Two foolproof recipes to help you bake the perfect Thanksgiving pie

There's no better way to end Thanksgiving dinner than with the perfect, homemade pie.But hitting that high note can be a feat — which is why many of us will trade in our fruitless frustrations for bakery-bought desserts this holiday season.We know it doesn't have to be that way. So to help you change course, we asked two Louisville bakers to dish out tips on baking the perfect pie — one that won't leave us with a soggy mess.Here's what they said: Try your hand at these recipes:  Sorghum Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe from Anoosh Bistro Decadent Caramel Apple Pie from The Bakery at Sullivan University Making pastry is a whole different animal in the cooking world, Shariat said. "It takes a disciplined person to really do it."But advances in food processors and other kitchen utensils have made it easier for even novices to produce a good dough. So Shariat suggests giving it a try.Before you start, Shariat says you must make sure all of your ingredients are chilled, including dry ingredients like flour."It has to be cold if you want a nice, flaky, crumbly pie," Shariat said.To mix the ingredients, Shariat suggests tossing them in a food processor, which will reduce your mess (and prevent hand cramps.)"When you put it in a food processor, you get the salt, sugar and flour to mix well. Then you add the butter or fat," Shariat said. "Those are diced up fine, then you pulse it and it's like a sandy texture."Make sure any water you add is also chilled to prevent the fat from melting, Shariat said.And if you want, you can even try adding a small amount of vodka that will evaporate faster than water, Shariat said. (He's not sure about the science behind this, but he knows it helps make a flaky crust.)"If you do it right, you're going to get a much flakier and tastier crust," Shariat said. "That's really the secret. Pie is all about the crust, for me." Try your hand at Shariat's sorghum bourbon pecan pie recipe below. Continue Reading

This delightfully decadent Caramel Apple Pie will make your Thanksgiving meal a hit

Caramel Apple Pie Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes + 3 hours for caramel Courtesy of Amanda Redemann, The Bakery at Sullivan University, 3100 Bardstown Road Serves 8 Dough: 1/2 cup pastry flour 1 1/4 tablespoons sugar 1/3 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 teaspoons dry milk 6 tablespoons margarine 2 1/4 tablespoons water, chilledIn a medium bowl, combine pastry flour, sugar, salt and dry milk together. Sift dry ingredients twice. Slice margarine and mix into dry ingredients. Pour in majority of the chilled water and mix until dough is formed. Add remaining water if required. Wrap dough and refrigerate until ready to use. Filling: 1-14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk 5 granny smith apples, sliced and peeled 3/4 cups sugar 2 1/4 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 2 tablespoons butter, melted Pinch of saltIn a deep medium saucepan, fill with water and bring to boil over high heat. Remove label from unopened sweetened condensed milk can and submerge in water for 30 minutes. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 2 hours 30 minutes.  Thanksgiving hacks: Two foolproof recipes to help you bake the perfect Thanksgiving pie   Continue Reading

Rum Raisin Apple Pie

Christine Foris of Milwaukee took home six ribbons from State Fair this year for her culinary creations, but about ten times that many ribbons for her horticulture entries. The avid gardener grows flowers, vegetables and herbs.Her two first-place food wins were for a salted caramel cake and this Grand Champion Apple Pie, which she dreamed up herself.“I walk around with ideas and all of a sudden they pop up,” she explained. For her pie, she used spiced rum to play up the traditional spice-and-apple pairing.“The hardest part was getting the right ratio of rum and raisins,” she said. “I would rather go with a little less than a little too much.”She acknowledged that hickory nuts are “not easy to come by in Milwaukee” and not cheap. She got hers from a cousin who has hickory nuts on her property.Recipe tested by Candace Stohs-KrauseMakes 8 to 10 servings Pie dough: Pie filling:Make pie dough and refrigerate: Mix flour, salt and sugar together. Add butter and shortening and mix until crumbly. It should look like streusel stopping. Pour liquid over flour mixture and mix until well blended (slightly tacky and sticks together).Divide dough into 2 equal balls and flatten to make each into a 4-inch disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days. (Note: The vodka stops gluten from being created so the dough can be handled longer.)Pull dough from refrigerator 10 minutes before ready to use.Make filling: Soak golden raisins in spiced rum at least 1 hour.Peel, core and slice apples. Mix with tapioca powder, sugars, cinnamon, lemon juice and salt. (Pull out the pie dough at this point.) Let sit at least 10 minutes. Add raisins with rum and mix well. Set aside while proceeding.In a bowl, combine the three nuts and mix. Remove 1/3 cup for bottom crust and 1/3 cup for top of pie. Add remaining 1/3 cup to fruit and mix well.Preheat oven to 425 degrees.Assemble pie: On lightly floured Continue Reading

