slow cook in a braising liquid with a soft, moist ingredient like beans or veggies.

When I received my recent issue of Donna Hay magazine, there was an orange and maple braised lamb shank recipe; the photo had my mouth watering and I made them recently. The recipe calls for "frenching" the shanks and I asked a butcher to do it for me as his knives are way sharper than mine. He'd never done it before and while they didn't turn out perfectly, he did a pretty good job. (There are uTube vids that show you how to do it if you want to take the chance of slicing yourself.) 

As far as the malt vinegar ingredient is concerned, it's not something I have in my pantry, but was surprised to find it in my local supermarket. As we know, there are many kinds of vinegars, but I'd never used this one, so looked it up. Malt vinegar is a dark brown vinegar, a favorite in Britain (makes sense as Donna Hay is an Australian magazine), is 
reminiscent of deep-brown ale. Its production begins with the germination, or sprouting, of barley kernels. Germination enables enzymes to break down starch. Sugar is formed, and the resulting product is brewed into an alcohol-containing malt beverage or ale. After bacteria convert the ale to vinegar, the vinegar is aged. As its name implies, malt vinegar has a distinctive malt flavor. We learn something every day!

We really liked these shanks; they're slightly sweeter than the red wine recipe, obviously, as maple syrup and brown sugar are two of the ingredients, but the malt vinegar stops them from being too overpowering. A lovely fall supper. The mint sauce is a killer recipe....thick, glossy, tart and minty. 

Orange and Maple Braised Lamb Shanks with Fresh Mint Sauce

Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 76

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 lamb shanks, trimmed and frenched
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
8 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup malt vinegar
peel of one orange
1/2 cup orange juice
4 rosemary sprigs

For the mint sauce:
3/4 cup malt vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups mint leaves, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in large frying pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the shanks and brown on all sides. Place in a deep sided roasting pan and set aside.
In a saucepan, add the stock, garlic, maple syrup, peel, juice and rosemary. Bring to a boil and pour over the shanks. Cover with foil and roast the shanks for 2 1/2 hours, turning once.
Increase oven temp to 425.
Remove the foil and roast the shanks, turning every 15 minutes for another 45 to 50 minutes or until they are sticky and glossy.
While the shanks are cooking, make the mint sauce.
Place the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan, stir until combined. bring to a boil and cook for 5-6 minutes or until just thickened. Remove from heat, allow to cool and add the fresh mint, stirring to combine.
Place the lamb shanks on a serving plate. Serve lamb with pan juices and mint sauce.

 9/11  Never Forget


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