deep-dish apple pie pizza

Deep-dish apple pie pizza. Nothing’s really that simple.

On this blog, I often worry that I am compelled to portray myself as this
teenage Martha Stewart-wannabe, but that’s not reality.

If I were Lauren Conrad or Martha Stewart, this would be different.  It is their job to look super fabulous and manicured for their readers — exhibiting guru-like knowledge on flower arrangements and sock buns that don’t look stupid.

For me, this whole blogging thing is a little different.  I don’t have endless funds to spend on peonies, my hair will never look good in a sock bun, and I have no authority to tell you all how to mix a pink mimosa.

my beautiful, blank pizza canvas

My goal is to get closer to you all as readers and tell it like it is.  I
want you to be able to read my blog posts and be all like “whoa, she
gets it!,” or “omg me too.” Definitely not a “my life is in shambles,
how can I be more like her” (because believe me, my life is in shambles
sometimes too).

Yes, I have a collection of vintage mason jars and milk bottles, I have a bin dedicated to washi tape, and I make my own granola.  But that is just one side of me.

The part that you don’t see as much is the fact that I am a worrier, I
enjoy a little bit (lot a bit) of mess in my room, and I am often very
stubborn. Thus, along with the baker’s twine, DSLR shots, and
confectioners sugar comes real feelings, real mistakes, and the real joy beyond making a photogenic batch of cupcakes.  Also, I often eat things straight out of the fridge (i.e. not plated with perfect lighting and garnishes).

One of my favorite things to eat standing up at the fridge is apple pie.
My dad used to always buy those grocery store apple pies, and I’d always
keep standing up, sneaking over to the fridge and eating just a little
sliver (by the end of the hour the pie was usually half eaten).  That
apple pie tasted so much better than warm apple pie all served up with
ice cream and whipped cream and a mint spring (mint does not belong on
apple pie).  Something about the cold, gooey, finger-food nature of it
made it just that amazing.

Pizza is another classic “fridge food,”  cold pizza straight from the fridge is a delicacy of its own.  It tastes nothing like pizza, but it tastes pretty good!

look at that big, fat crust!

Enough chit-chat.  Let’s talk about this pizza. This is a real life recipe.

Ain’t nobody got time to make real apple pie on a school night.  But we’ve got time for pizza pie. This pizza version of apple pie is all of the cinnamon-y apple goodness without the opressive pastry/pie crust rolling! (especially if you usestore-bought pizza dough… that’s real life)

The thing is, real life often tastes better than “ideal life” (a life in
which I made a mile-high apple pie with a rum syrup reduction with
apples that I picked from my garden). This strange amalgamation of the
classy, the trashy, and the unique creates something truly spectacular.
This pizza is a wonderful hybrid between you’re grandmother’s apple pie
(classy), Domino’s Cinnastix (trashy), and a cream cheese frosting
drizzled cinnamon buns (unique?).

The end result? Something perfect to eat standing up at the fridge.

If you’re looking for more easy-peasy pizza recipes to eat standing up at the fridge, you’re in luck. It’s Pizza Week on NoshOn.It! Checkout the hashtag #PizzaWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or check out the Pizza Week Pinterest Board.  The inspiration is endless!

Some favorites are:
Gerry’s Prosciutto, Pistachio, and Burrata Pizza  
Amy’s Kimchi Pizza
Shanna’s Grilled Pineapple, Crispy Pork Belly, Burrata and Arugula Pizza

With love,
Erica

it’s so gooey I’m gonna die!!!!!

Ingredients

for the dough:

  • 2 packets of active dry yeast 1/4 oz. each
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour plus more for surface
  • alternatively, you could use store-bought dough

for the filling:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese softened

for the topping:

  • one small apple thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  1. First, make the pizza dough.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups of warm water into a large bowl, stir in yeast, and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy.
  3. Whisk
  4. in the sugar, oil, and salt.  Add flour and stir until the mixture
  5. forms a sticky dough.  Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with
  6. plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

  7. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F.
  8. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll the ball of dough out into a big circle.
  9. Now, make the filling.  Beat together the sugar and cream cheese until it becomes a uniform mixture.  Spoon this mixture evenly around the crust, about an inch from the edge.  Fold the edges over the cream cheese to seal it inside the crust.