7 decadent apple desserts from local eateries

With October in full swing, foodies are flocking to all things apple. That means scrumptious apple pies, mouth-watering apple crumbles, and, of course, decadent specialty apple desserts from local restaurants looking to celebrate the season.As some of our favorite Central Jersey eateries know, there is a lot more to apple desserts than what is run-of-the-orchard and, instead, restaurants have taken to creating many of their own apple desserts with a personalized flair.If you want to get in the spirit of the season post-dinner, then check out some of these apple desserts that you can find only in Central Jersey. Check out all of our Table stories here Just Restaurant's Apple Rose TartThe eatery at 2280 Route 9 in Old Bridge is spotlighting their apple rose tart special, shaped like an elegant rose and paired with an apple-vanilla sauce and finally sweetened with some cinnamon.Just Restaurant is a Zagat-rated casual contemporary American dining destination that offers artfully prepared culinary creations in an upscale environment. Check them out at or call 732-707-4800. The Dessert Plate's Salted Caramel Apple PieThe downtown Somerville eatery, at 34 E. Main St. in Somerville, is featuring their signature apple pie with filling made with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg that is then drizzled with a homemade caramel sauce and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt. When made for the store, it is made as a "slab pie," meaning it is made in a sheet pan for optimum crust-to-filling ratio, perfect for pie-crust-loving customers. If a customer wants to place an order for one, the Dessert Plate can make it either as an eight-inch or 10-inch pie for them to enjoy at home.The Dessert Plate is known for making casual desserts from scratch with no shortenings, mixes or preservatives. Find out more by visiting or calling 908-722-9881. The Bernards Inn's Steamed Apple Sponge CakeThe Inn, at 27 Mine Brook Road in Bernardsville, is Continue Reading

Best of New York: When it comes to apple pie, the Little Pie Company stands tall

Little Pie Company 424 W. 43rd St., (212) 736-4780 No bakery stays in business in New York City for 25 years unless they are cooking something good. For Little Pie Company owner Arnold Wilkerson, a former actor, that’s pies — specifically his sour cream walnut apple pie ($4 a slice; $30 a pie). Wilkerson started his bakery, which seats 17, in his apartment in 1983 and has since turned his pies into a New York staple. While the traditional apple pie is good, the sour cream walnut apple pie — which has thinly sliced seasonal apples and is crunchy, sweet and perfectly textured — is knock-your-socks-off delicious. With a little vinegar in the crust and a little sour cream in the filling, this pie is probably what they were referring to when they coined the phrase, “a little slice of heaven.”   Chiffon’s Kosher Cake Center 430 Avenue P, Brooklyn, (718) 998-7530 Three types of apple pie are baked with love at Chiffon’s in Midwood. After all, owner Esther Kramer met her husband Levi through the bakery business, and their four sons regularly help out behind the counter at this neighborhood institution. There’s the traditional lattice-top apple pie and the crumb-top apple pie, which each cost $10, and the fresh apple pie with slices on top that costs $12. Sorry, these 7-inch pies are not sold by the slice. But at those prices, who cares? Each pie contains a succulent filling, but the secret is in the crust, claims Levi. “Customers in here speak all sorts of languages, but they all love the apple pie,” he says.   Four & Twenty Blackbirds, 439 Third Ave., Brooklyn, (718) 499-2917 Chalk drawings of Snoopy and Charlie Brown announce the salted caramel apple pie ($4.75 a slice, $35 a pie) as you enter the Four & Twenty Blackbirds bakery in Gowanus. But get there early. Only about a dozen apple pies are made a day, and on weekends they can sell Continue Reading

What’s churning between local restaurant & ice cream company?

