apple custard pie

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apple basket

You know how some foods just send you back in time?  This pie is definitely one of those foods for me.  We didn’t have air conditioning when I was a kid and Lodi apples ripen in mid July, when it’s usually pretty hot and humid outside.  It made for an exceptionally hot day in the kitchen with the oven on, but we didn’t complain because we knew before long we would sit at the table, under the ceiling fan, eating slice upon slice of pie, more than likely with vanilla ice cream on the side.

pie edge

The filling is my maternal grandmother’s recipe.  She was a top-notch cook.  Her fried chicken was unlike any others, I’ve mentioned her angelfood cake before, and her chocolate cake recipe is the reason my husband married me (true story).  Her apple pie has become a summer time staple for our family. Tart apples in a bed of sugary custard in a pie crust…what could be bad about that?  I can remember my mom making two of these at time for dessert and there would still be just a small sliver or two left by morning if we were lucky and there were only 4 of us in the house!

lodi apple in orchard

I always use Lodi apples for this pie.  I have tried other varieties for the recipe but haven’t had much luck finding another one that works as well.  Thankfully, there is an orchard nearby that still has a few trees so we always pick up some every July.  The kids and I picked two baskets this morning.

picking apples

Cj suggested we divide them, one basket for making pies, one basket for him to eat.  I think you would be hard pressed to find another person who likes to eat tart apples more than he does.

rolling out crust

apple custard pie

for the crust

This recipe makes enough for 2 pies, but half can be wrapped in cling wrap and frozen for another day.

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter cut into small pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, salt, and cold butter in bowl of food processor.  Process until it resembles a course meal.

Add ice water, spoonful by spoonful, through the tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; do NOT over process.

Split the dough in half and shape into a disc on a piece of plastic wrap and then wrap it up.  Chill the dough you will be using today for one hour and freeze the extra disc of dough for another day (like tomorrow)

Once chilled, lightly flour your workspace and roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Place in pan and chill while you get the filling and the apples ready.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

for the filling

In a bowl, mix together:

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

(If you are using a large pie pan, use 1 1/2 cup sugar and 4 Tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Peel and core 6 Lodi apples and cut into chunks.  Place in a single layer on the UNbaked pie cruse.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top.

Fill to the bevel of the pie pan with milk.  Place in oven.  I bake mine on a cookie sheet, just in case it bubbles over.  Plus that gives me a place to bake the left over strips of pie crust (sprinkled with cinnamon sugar before baking).

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes.

side of pie slice

the black and color quilt

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I started writing this post in my head this morning while I was taking these pictures in the back yard.  It was sort of a sad post, dwelling on how disappointed I was with how the color transferred in the dryer.  I’m still bummed about it, but in between then and now, I had a visit with my new massage therapist.  When she heard I did a lot of sewing she did some extra work on my arms.  As someone who spends a lot of time holding projects and stitching with my hands, I shouldn’t be surprised to feel how much tension she worked out of my forearms, but I was.  Turns out I don’t just hold my tension in my neck and upper back.  Needless to say, I’m feeling relaxed and much more at peace with this project.

black and color block of the month quilt

It’s the Craftsy Block of the Month from 2012.  YES, 2012.  I started working on Amy‘s class in January of 2012 and just finished it this week.  More proof of how far behind I am on my works in progress list.
I used Gee’s Bend Solids for the entire quilt top. It’s a group of cottons with the softest hand.  They are hand dyed solids, which, while it creates a gorgeous variation in color, also creates a less stable one. I treated a stack of the fabrics with Retayne and Synthrapol to help them hold their color. Unfortunately, because I took so long to finish the blocks some untreated black ended up in a couple of the blocks. (note to self…treat fabric as soon as it enters the house)

I was nervous to wash it knowing there were some rogue untreated pieces of the black fabric in the mix so I threw in 3 color catchers and crossed my fingers. I ran down to the washer when I heard the end of cycle buzz and was thrilled to see all the bright colors were still holding their own. Woohoo! I tossed it in the dryer and away I went.  Then the dryer buzzed and I ran down.  I was crushed.  When I pulled it out of the dryer I found the yellows and pinks where now smudged with black. As the quilt tumbled, the black spread itself all over. I had this happen with another quilt, and with washings it diminished, so I tossed this one in with 3 three more color catchers and here’s where it stands.

dresden plate on black and color quilt

Still smudged.

From a distance it looks great. It’s like a fellow student once said of my work during a critique in a university drawing class, “if you step back and half close your eyes, it is perfect”. (I wasn’t insulted, he was British so his accent allowed him to get away with even the most thinly veiled insults.  Plus, he said it was “perfect”, right?!)

So it is our new family quilt. You know the one that gets thrown in the back of the car and used to for anything and everything.   And it will be the coolest car quilt around!  I love the feel of the fabric, so soft and smooth.  Plus aside from the smudges, it’s a pretty awesome set of blocks!  It’s backed with a black and blue print so grass stains won’t  a problem.

back of black and color quilt
Bring on the picnics!  We are ready!

her quilt

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Way back when in January 2011, lulu and I went shopping for fabric for a quilt for her bed.  She chose a fun mix of pinks with a bit of green mixed in.  We set them aside until we came up with a pattern.

front of swoon

That fall, while I was on the Sewing Summit shop hop I picked up the Swoon pattern and started cutting into the stacks.  By sometime in 2012, I had finished two of the blocks and she had decided she didn’t love pink the way she used to.

She loved blue and green and I was so happy I had not made any more than two of those giant blocks at this point.

swoon sideWe sorted through my stash and came up with a new stack.  I spent some more time cutting, stitching, quilting and finally last fall (just before the Thanksgiving deadline she gave me) her quilt was finished.

swoon on grass

At some point in this whole process, she asked me to hand quilt it.  Since she’s on the short list of people I have a more difficult time saying no to, I agreed.  I machine quilted the sashing with some quick matchstick quilting not only because it looks cool, but also to hold the quilt together nicely while I spent the hours it took to hand quilt the blocks.

swoon back

I took advantage of the left over blocks to fill some space in the back along with a mix of prints.

I also took a huge sigh of relief when I finally finished it and she loved it.