  10. Lay the sliced apples out on the dough.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
  11. Now, prepare the streusel.  Crumble together the 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, white sugar, brown sugar and butter until the butter is the size of pebbles.  Sprinkle this mixture generously all over the pizza.

  12.  Give the pizza another nice sprinkling of cinnamon.

  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, and enjoy while warm!

 

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please
do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella
Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this
post.

yeasted king cake

Snow days are better than regular holidays for three reasons…


1) No expectations
of doing something super fun and fabulous. When people ask me “what did you do with your snow day?” “rolled around on the floor for a while,”  “watched three episodes of Jerseylicious” (does that show still exist?), and “played with dough all day” are all totally acceptable answers.  There’s no expectation that I went on some super fancy cruise ship, took a bunch of pictures wearing fancy/sparkly things, or changed the world through some community service trip I took.  Nope.  This is a day when I can wear fuzzy socks and eat a king sized bag of pita chips and not feel even a little bit guilty about it. 

2) No expectations of hanging out with people.  Not that I don’t like people.  But I feel like it’s socially unacceptable to lock yourself in the house and talk to your dog over a long weekend.  On a snow day, not so much.

3) No expectations of it coming.  What?  Ok, that didn’t make total grammatical sense, but what I’m trying to say is that snow days are unexpected, which make them that much more awesome. I wake up, remember all of the procrastinated assignments that I am obligated to do that day, and then oh wait! I don’t have to do any of them because there’s white stuff falling from the sky! It’s like confetti celebrating the procrastinators of the world.

So yay for the unexpected!  Since on snow days I have oodles of time to waste time/avoid humans/avoid responsibilities, they’re the perfect opportunity to play with yeast, and make a somewhat involved recipe that has a rising time (a luxury that someone who has to go to school rarely has)! I shared my super lazy way of making king cake with you all a few days ago, but for those of you who are itching to make the real-deal (maybe you have a snow day too), here it is!

As cliche/cheesy as this sounds, nothing compares to the real thing, there’s a certain special layer of flavor (love?), that just can’t be achieved with something that comes out of a can.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 3/4
    cups warm milk
  • 2 1/4
    teaspoons or one packet of dry yeast
  • 1/4
    cup plus 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1
    stick of butter, melted and cooled
  • 2
    egg yolks
  • 1
    teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3
    cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4
    teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • zest of one orange 
  • 1
    teaspoon kosher salt
Filling:

  • 1 block Cream Cheese (8 Ounce Block)
  • ½ cups Dark Brown Sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup Powdered Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • yellow, green, and purple sanding sugar

Warm the milk in the microwave or a saucepan until it is warm to the touch.  Mix the milk, yeast and 1 Tbs. of the sugar in a medium bowl and proof  While it is proofing, whisk together the melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, flour, nutmeg, orange zest, and salt.

Add the butter mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour mixture in the stand mixer.  Knead for 5 minutes with the dough hook until smooth.  Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for two hours.

After the dough has finished rising, prepare the filling.  Beat together the cream cheese, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth.  Transfer the dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and roll it out into a 9×13 inch rectangle.  Spread the cream cheese filling evenly onto the rectangle, leaving an inch along one of the long sides so it doesn’t overflow.  Starting on the long end, roll up the dough jelly-roll style. 

Grease an empty metal can and place it in the center of a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Gently wrap the dough around the can (seam side down), and pinch the ends together to form a ring.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Let the cake rise as the oven preheats (about half an hour).   Bake for 30-40 minutes until it is golden brown.  Remove the can and let cool.

Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and milk.  Add a little more milk if the glaze is too thick.  Pour on the the glaze and then decorate with sanding sugar.

