Sunday, November 04, 2012

Cosmic Costume Room Debut Party at Meeps

Nothing in the House Baking Co. at Meeps, Washington, D.C.

Perhaps you recall the Tart of Gold Valentine's day party with Tarts by Tarts at Treasury in February? Well now Treasury owners Cathy and Katerina have a new biz, and I'm baking under my "solo project" so with these relatively new ventures, we teamed up again for the Cosmic Costume Room Debut Party at Meeps! This time we had local Mexican restaurant Mama Chuy in on the fun, so with some tasty Mexican savory snacks, a vast and wild costume array, and paper mache skulls as decor, a Dia de los Muertos theme was definitely in order.

I planned the baked goods accordingly, and offered up complimentary ginger molasses cookies, almond polvorones, and sold doughnuts with spicy mexican chocolate and dulce de leche glazes, tequila lime tartlets with a pistachio crust (yep, a margarita pie), Mexican chocolate tartlets with spiced and candied pecans, and apple & green chile fried pies--sweet with just a touch of savory and a hint of spice. Though I think those were the best doughnuts I've made yet, and the tarts were pretty bangin' (and boozin'), the apple & green chile fried pies were the hands-down hit and they sold out fast. Because of that, and since a few of you have asked, I'll resurrect them here, in recipe form (the recipes for the tartlets will come soon).

Apple & Green Chile Fried Pies

Apple & Green Chile Fried Pies
Filling adapted from the New York Times

Ingredients
For crust:
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tblsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten
6-8 Tblsp. cold water

For filling:
5 c. tart baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
1/2 c. green Hatch chilies, roasted and chopped (canned is okay, but fresh is preferred!) 
2 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cornstarch

About 2 c. canola oil for frying 

Directions
For crust:
1. Add flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add the shortening and cut into the flour mixture by pulsing the food processor until  mixture becomes the consistency of cornmeal and peas. 
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together egg and 6 Tblsp. of cold water. Slowly drizzle half of the liquid mixture into the food processor, pulsing to combine with flour. Slowly drizzle in the rest of the liquid, stopping when the dough starts to form large clumps. 
3. Once the dough is able to come together, form into a ball and remove from the food processor. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

For filling:
1. In a large bowl, mix the apples, green chilies and lemon juice and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the apples and green chilies. Mix together with a wooden spoon until the apples and chilies are well-coated.

To assemble and fry:
1. Remove pie dough from the fridge and roll out onto a lightly flour-dusted surface about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 5-5 1/2 in circle cutter (I used the top of a large jar), cut circles out of the dough. 

2. Before completely assembling the pies, pour at least 2 cups of canola oil (or 4 inches deep) into a deep and heavy saucepan. Insert a candy thermometer into the oil. Slowly heat on medium-low until the temperature reads 350 degrees F.

3. Place about 2 Tblsp. of the apple-chile filling in the center of each circle (It is better to under-stuff than over-stuff). Moisten the edge of the pastry circle with your finger, then fold over the dough to form a half moon shape. Press the edges together and flute with a fork to seal completely.

4. At this point your oil should be hot enough to fry. When the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees, gently lower one pie at a time into the heated oil and cook until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side).  Using a slotted spatula, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining pies.

5. When all pies are fried, dust them with powdered sugar. Serving them hot and fresh is preferable, but they also taste great at room temperature and will keep for a day or two. 

Nothing in the House Baking Co. at Meeps, Washington, D.C.

The party made for a fun October evening in the bright and fresh new Meeps space. It was really nice to meet and hang out with Dinora from Mama Chuy (and gorge on the delicious chips and salsa); be served drinks by the dapper bartender Ari; jam out to some spooky Thriller-homage dance jams from shad-wearing C-Rob and Mondo; and as usual spend time with the radical Meeps/Treasury gals Cathy, Katerina, and Michelle. Big thanks to the whole crew and all of you who came out, tried on costumes (I saw a great Popeye and Olive Oil couple costume score!), and got yourself some spicy sweets.

Nothing in the House Baking Co. at Meeps, Washington, D.C.

As a little side note/friend favor, my pal and former co-worker Mike aka Mondo, who was DJing that night and also plays in the superb local DC dance duo Protect-U,  recently had ALL his gear stolen while on tour in Paris. If you want to learn more about what happened and help out, read more here.

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