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  • Lucia Borzillo

Apple Pie and Those Pumpkin Muffins Everyone Is Talking About

Begin with the Muffins. Enter the TikTok sensation of 2-ingredient Pumpkin Muffins. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot, utilizing a Spiced Cake mix. Surprisingly, the world did not collapse on itself due to me using a box mix.

The second, and singular, ingredient was Pumpkin Puree.

And the verdict is in. Personally, I found it a tad too sweet, but Chris gave it a thumbs up.

The recipe, as it turns out, is quite straightforward and virtually foolproof.


1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (just plain pumpkin -- NOT the canned pumpkin pie filling)

1 (15.25 oz) box spice cake mix


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with baking cups. If using paper liners, I suggest that you give the paper liners a little spritz of nonstick spray as well, just to prevent any sticking.

In a large bowl, use a spatula to fold together pumpkin and dry cake mix.

Then I like to use an electric mixer to make sure that the batter is fluffy and completely combined. It will be thick!

Use a scoop to fill prepared muffin tins with batter.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then remove muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These freeze really well, so store them in an airtight container or a zip-top bag in the freezer and just thaw as necessary.

Now, let's talk about the pie. As autumn takes its grip, it's inevitable—I must bake an apple pie. This time, I ventured into a new recipe, both for the filling and the crust, courtesy of the NY Times. Interestingly, the only divergence from my usual routine was the addition of cider vinegar and an egg yolk.

Opting for a change, I decided to go with a galette instead of the traditional pie. No specific reason, I just fancied the allure of an open-pie presentation.

As I rolled out the dough, I noticed it appeared a bit drier than our usual Pate Brise. However, in the oven, it achieved a beautiful golden brown hue, so a taste test is on the horizon. Stay tuned for more details on that.

The irresistible aroma of the pie as it emerged from the oven grabbed the attention of Chris, who was lounging downstairs in the family room.

I adapted the recipe from Kierin Baldwin, which had itself been adapted by Sam Sifton. If you're curious, you can check out the original NY Times recipe by clicking here. Apple Pie

The pie recipe -


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges (I used only 4 large Honeycrisps)

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 egg, lightly beaten


Melt butter in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat and add apples to the pan.

Stir to coat fruit with butter and cook, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk together the spices, salt, and ¾ cup sugar, and sprinkle this over the pan, stirring to combine.

Lower heat and cook until apples have started to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, add cider vinegar, stir and scrape fruit mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Preheat to 425.

Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and, using a pin, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 12 inches in diameter.

Fit this crust into a 9-inch pie plate, trimming it to leave a .5-inch overhang. Place this plate, with the dough, in the freezer.

Remove the pie crust from the freezer.

Pile the fruit filling onto the dough, slightly mounding it in the center and leaving a 2-inch border around the edge.

Fold the rim of the dough up and over the edge of the filling, overlapping the dough as you go around and pleating the dough.

Lightly brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.

Place pie in oven and bake on the hot baking sheet for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375. Continue to cook until the interior is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes more.

Remove and allow to cool on a kitchen rack, for about two hours.

Sam Sifton's All-Purpose Pie Doug recipe -


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

Yolk of 1 egg, beaten

1teaspoon cider vinegar

1/4 cup water


Using your fingertips or the pulse function of a food processor, blend together the flour, fats, and salt until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

There should be pebbles of butter throughout the mixture.

Add egg yolk and vinegar to ¼ cup ice water and stir to combine.

Drizzle 4 tablespoons of this mixture over the dough and gently stir or pulse to combine.

Gather a golfball-size bit of dough and squeeze to combine.

If it does not hold together, add a little more of the liquid and stir or pulse, then check again.

Repeat as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather together into a rough ball.

You want to be careful not to overwork the flour, but not too careful; the dough should hold together.

Divide the ball in half with a knife or a pastry scraper, then divide each portion in half again, and again, to create eight portions.

Using the heel of your hand, flatten each portion of dough once or twice to expand the pebbles of butter, then gather the dough together again in one ball.

Divide this ball in half.

Flatten each ball into a 5- or 6-inch disc and dust lightly with flour.

Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.

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