Locally based Fleur de Crème Gourmet Ice Cream and Blue Southern Comfort Foods have come to a decision designed to benefit both parties — and alleviate existing financial strains on the ice cream company."It got to the point where I couldn't afford to make the ice cream anymore, so I decided to take a few months off and Carolyn (Simmons) who'd been in love with the Fleur de Crème brand said she didn't want to see it die off, and I didn't want to see it die off," said Summer Black, owner of Fleur de Crème.The deal came to fruition this year when Blue's owner Carolyn Simmons signed the lease to her new restaurant in South Highlands. Moving the location from her original home on Louisiana Avenue in Highland meant a bigger space and more amenities to expand her menu and cater to customers.It also meant having the space to add an ice cream parlor, which is where Fleur de Crème came into the picture."We bought their equipment and we're going to have an ice cream parlor at Blue," said Simmons.In the deal, Black will work full-time making the ice cream using the same recipes exclusively for the restaurant.At any point, Black still has ownership of the Fleur de Crème company and brand and may relaunch Fleur de Crème as a separate entity.Blue is expected to open March 23 and feature Fleur de Crème's signature flavors, including Creole Cream Cheese. Strawberry Cheesecake, Banana Fosters and Ratchet City Chocolate.Black and Simmons also plan to introduce new concoctions."We'll be making our own butter at Blue and when you make butter there's a lot of buttermilk, so I thought about doing a strawberry buttermilk flavor," Simmons said. "I also have a salted caramel apple pie that's really popular and I'm going to make that pie and crumble it up in ice cream."Once Blue opens for business, the restaurant will host ice cream tasting events, live music and more.And be sure to Continue Reading

Dining around Arizona: 11 best restaurants in Cottonwood, Jerome

The Verde Valley has grown into a popular getaway for wine lovers. Boutique vineyards thrive in the fertile volcanic soil and numerous tasting rooms have popped up in Old Town Cottonwood and on the narrow streets of Jerome.So it’s no surprise that terrific restaurants have opened as well. Good wine and good food just naturally goes together. In addition to the art galleries, antiques shops, historic sites and scenic beauty, the Verde Valley has become a culinary destination. That’s a big win-win for travelers.On your next road trip, treat your taste buds to these excellent eateries in Cottonwood and Jerome.RELATED: Best restaurants in Grand Canyon, Williams | Best restaurants in Lake Havasu City |  Great restaurants in Sedona | Great restaurants in Tucson | Great restaurants in YumaThis swank pizzeria in Old Town has helped define Cottonwood’s rising culinary scene, creating a spot that is sophisticated and authentic.Chef Michelle Jurisin traveled to Italy to become certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana. Pizzas are made the traditional way, using imported Caputo flour to form the hand-stretched crusts. They’re topped with fresh ingredients cooked in the wood-burning oven.The most popular is Cire’s ($14) with house-made Italian sausage, pepperoni, ricotta, mushrooms, basil and fresh mozzarella. The Meat Pie ($15) comes heaped with pepperoni, prosciutto, sopressata, Italian sausage and mozzarella.It's hard to believe the stylish space filled with shiny marble tabletops, weathered wood and custom ironwork is a former garage. A beautiful stone patio with benches and comfy couches surrounds a fire pit and bocce court. It’s a great place to relax with one of the specialty cocktails.Details: 1060 N. Main St., Cottonwood. 928-202-3597, AZCENTRAL ON SOCIAL: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | PinterestEverything Continue Reading

Shaking up the salt myth: This Thanksgiving, go ahead and pour on the sodium chloride

Thanksgiving dinner is upon us, and of all the things that make up the spice of life, nothing is better than good old sodium chloride: salt. Not only is it essential to good health, but its transformative effect on what we eat has been universally acknowledged. Though vilified today, salt has been beloved through the ages. The Book of Job asks, “Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt?” The Prophet Muhammad contended, “Salt is the master of your food.” Homer called salt a “divine substance.” And in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus praised his followers as the “salt of the earth.” Salt is good — that may be the only thing the three major faiths agree on. Nations grew rich from salt production, while people survived winters by learning to preserve foods with salt. Salt was part of Roman soldiers’ pay, and the royal tax on salt was one of the abuses abolished by the French Revolution. Yet for all this, those in the business of fetishizing everything we eat are trying to get salt out of everyone’s diet. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest — which once called fettuccine Alfredo “a heart attack on a plate” — “Salt, at the levels present in the diets of most people around the world, is probably the single most harmful substance in the food supply.” And just last month, The Centers for Disease Control reported that anyone over the age of 2 should not take in more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg, who has admirably crusaded against smoking in public spaces, is leading a push to reduce the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant food by 25% over the next five years, which public health officials claim “may help” prevent some of the 23,000 deaths a year in New York from heart attacks and stroke. But shouldn’t we take all this with — excuse me — a grain of salt? Most scientists Continue Reading