Adapted from Food 52

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

fool-proof no-knead bread

Fall is a crazy wild ride.  There are a million-and-one things to do and  I used to wish that I could do all million-and-one things at once (or at least a nice hand-full of them).   I used to think that doing just one thing at any given moment was a luxury — sometimes, even wasteful!  I would catch up with friends via text on my walk home from school.  I would study my Chinese vocabulary while doing my nails.  I once attempted to study for a physics test while making gooey Nutella butter cake (as you can imagine, that was a gooey, chocolatey mess).

Then I finally realized, after all of these years of trying to paint my toes, while listening to a book talk, while doing my math homework — that multi-tasking sucks.   Here are my five reasons that multi-tasking sucks.

  1. It’s actually less efficient.  If I have my history reading open on one tab and my Pinterest tab open on the other, most likely I will find a killer pumpkin bread recipe and leave poor old Thomas Jefferson neglected. 
  2. Things happen and I don’t notice them.  While I’m attempting to text my friends about my day while crossing the street, I don’t notice that adorable little pug puppy being walked on the other side of thestreet from me (not to mention oncoming traffic…).  A study at the University of Washington found that 75% of students who walked across the quad while on their cell phones didn’t notice a clown riding on a unicycle in the quad.   A CLOWN RIDING ON A UNICYCLE! He was probably wearing a bright red fright wig… if they didn’t notice that, think about all of the other things they were missing . 
  3. It’s rude.  Having my cell phone on the table while having lunch with a friend is distracting. I am totally guilty of this, but sometimes, I at least try not to read the message until I’m on my own.  
  4. It’s stressful.  That little “bing” of a new message sends my heart racing.  Spilling sea foam green nail polish on my Chinese workbook sends my blood-pressure through the roof.   
  5. It kills creativity.  Brilliant strokes of genius (putting Nutella in baklava) only happen when your brain has a little extra room to be crazy.  Multitasking requires a lot of “working memory,” leaving very little wiggle room for those awesome strokes of genius.  
So, I’ve decided that when I’m reading about Thomas Jefferson, I will give him all of my attention, and when I’m painting my nails sea foam green, you better believe I’m not going to screw one up attempting to crack open my math text book.   When I’m working, I’m working, when I’m playing, I’m playing, and when I’m baking, I’m baking.  Work hard, play hard (wise words from Wiz Khalifa).  
That being said, there’s one little exception when multi-tasking is a good thing. 
This no-knead bread.  
Basically, I just stir up the ingredients in a big bowl — then proceed to paint my nails, make Nutella baklava, talk to some friends,  spend some quality time with Thomas Jefferson, and totally forget about my bowl of ingredients.  While I’m doing all of these things,  the yeast in there is working hard to make the bubbliest, chewiest, dough I’ve ever seen.  Multi-tasking at its finest. 
Then, as an afterthought, I throw it into my big dutch oven and uncover a perfectly crusty, yeasty loaf of artisan bread.  

This is not the kind of bread that I cut into slices and make elaborate sandwiches on (although you totally could, whatever floats your boat).  This is the kind of bread that I tear off big chunks of while it’s still warm, and smother them in melty butter and honey.   It’s got that thick crust that snaps when you break off a piece and a soft center with tons of scraggly nooks and crannys just begging to be filled with melty butter. 


Are you a multi-tasker?

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups luke-warm water
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp yeast

Dump all of the ingredients in a large bowl and give them a stir until they resemble a shaggy dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in room temperature for 8-18 hours. Dough will bubble up and rise.
After dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 F.

Put your dutch oven in the oven while it preheats.
Turn
the dough onto a well-floured surface and shape dough into a ball.
After
the oven has preheated, carefully remove the dutch oven and with floured
hands place the bread dough into it.
Replace
the cover and bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove the cover and
bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.  Now you have a perfect, crusty, artisan loaf of bread!

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p to the seventh panini

The school year has finally come to a close, and I’ve accumulated a lot on the way.

Confession: I lug around a lot.  You can tell by the weight of my backpack as I struggle up the metro escalator (I believe that life’s to short to stand on an escalator).

So I like to hang onto things, and it comes in handy sometimes.   My friends put up with my embarrassingly large bag so they can take advantage of my phone charger.  I’m kind of like Mary Poppins when she pulled a lamp post out of her enormous diaper bag. 

