Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Apple Pockets

So a while back, I got this Apple Pocket Pie thing from Superstore, and a bunch of apples, and puff pastry. But I ate the apples, and made some other stuff with the puff pastry, and stuck the apple-pocket-pie-maker-thing in a drawer... with the obvious intention of making apple-pocket-pies in the very near future. I'm pretty sure that was in September (maybe even in August).

I FINALLY made the Apple Pocket Pies... It only took me a quarter of the year... BUT gee-golly they were so worth it. I do want to try them with some homemade pastry... but baby steps... Its been hard enough to get into the kitchen and make anything other than pasta lately... let alone take pictures of it and then edit them and write about it... But I'm on my way back... with Apple Pocket Pies...

This is pretty much the recipe that came with the pocket-pie-maker-thingy, but I havn't had a chance to tweek it yet... give me some time. BUT If you see this thing for sale... Buy's pretty fun... Like a giant apple cookie cutter that presses things together too!

I lost the recipe card that came with the pie-maker, but It is pretty self explanatory.  I made too many cooked apples, and so had to eat them all on their own (it was a tough job, but someone had to do it!). It uses Store bought puff pastry, and then apples with cinnamon and sugar.. then you bake them... See, easy. I let my mom take some of the pictures, and they are a little out of focus, but I'm going to be okay with that... Because these were AMAZING! I will be making them again soon!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


 ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 26, 2011! (Re-posting for Christmas 2012, Because I don't want to re-write the whole thing, since I already did it last year... AND because it is the most popular post on my blog! So Here it is: Completely as it was last year when I wrote it:)

You are probably thinking "OH MY GAWD!, she is actually writing a new blog post!"

Or, if you read the title of this, you might be thinking: "Vina-whata?"

I don't really know what you are thinking, because this is the kind of thing that you either like, or don't... Unless you are like me, and at 6 years old, thought it was the most disgusting thing disguising as a Christmas cookie, Then waited until you got older to try it again and loved it... I have come to the personal conclusion that Vinatarta is not a kid's ideal Christmas food. It has prunes in it... According to my 6 year old brain... prunes make you poop... Who wants a Christmas cake that makes you poop, I mean really... well, unless you can't, and you really need to, then maybe you want to just eat prunes

Ok, so far, my first post back is not going so well, I am talking about poop and Christmas cake together... way to sell it....
Winter's Here...    (face palm)
Vinatarta is an Icelandic Canadian thing...  Back in the late 1800's when a vast majority of Icelanders came to Canada, This was their dessert (Obviously, they had other ones, but this one is distinctly Icelandic... well, Icelandic-Canadian if we want to get specific). My great grandparents (I'm going to write a post about them on my other blog, if you are interested), were in this group, and my grandpa, and then my mom, grew up with this. It is a tradition of sorts to make Vinatarta at Christmas. Because I haven't really liked it until now, my mom never really made it, and my great grandma's recipe was lost to us. So I had to scour the internet, and I came across a few recipes that were all very very similar. I printed off a few and then last weekend, when I went home to visit, we made Vinatarta from our own recipe adapted from the few I found on line.
Want to know what makes our Vinatarta the best? Rum... Because rum is good, but you could easily just use water too.

There was a recipe on Swerve Calgary... But the one we used was closer to the one that is posted in the comments section of that same article.  Only with rum.... and probably a little more cardamom because my Mom likes it.

Too make the cookie/cake layers:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
4 cups of flour
3 TBSP heavy cream
1 tsp Almond Extract
1 1/2 tsp. Cardamom

Cream butter. Add sugar, and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat Well. Add Almond Extract here also.
Sift the dry ingredients together. Add to the wet, alternating with the Heavy Cream (starting and ending with the dry). Knead well. Divide the dough into 5 or 6 even balls (depending on how many layers you want... we do 6). Spread each ball onto the back of a round cake pan. Unless you have 6 round cake pans all the same size, you will have to work in batches... We did 2 at a time. Let the cake pan cool down a little before you spread the next layer on.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye, and remove from the oven when the edges are starting to brown.

To make the Prune filling:

Place, approx. 1 pound of dried, pitted prunes in a large saucepan. Just barely cover with water (this is where we used rum... mixed with water, we would've had to use the whole bottle... just use to taste if you choose). Simmer until the prunes are soft.
Purée in a food processor (use water/rum) if you need more liquid to get the processor to actually process- like we did)
Once puréed, return to the saucepan with 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup rum (or prune juice). Cook until thick (you are making a prune jam/butter deal here... kind of like making Apple Butter).  Add spices to taste... One recipe called for 2 tsp. of Cinnamon, another for cloves, and yet another for cardamom. We used all 3, until it tasted perfect for us. Just keep tasting until you like what you have. Cool Completely.

To Assemble:
Pick out your ugliest cake layer and put it on the bottom. Spread an even layer of filling over top (using enough to all your layers are even). Put another cake on top, and spread with filling again. Save the best cake layer for the top
Once all assembled, Cover well with plastic wrap and let sit for AT LEAST 24 hours. Older recipes say 2 weeks.  Vinatarta freezes well also.

 You can cut slabs of cake if you choose, or cut into nice little rectangles instead.  Another option is to frost the top with Almond butter cream, but my mom didn't want anything to do with that. And I don't think it needs it.

Have a Very Merry Holiday Season, and I hope you try this wonderful Christmas cake. Unless you are a kid, then you might not like it... I sure didn't... But I do now, and that is what I was trying to say... very ineloquently. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm sorry

I'm going to let you into a piece of my "crazy brain" (inspired by Joy)... at the start of every month, I make a mental resolution... something to do better... like a new years resolution, only more like a "new month resolution".   To be honest, I'm not so good at keeping these, but I like that feeling of accomplishment and grown-up-ness that I get when im doing good with my new-month resolution... However, case in point of how good I am at these: October's was "buy less coffee from Tim Hortons and make my own in the morning"... which was fine for October, but then I had a really bad stressful crap-tacular day, and left my coffee mugs in my car, and then continued to leave them in my car, and not wash them... I got a new car, and those damn coffee mugs are still in my old car... still un-washed.  But I don't think about it, until I can't do anything about it, and then I forget again. However, i think with the colder weather making it's way here, I might remember to make my own coffee again soon... and spend an extra 5 minutes in my nice warm cozy bed cuddling with my puppies (...and boyfriend).
Anyway, so I bet you are wondering why I just told you all that... all rambly and non-sensical (is that how you spell it?).... I wanted to let you know that My mini resolution for December is to be a better blogger... After I've finally got most of my real-world life situations sorted out (for now at least).  I have tons of pictures and notes of things I've made, I just havn't gotten to the point of writing that down into my blog and hitting "publish"... But I will.

Also, I sat out of the Daring Baker challenge this month, so I can finish getting my life some-what back into order... And we finally have some more staff at work, so I can stop being so exhausted from working my ass off every day.

Also... I downloaded a ton of christmas Music, and I am totally going to go bake some christmas cookies right now... EVEN if it is still only November

I will be back to post a recipe (or eight) as soon as I get my ass in gear and put hte pictures from my phone into my computer.

Happy American-Thanksgiving this week too... maybe I will start by posting my Canadian Thanksgiving pictures... From way back at the beginning of October.... oops

I will be back, I promise!!