Monday, May 12, 2014

Author, author... Author Interview with Cate Parke + #giveaway

Please help me welcome an interview with Cate Parke !!!
Please tell us a little about yourself...
I was born in Oklahoma City, but moved from there to Albuquerque, New Mexico when I was eight years old along with my parents and four brothers. I always loved English and history in high school and college, but I became a nurse. The daunting chore was to learn enough math to pass the college chemistry courses I needed. For a non-math major, I loved algebra, chemistry and organic chemistry. I’ve been a pediatric nurse all my career. I still work very part time as a nurse. Writing is pretty much a full time career now. I’m married to a retired navy officer and we have one daughter and a grandson. If you read my blog, you’ll learn that our move to N.E. Tennessee was our 18th during my husband’s 26-year career.
What or who initially inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always written stories, or imagined the plot of a book I would write. One night in January, 2006, though, I listened to a friend of mine read a prologue of a book she’d read. I don’t even recall the title of the book. For reasons I can’t explain, that was my impetus to begin writing my own book.
What kind of research do you do for a novel and how extensive do you get?
It may be true of other genres as well, but when the genre is historical, there’s a lot of research that goes into making a story believable. For instance, I spent weeks trying to find any reference to bridges crossing the Ashley River north of Charleston during the pre-Revolutionary War period. Actually, it turns out that ferries were used to cross the Ashley except at just a couple of points. Like all writers, I have an extensive collection of books, maps and copies of other manuscripts regarding my time period.
Do you have a special place you like to do your writing? Such as an office, a spare room, the dining room table, your couch?
I have a desk in our bedroom and a huge bookshelf that contains all my writing references. My office disappeared into a guest bedroom some time ago. (Occasionally, I’ll move my laptop to the dining table so I can hear my washing machine or dryer alarms on laundry days.)
As a reader, what types of works do you like to read and do you think they influence the genre/genres you write in?
I’ll read pretty much anything, actually. For instance, I never thought I would like Fantasy or Alternate Reality books, but a few of my author friends write wonderful stories that have changed my mind. I’ll read anything they write. I also began reading more contemporary romance and have found several authors whose books I devour. For the most part, though, I’m a lover of historical romance. Everyone has always said, Write what you love, or write what you know. As an historical romance author, I do both.
What is your favorite method of in laptop, desktop, Ipad or the old fashioned pencil and paper??  And do you plot out your story or go with the flow of your muse?
I use my laptop to write. It changed my life, in terms of writing. I would never have finished even a single chapter had it not been for my computer. In terms of my stories, I have a loose plot I follow. Otherwise, I let my characters tell me who they are and where they want to take the story.
When you need a break or some time off from the trials of being a writer, what can you be found doing?
I’m either cooking, watching television with my family or vegging out on the living room couch with my Kindle.
Is there anything about yourself nobody knows that you would like to share with our readers??
Well, while a few other people know this about me, I once begged my husband not to accept orders to Guam since it would force us to fly over the deepest fissure in the earth, the Marianas Trench at 37,000 feet. I have a fear of heights…and a fear of depths. Yikes! My husband was a good guy, as it happened. We moved no further than up the California coast a little over a hundred miles.
For fun, I have a few personal questions,  
Your Favorite 5
1) Favorite color – sunny yellow…or bright green…or pale blue. I love color.
2) Favorite dessert – Ice cream. I love it! (Don’t tell my husband, though.)
3) Favorite Season – Autumn. Hands down.
4) Favorite sad song – It isn’t much of a sad song so much as a love song: it is “Endless Love” with Lionel Ritchie.
5) Favorite Romantic movie – You won’t believe it. It’s the 2007 version of “Persuasion”. The scene kiss near the end of the movie where Captain Wentworth first kisses Anne is one of the single best I’ve ever seen. Sigh….
And a bonus, what is your ideal romantic vacation??
Sharing wine and a late supper with my husband at a great French bistro within sight of the Eiffel tower…or sailing along Italy’s west coast watching it pass by our private balcony…or having tea with him at the Jane Austen Tea Room in Bath, England. Needless to say, I adore my wonderful husband. When I fantasize about anyone, it’s him.
Where can our readers find you?? 
·       Email:
·       Twitter:
·       Amazon author page:
Is there an upcoming or current release you would like to share with us today and where can we find it?
Yes! Thanks for asking. Richard Berkeley’s Bride can be found at:  
iBooks     All Romance      Kobo
Here’s a little blurb:
Will his ambitions and her fears imperil their future?