Oh so you need a pencil for your test? I have a pencil case full of mechanical pencils (one of which works).
Just opened your yogurt and need a spoon? I have a set of clean silverware in the front pocket.
Getting a pedicure during your free period? Don’t fear, I have extra flip flops.
Forgot you have to wear shorts in PE today?  I have a razor and travel soap.
That boy from 7th period texted you and batteries at 2%?  I have three iPhone chargers.  Worship me.
See? All my mismatched items come together harmoniously into one, supercharged survival kit.

… kind of like this sandwich (that was not the smoothest transition, but bear with me).  This sandwich has a crazy hodgepodge of things: sweet pears, seedy raspberry jam, an assortment of cheeses, seedy bread, and bacon… lots of bacon.  However, it all comes together harmoniously into one, supercharged sandwich.  It also has an awesomely nerdy name: P to the 7th Panini, because I was procrastinating from my math homework when I invented it.

Pears, prosciutto, preserves, Parmesan, provolone, poppyseed bread, and a panini press.
7 words that all start with P.  Mash-bang them together and you have this beauty of a sandwich. I’m a genius, what can I say. 


With love, 
Erica



Ingredients

  • 4 slices poppyseed bread 
  • 4 tablespoons raspberry preserves
  • 2 thinly sliced red pears
  • 6 strips cooked bacon (or other salty meat like speck, prosciutto or even ham)
  • White cheddar
  • Provolone
  • Parmesan
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat griddle or panini press to medium-high heat.
  2. Assemble 2 sandwiches in this order: bread, 1½ tbs. preserves, pear, 4 slices bacon, 2 slices cheese, bread.
  3. Spread butter on top and bottom of sandwich, sprinkle with Parmesan, and grill for 4-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.
Note:
My slices of bacon were pretty small and thin,
which is why I used 4 on each sandwich (gulp). I think 2 regular slices
per sandwich would be plenty. 

 
© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

sweet bread from valtellina

If everyone in the world had to bake a loaf of bread from scratch, the world would be a better place. 

Let me elaborate.


Basically, bread baking is a huge pain in the butt.   It requires patience, planning skills, and upper body strength — all things that I lack…

If it’s such a pain, then why do I bake bread from scratch?  Because baking bread has taught me many life lessons… and because that first slice, fresh out of the oven with a big smear of melted butter (because I totally deserve it) is worth all the hassle and *minor* mental breakdowns. 


Anyways, here are the things that bread has taught me: 

Bread has taught me to plan ahead.  I’ve learned the hard way that if dinner’s at seven, I better start the loaf at four.  There are few things more painful to watch than hungry people crunching on spinach salad while the bread is still in the oven — especially when they can smell all of that carby-goodness wafting out of the oven. I’ve also learned not to run out the door while the dough is rising.  Personally, errands always take twice as long as they should.   Thus, I end up  returning to a kitchen that smells like a brewery and being confronted by a ball of dough the size of a large toddler. 


Bread has taught me perseverance (and given me some *somewhat* defined biceps).  Sure, there are dough hooks, bread machines, and other fancy kneading gizmos — but I’m a firm believer that the best loaves come from some good, old-fashioned pounding.  The glutens in the dough need to be stretched and warmed by human hands.  It’s a labor of love.  With every loaf of bread, I knead a little bit of my soul and spirit into the dough.  That sounds so incredibly cheesy, but you can taste the difference, I swear.  


Bread has taught me that patience pays off.  I am the kind of girl who seldom uses measuring cups and has no idea where my teaspoons are.  I have one “cup”-ish sized mug that I use for everything.  I’ve got to admit I love to cut corners (and hate doing dishes).  I feel like I’m totally winning at life when I make a layer cake in one salad bowl with a fork.  But bread baking requires patience and a lot of spoons. I’ve learned to even break out the kitchen scale when baking a loaf of bread.  Crazy stuff, I know…  But it’s all for the love of bread.  


