It was fancy... Even though I forgot to bring out all the tiny bark-covered votives-n-candalabras... had no time to make cheese labels (though that didn't stop the ravenous guests). Thank you to everyone who helped and most especially Kathryn (who also shot the images here).
3 pounds Granny Smith apples, about 9 to 10 apples
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
pie pastry for 2-crust pie
2 teaspoons apricot or pineapple preserves, melted
1 tablespoon buttermilk or evaporated milk
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine raisins and bourbon; let soak for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Peel apples; cut into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange apple slices in a steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam 10 minutes, or until apple slices are tender. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, the flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl; add apple slices, raisin mixture, and pecans, stirring well to combine.
Fit 1 pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate; brush preserves over the pastry. Spoon apple filling mixture into pie crust.
Roll remaining pie crust out; cut out several leaf shapes, marking veins with a sharp knife. Arrange the pastry leaves over apple filling mixture; brush leaves with buttermilk or evaporated milk, and sprinkle pie with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake at 450° on lower rack of oven for 15 minutes. Shield edges of pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and bake 30 to 35 minutes longer.
*To toast nuts, spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Or, toast in an ungreased skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown and aromatic.
Since it's that time again, I'm posting a party from last year that I loved. The thing on the bar was enormous. Everything was full of fruit. Some of the fruit topiaries were concentric circles of kumquats and figs. It looked delicious. Plus it was at David Bouley's test kitchen, so it WAS delicious.
And I love that kid with the big glass of red wine. Photos by Yancey Hughes.
"Elise Loehnen, editor at large: Anybody who has gone through the process of planning a wedding can attest that it will suck up as much time as you give it--there are endless themes and tropes to explore, and just as many seemingly small decisions to be made (from the weight of the napkins to the thickness of the calligraphed line). So you may as well make the decisions with people you like, right, particularly when said people are wildly creative and talented. This weekend I tripped on over to Emily Thompson's recently reopened flower shop in Dumbo (57 Jay St., 323-896-1494, Friday-Sunday, 1-7 pm), where Emily turns out otherworldly holiday wreaths and some of the most creative floral displays out there (check out this recent display she put together for Garden Design Magazine). She can literally trick out a table to look like Bambi might have taken a nap there (in the best possible way). Whether you're getting married--or need something awesome and conversation-inducing for a dinner party--this is your girl."
Thanks Elise! You banquet table will be sure to include a soft bed of leaves and moss for you to curl up in...
Lamb with figs, olives and tree peonies. Tree peonies optional.
1 (4- to 5-pound) boned leg of lamb 6 cloves garlic 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup cured black olives, pitted 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted 1 cup (about 7) fresh Black Mission figs, tough stems removed 1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves plus 6 large sprigs rosemary, divided 1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for rubbing n the lamb
1. Spread the leg of lamb out on a cutting board so that the interior is facing up. With a sharp knife, remove any extra fat and tendons.
2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, olives, figs, rosemary leaves and olive oil and pulse until coarsely chopped and combined. Spread the mixture over the inside of the lamb, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours.
3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes. Reassemble the leg by rolling it back up with the fig-olive mixture inside. Tie the leg securely with kitchen twine, tying at 3- to 4-inch intervals crosswise as well as twice lengthwise. Stuff back in any of the fig-olive mixture that has fallen out of the rolled leg. Rub the outside of the lamb with just enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt to taste. Place the rosemary sprigs on the bottom of the roasting pan and then put the trussed leg on top of the rosemary.
4. Roast the lamb for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 135 degrees for medium rare (or, if you prefer, 140-145 degrees for medium), checking after 1 hour, then every 15 minutes thereafter. Total cooking time will be about 1 hour for a 4-pound roast. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, unwrap the lamb, remove string and cut the meat into thin slices.
Our headwreaths for Sean Lennon and Kemp Muhl for Bust Magazine. We used grapevines, strawflowers, cattails (no, those aren't corndogs) and more. Styled By Priscilla Polley Photograph byGlynis Selina Arban