Six new Brooklyn Flea Market vendors boast jams, pies, music records, women’s clothing and more

This weekend marks the opening of flea market season - a sure sign of spring just when we need one. Even better, Brooklyn is getting two new offerings. In addition to the well-established Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays in Fort Greene, a location will open Sundays in Williamsburg, boasting East River views. Meanwhile, in downtown Brooklyn, an empty lot on the Flatbush Avenue Extension is transforming into Dekalb Market. A collection of refurbished shipping containers will house boutique shopping, eclectic eats and even a live performance venue and a farm. "The spaces are small, but it's going to be a shopping destination for people," says Hekima Hapa, one of the vendors in the new space. "There will be a farm there, and an event space. It will be a hangout." Flea market shoppers have varying plans of attack. Some peruse with a specific item in mind or follow a favorite food — just ask anyone who craves the Popsicles and papusas that make regular Fort Greene appearances. For others, a flea market is about wandering from stall to stall, waiting for that esoteric item that screams, "Take me home." To highlight the offerings, here are six vendors new to the flea market scene this year. From pies to toys to vintage records, these Brooklynites (and one Long Islander) are bringing out the best they have to offer. Michelle & Mary Mangiliman SELL: women's clothing, some home goods; LOOK FOR THEM AT: Dekalb Market,; LIVES: Greenpoint. Sisters Michelle, 30, and Mary, 28, arrived in Greenpoint via San Francisco, where Michelle studied fashion while Mary studied business. The result: their dress shop, Dalaga. "Dalaga is a Filipino word that means 'lady,'" says Michelle. "For me and my sister when we were little, if our dad called us dalagas it was the best thing ever — that was like the quintessential woman." They opened their shop with handmade clothing — and some imported Filipino bags and jewelry — but customers Continue Reading

Top food trends to watch for in 2011: Pie, gourmet hot dogs and high-end dining at the airport

As the times change so does the food. Just ask the chestnut, once a staple of the New York diet, now relegated to a few lonely corners in midtown Manhattan. So what will change in 2011?Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine picked out its top trends for the upcoming year and the list has a New York flavor − in part because most of the staff live in the five boroughs.Liz Vaccariello, the magazine's editor-in-chief. Gourmet airport foodNew York City."Newark actually started the trend back in 2003 when Gallagher's Steakhouse opened in Terminal C. Then, in 2008, JFK began allowing upscale restaurants including Seafood Bar, the Palm Bar & Grille and AeroNuova to set up shop in its terminals. Michael Lomonaco of Porter House New York, a pizza place from Domenico DeMarco of Di Fara Pizza and a burger joint by Pat LaFrieda, the famous meat purveyor. Prime Tavern by Michael Lomonaco, a new restaurant in LaGuardia Airport's Delta Terminal.PiesPresident Obama loves eating pie. "We are seeing pies have their day in the sun because they are the ultimate comfort food. There is something so familiar about pie. In many ways, it can be a one-dish meal."Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Park Slope (439 Third Ave.; 718-499-2917; opened in April and serves seasonal pies. During the holiday season, the shop offers a salted caramel apple pie, a cranberry sage pie, a salty honey pie and a bittersweet chocolate pecan pie. Hill Country Chicken (1123 Broadway; 212-257-6446;, which opened in July, not only serves a dozen flavors of pies, but also boasts a pie shake, a milk shake made from three scoops of vanilla ice cream, Pies 'N' Thighs (166 S. 4th St.; 347-529-6090; serves its pies with a side of fried chicken and offers crazy flavors, including a pie with vanilla wafer and banana cream with bitter chocolate pudding and whipped topping.Artisanal hot dogsEast Village hotspot Crif Dogs (113 St. Marks Place; 212-614-2728; Continue Reading