We’ve made it! We’re at the end of the recipes from Dave’s Graduation Party! It seems fitting to end this party series with a dessert taht is perfect for feeding a crowd. It tastes amazing, but is one of the easiest pies to make AND it comes giant sized. This was taught to me by one of my favorite New Yorkers, Deb, of the famous Deb’s Jello Salad post. It is from Deb that I was first introduced to the magic invention of the apple peeler/corer/slicer all in one. Brilliant! And it is especially brilliant for this recipe for the Apple Slices layer. a few cranks of the handle and all you have to do for your presentation apples is slice them in half and fan them out. If you have one of these inventions gathering dust in a dark corner of a kitchen cup board, this is the perfect dish to bust it out for. You won’t regret it.
Deb’s Swiss Apple Pie
4 large apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cubed
½ c. butter
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
Apple Slice Layer:
5 medium apples, peeled, cored, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar (see recipe)
5 1/3 c. flour
4 tbsp. sugar
2 c. butter
2 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 425. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, making sure you have about 1 inch of overhang on two sides.
- Apple Filling: Put the apples, butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the apples begin to soften, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the apple filling from the heat and cool slightly.
The apple filling ingredients.
The apples are just now starting to soften.
- Pastry: Depending on the size (or presence) of your food processor you might need to blend this in two batches. If you have a large processor, or if you are mixing this by hand, do it all in one batch. In a processor blend all of your pastry ingredients until it looks like a wet sand with bits of butter throughout. If doing this by hand, combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl and cut the butter and eggs into the dry ingredients. However you blend the ingredients, once well combined dump your pastry ingredients onto a lightly floured board and press them together until they form a unified dough. Roll your pastry into a large rectangle that will fit your sheet pan. Carefully drape the pastry over your rolling pin and move it to your sheet pan. Gently press the pastry into the corners of your pan and crimp the edges if you want a decorative finish.
The crumbly pastry ingredients.
It doesn’t look like it will hold, but it will…
The pastry just fits into the baking sheet.
A simple crimping of the pastry edges.
- Apple Slice Layer: Spoon your apple filling into the pastry shell. Arrange the sliced apples on top of the apple filling in neat rows, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apple slices.
The apple filling layer in the pastry crust.
The apple slice layer.
- Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 425, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for a further 20 minutes. Watch your pie and if it starts to brown too quickly or “over caramelize” cover it loosely with foil.
- Custard: Gently beat the heavy cream, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg to combine. Pour this custard over the apples, doing your best to pour it evenly over the pie. Return the pie to the oven and bake for a final 10 minutes. Cool the pie before portioning.
The custard mixture.
The finished product. Delicious!
- Slice the pie into squares and either serve directly from the pan or place the slices on a pretty platter. The pie can be served warm or cold, and can be made a day or two in advance. Be sure to refrigerate the cooled pie until ready to serve.
Click here for a printable version of Swiss Apple Pie recipe.
Including a “recipe” for cinnamon sugar seems a bit odd at first, but it’s one of those things that no one should ever have to buy premixed. There’s just two ingredients, cinnamon and sugar. No stabilizers, preservatives or other ingredients that you can neither pronounce or guess as to what they do. For me cinnamon sugar is more about proportions than anything else. I want to be able to smell and TASTE the cinnamon. It should do more than simply create a light beige sugar. It should be redolent with cinnamon, enough that if you sprinkle it generously on buttered toast (it makes the best cinnamon toast ever!), you should get the sweetness of the sugar, but more importantly the warm heat of the cinnamon. There should be no doubt in your mind about what you are eating and enjoying at that moment. ‘Nough said.
½ c. white sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
- Put both the sugar and cinnamon into a jar with lid, seal the lid and shake vigorously to combine. Conversely you can combine the two ingredients in a small bowl and transfer the finished cinnamon sugar to a jar or other container to seal it for future use.
- This can be used for an excellent cinnamon toast or sprinkle it on top of muffins before baking them for a sweet finish. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of the Cinnamon Sugar recipe.
We’re getting there, my friends. Just two more recipes from Dave’s Graduation party and we’ll be done.
The recipe I am sharing here today is for Half Moon Cookies, or Black and White Cookies for Seinfeld fans. I first tasted the cookies from this recipe at my bachelorette party when my two bride’s maids made them for my female guests. The party was amazing, we had a henna artist giving everyone traditional henna tattoos, and a friend who is also a belly dancer and dance instructor gave us all a dance lesson and danced for us as well. It was an amazing evening topped off with tastes of upstate New York, like the Half Moon Cookies of Utica fame. Thank you Jen and Georgia for the fantastic evening (I can’t believe that was nearly 9 years ago!), and thank you Jen for the great recipe!
For Dave’s Graduation Party, he immediately thought of these cookies for a dessert, and with Little Man’s love of the moon I thought they were a great fit. I baked and decorated the cookies the night before Dave’s party, and our home smelled of rich chocolate and sugar for hours and hours. Warning, you’ll definitely want a nice tall glass of cold milk with these!
Half Moon Cookies
For the Cookies:
3 ¾ c. flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter, softened
¾ c. cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. milk
3 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 ½ oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp. butter
4 ¼ c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
7 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter, softened
Scant ½ c. milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- For the Cookies: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl beat the sugar, butter, cocoa, and salt until it looks like dark, wet, chocolate sand. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating to combine. Add half of the milk and combine. Add half of the flour mixture and combine. Repeat with the remaining additions of milk and flour, blending well after each addition.
The flour mixture.
The chocolate cookie base.
Little Man’s curls as he “helped” me beat up the cookie batter. He’s obsessed with all things chocolate, so I had to get those eggs in there fast before he started tasting.
The mixing additions begin with half of the milk.
Then half of the flour.
After the first half of the milk and flour were mixed in.
Then the last of the milk…
Then mixing in the last of the flour…
The final batter is quite thick. Be careful to NOT let the batter get warm. If you kitchen is warm, keep the batter bowl in the refrigerator between baking batches of cookies. If the batter gets too warm, it gets soupy and the cookies will melt flattly on the pan, rather than setting up nice and fluffy.
- Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3-inch rounds about 2-inches apart. Six dollops of batter should fit on a sheet.
Lovely dollops of batter ready for the oven. I don’t have a small scoop for the batter, but if you have one that would be fantastic.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies are set, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time. When done slide the entire parchment sheet onto a rack to cool. Use a clean sheet of parchment for further batches. Once cool remove the cookies from the parchment and set aside until you are ready to decorate them.
One sheet down… For the number of people coming to our party I had many, many more to go.
Lots of cookies cooling on the racks.
- Fudge Icing: Melt both of the chocolates and butter in a double boiler over simmering water (I used a medium-sized metal bowl over a simmering pot of water). Add the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt and 6 tbsp. boiling water (use the water from your double boiler). Mix until smooth, but stiff. The icing should fall in thick ribbons from your spatula. Use more boiling water to thin the icing if necessary, adding it one tbsp. at a time. Be careful to not thin it too much.
- Vanilla Icing: In a large bowl beat the powdered sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy.
- Decorate the Cookies: Spread about 1 tbsp. of warm fudge icing on half of the flat side of each cookie. If the icing starts to seize up, just put it back over the double boiler until it loosens. Then spread about 1 tbsp. vanilla frosting over the other half of the cookie. Keep going with the rest…
- These cookies don’t stack well, so do so at your peril. They do not store well either, so they are best eaten within a day or two of frosting them. This shouldn’t be a problem.
Click here for a printable version of the Half Moon Cookies recipe.
Cookies, cookies and more cookies…