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A Brand New Beginning

You may have already noticed, but I’m starting something that I’ve never before attempted–blogging.  I love to cook (and eat!), and I’m on a journey to learn how to love myself and others while doing just that.  So, I thought you might like to hear about it, too.

So last weekend my husband Fritz and I went camping with some friends of ours (Hi Jensens! Hi Carrs!), and on the last day we (well, the girls) decided to go apple picking.  Now, I love picking apples.  Like, I really, really love it.  Fall is my favorite season and even though we haven’t reached the type of weather one would consider fall, I’ve decided it’s already time to burn cinnamon scented candles and wear sweaters and bake two apple pies. So here’s the first recipe of my brand new baby blog (I doubled this for twice the pie):


Classic Apple Pie (from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, my go-to book for anything I don’t have a tried-and-true recipe for)

  • 3 1/2 pounds apples (I used Cortland and Golden Delicious apples), peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3/4 C plus 1 T sugar
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T grated lemon zest (I only had limes, so I used less than the full T)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t nutmeg (I had just run out of nutmeg, so to keep it from being too boring I used a dash of cloves)
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven at 500 degrees, with the rack at the lowest position. Toss the apples with 3/4 C sugar, flour, juice, zest, spices and salt and set aside.


Fit bottom crust into pie plate with 1/2″ edge and spread apples over the top, mounding them slightly in the middle.  Lay the top crust over the apples and press the two crusts together, tucking and crimping the edges. Cut four vent holes in the top and brush with the lightly beaten egg whites.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 T sugar.

 Place the pie onto the lowest rack and immediately reduce the heat to 425 degrees.  Bake about 25 minutes, until the top crust is golden.  Rotate the pies and reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake until the crust is deep golden/brown and the juices are bubbles.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before serving.


As you can tell, I never ever ever plan ahead properly and almost always end up making substitutions for ingredients that I thought I had and didn’t, or just figured I could do without.  It usually works out fine.  Usually.

Here’s the crust recipe I used, also from America’s Test Kitchen.  I wanted to try my mother-in-law’s recipe (Hi Tharrie!), which she swears cannot be ruined, but it called for heavy cream which I (of course) didn’t have on hand. Alas–next time.

Double Crust Pie Dough

  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 T chilled vegetable shortening (I was forced to use margarine, which I was certain would ruin the crusts but actually worked really well)
  • 12 T unsalted butter, chilled
  • 6 to 8 T ice water

Mix the flour, sugar and salt until combined.  Add the shortening and butter (which MUST be cold!!) and blend until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  I used my mixer since I don’t have a big enough food processor, and grated the butter using the largest holes on a box grater.  This also works great if mixing by hand.

Sprinkle 6 T of ice water over mixture and blend with a stiff rubber spatula, adding the remaining T of water if necessary. Don’t overmix!

Divide the dough into two pieces and flatten into a disc, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Let the dough soften slightly before rolling out it out to fit a pie plate.  (Rolling the dough loosely around your rolling pin is a great way to transfer it onto a pie plate without tearing it).




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  1. Hannah

    Great start La! Keep the posts coming, and I’ll be watching for them!

  2. Erin

    Looks AWESOME! I’m so excited about this… and seriously, you need to post a tutorial about how to tuck and crimp pie crust. I have NEVER been able to figure it out and, as a result, my pies always taste awesome but look like a preschooler made them (mud pie, anyone?).

    You just made me decide it’s time for fall. “Leaves” candle from B&BW is making its debut TONIGHT! =D

    Love you!

  3. Barb Holstrom

    Nice job on the blog! I recently bought the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook that encompasses all 10 years of the show. Every recipe I’ve made, so far, has been great.

    1. laurenzietsman

      Mine is the family cookbook–erin gave it to me when I got married and I use it all the time! It’s awesome and the only cookbook fritz will even try to use

  4. Ashley Benjamin

    Lauren… don’t know fi you remember me but I’m Sara’s freind. Lol went to church with you guys a few times. So glad to see you’re doing well and enjoying married life. I love this blog! I love to cook/bake as well, so I think this is the coolest thing. I’m definitely going to try some of your recipes, especially your apple sauce, and your apple pie (my attempt at this begins tomorrow!! Never been good at making homemade pie crust so wish me luck!). Keep blogging!


    1. laurenzietsman

      Hey Ashley, I definitely remember you and all the trouble making you and Sara did in your younger years ;) I’m so glad you read it (and like it!)…and I love fellow bakers/cooks and mostly trying new things so if you run across any recipes you like I’d love to hear them! :) Hope everything is going well for you too!

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