What’s cookin’, good lookin’?

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Lately, a lot of my weekend time has been spent in the kitchen.  For some, that may seem like a chore and the opposite of how one would want to spend their weekend hours, but for me it is bliss.  Not to mention, on certain weekends I have the most wonderful sous chef/boyfriend/handsome devil who helps with clean up and small tasks AND he works for free!  Ok, he usually requires a kiss or two.  And he gets to eat whatever I am whipping up, but I’ll do almost anything for someone willing to clean dirty dishes for me (and I like some eye candy in the kitchen, for reals guys).

This past weekend it finally felt like Fall outside.  I also accidentally played a Christmas cd in the car and I refuse to apologize for it.  Christmas: it’s coming.  To celebrate the change of season, I made my first real pie.  I say “real” because I have made some crostadas and tarts in the past, but this was my first mandatory pie dish/double crust/cross your fingers it doesn’t turn to a liquidy mess REAL pie.  Guess what?  It looked fancy and it tasted even fancier.  Obviously, I instagrammed it.  I mean, who do you think I am?

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Well, I’ll tell you who I am…a professional pie baker.  Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration and I may be setting myself up for serious failure in all my future pies, but I did something right with this one.  Boyfriendsouschefman had the first slice with me and thought it was the bomb.  It was the first time I’ve used a combination of butter and shortening in my pastry dough and I think that may have been the key to my success.  Additionally, the recipe I used (from Smitten Kitchen) required that I warm a baking sheet in an extremely hot oven prior to baking the pie.  This allowed the bottom crust to bake evenly when I placed it on top of the already hot baking sheet.  Note that the recipe is altered slightly in the bottom review in order to balance the spices better.  I will probably eliminate the lemon zest entirely when I try the recipe again because I’d rather taste the cinnamon than the zing from the lemon.

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The resulting pie is buttery, flaky and delicious.  I had some extra dough leftover after trimming the sides, so I rolled it out and cut out cute heart shapes to decorate the top.  Adorbs.  I got some amazing and HUGE honeycrisp apples from the farmer’s market and used those instead of the McIntosh apples called for in the recipe.  Here’s the link to the amazing blog, Smitten Kitchen, and the recipe that I used:

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/11/cinnamon-sigh/

Enjoy!

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