Lastly, sometimes, yeast can just be a little bit of a bitch.  You can use all the measuring spoons in the world, and your bread will still sometimes come out of the oven looking like a hot mess.  Bread has taught me how to say “hey, it’s ok.”  When my country boule ends up looking like a giant chicken McNugget, I’ve learned just to call it “rustic.” No one complains. Trust me.  Especially when I serve it with Vermont maple butter. 

This my adaptation of a traditional recipe for bisciola — an artisan fruit and nut loaf from the Lombardy region of northern Italy, bordering Switzerland.  The addition of figs and anise seeds makes it both sweet and savory.

Have you ever made bread from scratch?

With love, 
Erica


 


  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 1/2 cups
    all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2 cups
    whole-wheat flour

  • 1 1/2 cups
    warm water 

  • 1
    package dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 1 cup
    coarsely chopped dried mixed fruit (I used apricots, figs and dates)

  • 1/3 cup
    packed brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon
    salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons anise seeds 
  • 1
    large egg, beaten 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, warm water, and yeast in a large
bowl, and stir well with a whisk. Cover and let stand at room
temperature 1 hour.


Add the nuts, 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, dried
fruit, anise, sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, salt, and egg to yeast mixture, and
stir until a soft dough forms (dough will feel tacky). Turn dough out
onto a lightly floured surface. 
Knead dough until smooth and elastic; add enough of remaining all-purpose flour, 1
tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.  Place dough on a
baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Shape into an 8-inch round
loaf. Brush dough with 2 teaspoons oil. Cover and let
rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until
doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains,
the dough has risen enough.)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Uncover dough. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds
hollow when tapped. Remove loaf from baking sheet; cool on a wire rack.
Adapted from La Cucina Italiana
 


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julia’s banana bread

I just woke up from one of the best dreams I’ve ever had.  At the moment, I am sitting on Amtrak — rolling through miles of factory towns and burnt out buildings on my way to New York City.  As much as I love the city that never sleeps, I seriously needed some sleep. Thank the Lord it’s spring break and I can finally log out of my school e-mail account, hang up my backpack, and get some serious shut eye.  About an hour ago, the bumpiness of the train lulled me to sleep, and I was transported far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city…

It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people tell me about their dreams.  Not their dreams as in aspirations, but their nonsensical, rambling, nighttime dreams about purple cows and police chases.  Please forgive me, but I need to share this awesome dream with you guys.  It’s nothing crazy or complicated  — just a small tree house, a winding road, and some really good banana bread.

I had my noise cancelling headphones on, listening to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s soothing voice and soon, I drifted off into the sunny beaches of Hawaii…

My mind wandered to an article about banana bread that I had read about in Bon Appetit a while back.  I dreamed that I was in an old, rickety Jeep, driving on a one-lane road along the shoreline.  I drove for about 20 miles, and although I’m usually pretty impatient, the drive didn’t bother me one bit. With a view like that, I really couldn’t complain.  Finally, I drove up to a treacherous twist in the path, and I saw a quirky, lime-green tree house perched among the shady palm trees.  The weather was warm and beautiful, and the kind, old woman behind the counter’s smile was even warmer and more beautiful.  I walked up to the counter and she handed me a warm slice of banana bread.  The end.

When I made Julia’s famous banana bread for myself, it was like something out of a dream.  I don’t know how to describe it — just trust the thousands of people who swear that it’s the best on the planet.  The recipe is perplexingly simple —  bananas, oil, and flour.  But there’s something very unique about it — a special island touch if you will.  It has significantly more
speckles and freckles than any other banana bread I’ve ever made — just like the freckles we all get at the beach.

One day, my dream will come true and I will actually make the trek up to Julia’s banana bread stand.  But for now, I’ll just cut myself another slice (or three) when I get home.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray



1 3/4
cup
all-purpose flour



1 1/2
teaspoons
baking soda



3/4
teaspoon
kosher salt



3

large eggs



1 1/2
cups
sugar



1
cup
mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)



3/4
cup
vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a
9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and
salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large
bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just
until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.


Bake until a tester inserted
into the center of bread comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a
wire rack; let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around
inside of pan to release the bread. Turn out onto rack and let cool
completely.


© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.