Tag: Apples

Parfait Parfait: Peach Parfait with Graham Cracker Crumbs

Peach Parfait | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Peach Parfait | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Peach Parfait | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

We give each other a hard time in my family. Really. Nothing is off limits, and boy do we know how to push each others’ buttons. My sisters, for example, can get me more angry than anyone in the world. But the other side of this is that when we give each other compliments, it really is the most heartwarming thing. Getting a sincere compliment from my sisters or my parents is one of those things that gives me the warm and fuzzies. But back to the giving each other a hard time thing. My dad has all these -isms. These things he says and we give him quite a hard time for. I won’t share all of them here because he might kill me (if he happens to read this post), but one of my favorites that is relevant to this story is when he says, “You know, it wasn’t actually that hard.” This is almost always in reference to some intricate, fantastic dish he has cooked. It goes like this: either we are on the phone or sitting down to dinner, and he tells me all of the steps it took to make the dish in front of me or that he made for dinner last week. And then, no matter what I say, he follows it up with, “You know, it wasn’t actually that hard.”

When I was in Seattle last month, he and I were at the store shopping for dinner, and he mentioned he wanted to pick up whipping cream for leftovers of a dessert he had made a couple days before that, you guessed it, “wasn’t actually that hard.” I, of course, did not believe him. Especially when he claimed it was called a parfait parfait, which in his often jumbled speech, became farpait farpait. Imagine the two of us, wheeling our cart up and down the aisles of the store, giggling and spouting “farpait farpait” at each other – it was a sight. But we got home, ate dinner, and then were treated to this dessert. The sautéed fruit topped with salty, sweet, buttery graham cracker crumbles, and freshly whipped cream convinced me quickly that this dessert was worth whatever effort it required. It was so tasty that I made it for a dinner party last week to find that he was right: it really was one of the simplest desserts I’ve ever made. Did you hear that Dad? YOU WERE RIGHT.

The beauties of this recipe are two-fold. First, it can be easily adapted with whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. In the coming weeks, I’ll be making it with plums, then apples, then maybe even some grapefruit wedges, rhubarb, berries, you get the idea. Second, having this graham cracker crumb on hand, I’ve found is both tempting and useful. Being able to just sauté some fruit and whip some cream and voila, dessert, is pretty great. Plus it isn’t so bad sprinkling a tiny bit on my morning yogurt, fruit, and granola either.

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Continuing along the Passover theme here: When we returned from Tucson, I was craving some haroset. It’s one of my favorite passover foods, and a great snack to have throughout the week. So much better than chips and salsa (in my opinion). For those of you who don’t know, Haroset is simply a combination of the following: apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and wine. I’ve also seen it with raisins, pears, other spices, and sugar. But today we’ll just keep it simple. Here’s what you’ll need:



4 granny smith apples
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup (more or less) sweet red wine (this is where Manischewitz comes in handy)
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon


Peel, core, and finely dice the apples. I peeled them and cut them into chunks, then threw them in the food processor and pulsed them a few times. It worked really quite well and got the pieces smaller than I would have been willing to go if I had been chopping them by hand. Put the apples in a medium mixing bowl. Chop your walnuts too (I did these in the food processor too), and add them to the apples. Now pour in the wine, mixing so that the apples become a light pink. Feel free to add more wine if you want. Just don’t add too much; You don’t want a bunch of liquid sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the cinnamon and the sugar, and you’re done! Eat it on top of some matzoh with a bit of horseradish (not too much!) and enjoy!

Pie Crust + Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Apple Pie
Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Alright folks. It’s time. Time for what, you ask? Time for me to give to you all the recipe for my pie crust, for which this blog is named.

My father’s favorite kind of pie is strawberry-rhubarb. “Favorite kind of pie” is kind of an understatement. He LOVES anything strawberry-rhubarb, but pie especially. Many years ago, when I was in high school, he and I spent an entire summer finding the perfect strawberry-rhubarb pie recipe. We tried every recipe we could find, and eventually perfected our own recipes for both the crust and the filling.

Last weekend, when Jonah and I had that dinner party (where we made the braised short ribs, the recipe for which you can find here), I made an apple pie for dessert. It seemed like the perfect thing to make, and I hadn’t made a pie in quite a while. Making a pie is, for me, one of the most therapeutic things in the world. Rolling out the dough, stirring up the filling, putting it all in a dish and waiting while the apartment fills with the smell… oh man. I just love it.

This post is dedicated to my friend Peri, who texted me today asking for my pie crust recipe because “they have no frozen pie shells in New Zealand.” First of all, I was disappointed to hear that Peri would ever rely on a frozen pie shell because they are simply horrible compared to a real homemade crust. But also, this recipe is my gift to her because she’s about to head off to New Zealand, where she has a Fulbright Scholarship to study the history of some fault lines (she’s a geologist). I wish her the best and I hope that now she can make delicious pies while she’s there!

Apple Pie

Makes 1 beautiful pie


Pie Dough

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, COLD, cut into chunks
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, ALSO COLD, and also cut into chunks
3-6 Tablespoons ice water

Apple Filling

12 apples (I used 9 granny smith, 3 braeburn because I really like them)
3/4 cup of sugar (plus more for sprinkling if you want)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten (optional)


Pie Dough

I always use a food processor for this, but I have done it without a food processor or a rolling pin. It is possible. Combine flour and salt in the food processor, pulse. Add butter, pulse again until mixture is slightly course. Add shortening (I like to use the stick form of crisco, it’s so easy to deal with), pulse. Now add water. I like to add the water a couple tablespoons at a time so that I don’t overdo it. You want to add as little as possible. Now, pulse again. When the dough is wet enough, it will come together in a large ball in your food processor. Dump this out onto a lightly floured surface, cut it in half, and form 2 discs. Wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The dough can also be made and refrigerated or frozen for quite some time.

Apple Filling and Assembly

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and thinly slice those apples (that’s right, all of them). In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices, and cornstarch. Toss well.

Now let’s talk about rolling out your pie dough. What I ALWAYS do is unwrap my discs and use the plastic wrap as a helper/barrier/thing. I lay the two pieces on top of each other so they’re kind of like a plus sign (perpendicular to each other…make sense?). I think sprinkle the plastic wrap generously with flour, plop my disc down, and roll that bad boy out. Be sure that your rolling pin and the surface of the dough are floured well too so that it doesn’t stick and then tear. The beauty of using the plastic wrap this way is that instead of rolling your dough on your rolling pin like many people advise (it never works for me because the dough is too fragile), you can just slip your hand under the plastic wrap, flip it into the dish, and then gently pull it off, leaving the dough perfectly laid in the pie dish. Hopefully all this makes sense.

Now, spoon the apples into pie pan. Dot with butter, roll out your other disc of pie dough, and cover the pie. I trim the excess dough off the edges, and then pinch the two layers into a little edge around the pie. Be sure to cut several steam vents across top. If you want, you can brush the top with beaten egg, and sprinkle with additional sugar.

Now pop that sucker in the oven! I always like to put my pies on a cookie sheet when they bake, just incase some of the juices overflow. I hate it when things drip onto the bottom of the oven, and then it burns and gets smoky everytime you bake anything. So, yeah, it helps avoid that. Bake the pie for about an hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. I baked this pie for exactly an hour, and the apples still had a little bit of crunch to them, which I really enjoyed. Let the pie cool for a long time so that the filling can cool and congeal, I say at least 6 hours. Serve with vanilla ice cream (if you want, it also tastes really good plain OR with salted caramel ice cream if you can get your hands on some).