Tinker

Experiments in tinkering and thought


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Stuffed Peppercorn Squash with Cheese

I am going to start off by saying that I have worked through most of the apples we picked, and even if we still had some, I am tired of making apple recipes.  I still want to try making an apple soufflé at some point, but for now I will be content with just my chocolate soufflés (I have been basing them on this recipe, but the techniques seem to vary from one source to another… more experiments to do).  Regardless, all these sweet recipes are making me (and those around me) fat, so time to experiment with some savoury recipes.

This was a recipe that is mostly based on something my mother used to do.  It is a delicious mix of peppercorn squash and a meaty tomato sauce, all topped off with a grilled cheese layer.  For the moment, not much experimenting has been done (apart from having made it before), but I got a few ideas for variations on it to try out in the future.

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Apple Experiments – Apple Buttermilk Scones

I was trying to think of what to have for breakfast on this Sunday morning, and I thought some buttermilk scones would hit the spot, but then why not make it Apple buttermilk scones?

There was not much tinkering involved here, mostly just adding apple to the recipe.

Since normally dried fruits are used in scones, which are much more concentrated in sugar and flavour, these did not end up tasting much like apple.  A larger amount could be added to compensate for this, or maybe drying them beforehand.

Another thing is that since the margarine was salted, these ended up fairly salty (delicious) but it countered the apple taste somewhat.

All that being said, they were still quite delicious.  Bet you can’t eat just one!

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Apple Experiments – Apple Walnut Sugar Pie

Just when I thought we were out of apples and I could move on to some other ingredient as a base for my recipes, lo and behold, more APPLE PICKING!  We went with my wife’s family this time, picking a combination of Cortland and Empire.

This time I wanted to try making a cross between an apple pie and a sugar pie.

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Apple Recipes – Apple Jam Trifle

I have been watching Master chef and one of the challenges that came up was trifle.  I have never eaten a trifle, or really even seen a trifle in real life.  What I understood from the show is that it is a dessert with fruit in it.  As far as an exact composition, it is hard to get an exact recipe, and it seems to be mostly because I think the layers vary depending on what people feel like putting in it (if this is incorrect, feel free to let me know in the comments below).

What I eventually determined is that it typically starts from the bottom with a sponge cake layer at the base that can be imbibed with alcohol, usually sherry.  The next layer is some sort of fruit jelly.  The top two layers are then custard and whipped cream.  So the overall dessert is a nice pudding.  I am not sure if that is normally the way it is, but I thought it would be nice to have a gradient of sweetness: the upper cream layers being less sweet, then custard slightly more so, and the jelly most sweet (some of it soaks into the cake).

Finally, as an apple recipe, instead of the (what appears to be the standard fruit) berry jam, we go with apple jam!

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Apple Recipes – Apple-Lime Meringue Pie

The next, but not the last apple recipe was to take those tart apples and make apple meringue pie.  I did not bother to try to find an actual recipe for this, but instead looked for lemon meringue pie recipe.  The one I used as a reference was from Allrecipes.com.  I wanted it to be mostly like lemon meringue pie in that I did not want to have pieces of apple.  Looking it up now, I saw a recipe for apple meringue pie with apple pieces, which is odd because it will clash with the soft meringue topping.  Therefore I wanted to make a smooth apple filling for the inside.

I still wanted to get the acidity to the pie filling, so I ended up adding lime.  The acidity from the apples tends to diminish as it cooks, so the added lime helped with that.  The tough part was getting the apples fine enough so that the mix would not be grainy.  To liquefy the mix, I put the chopped apples in the food processor for a good 5-10 minutes.  Since they were still raw at this point, the cooking process would also smooth it out.  It worked out quite well.

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Apple Recipes – Spiced Apple Crisp

After making apple turnovers and apple pie, it was time for a new recipe.  The last two had sensibly the same composition: apples, sugar, cinnamon.  I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I thought I would add more spices… and rhum!  I looked up a few recipes and found that the main spices used are the same as pumpkin pie basically, so cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.  I wanted to give it a bit of zing though, so in addition to those, I also added a bit of crushed hot pepper, more lime, and rhum!  I tried it out without really knowing the final result, but I was really happy with the result.

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