In Charlestowne, South Carolina Colony, 1769, a ship docks containing a treasure beyond most men’s dreams—Lord Edward’s lovely daughter, Alexandra—destined for one fortunate man, Richard Berkeley.

Although he’s the scion of a wealthy prominent family, the arranged marriage unlocks the door to far greater wealth and power than Richard ever hoped to achieve. He soon learns his lordship’s offer to instate him as his sole heir isn’t the only treasure worth risking his life for. Alexandra is the true prize.

Intrigued by the proud, wealthy beauty soon to become his wife, Richard sets aside his mistress. But Eliza Perrineau had long schemed to become Richard’s fiancée and is furious when he cast her off. Her plans for revenge quickly swell wildly and threaten to destroy Richard. Her cousin, Lord Thomas Graham plans to ensure his untimely demise and has him charged with her murder. Unless Richard can prove his innocence fast, he’ll swing for a crime he didn’t commit.

Alexandra has her own secrets—including deep-seated fears that imperil their chance for happiness. But Richard discovers Alexandra’s love is a prize worth protecting—if only he can help her overcome her fears and past struggles to create a marriage truly worthy of their love.
Here’s an excerpt:
Charlestowne, South Carolina Colony, March, 1768
Richard Berkeley broke the wax seal on his father’s message and read, “14th March. Lord Edward’s house, Meeting Street. Supper, eight o’clock. We have an offer to tender.
~Thos. Berkeley
Postscript: It’s time you married, boy. We want heirs.”
Richard’s eyes widened and one eyebrow ratcheted up several notches. What in hell does this mean? Marriage...heirs? What the devil are my father and Lord Edward up to now?
He’d once considered ways he hated starting his day and this note just shot to the top of his list.
It occurred to him one of two possibilities existed. Either a life-changing opportunity knocked or he should run the other way—fast. The latter option was undoubtedly the best.
“Come in, my son, come in.” Thomas Berkeley boomed, clapping Richard’s shoulder. “We’ve been waiting for you.”
He turned and indicated a winged armchair across from Lord Edward. His father’s hearty good humor deepened Richard’s wariness.
A worm of suspicion wriggled into Richard’s core. The glee contained in his father’s words triggered his conjecture that his elder barely restrained himself from rubbing his hands together in eagerness.
Richard sat, and crossed an ankle over his knee. He contained an urge to drum his fingers on the chair’s arm and gripped it instead, while brooding, not for the first time that day, over what game these two schemers played. So he smoldered—not a little irritated over their intrusion into his well-deserved freedom—and gripped the chair so hard he left a deep imprint in the chair’s well-padded arm.
“Good evening, my boy. Busy day?”
Lord Edward Campbell passed Richard a shimmering tumbler half-full of whisky. More than a little smug, his lordship’s piercing, blue-eyed stare pinned Richard against the chair’s back. Richard had always admired Lord Edward’s ability to miss not a single detail during complex negotiations. Yet his admiration did nothing to decrease his mounting uneasiness.
Flickering candles alight in eight-branched candelabras, set on tables near them, chased deep dusk from the room and sparkled in the panes of tall, satin-draped windows.
Richard’s quick glance slid toward first one man, then the other, still pondering what these two wanted of him. What did their earlier comment regarding his conjugal condition have to do with anything? And heirs? Wide smirks plastered the older men’s features.
“Pardon me, sirs, but you leave me with the grim notion that you haven’t merely invited me to eat supper—but to be the main course.”
Chuckling at Richard’s quip, Lord Edward leaned forward. “Thomas and I wish to propose a betrothal.”
Richard’s head snapped up. A pin’s drop, falling onto the Persian carpet beneath his feet, would have echoed throughout the room. Well, now I know.
“A betrothal, my lord? May I ask to whom?”
Richard took a modest sip of the excellent whisky to cover his sudden urge to gulp. It’s a damned good thing my mouth wasn’t full of this when he made that pronouncement or his lordship might have worn the evidence of my surprise. It was the single thing he’d found to smile about...if only a smile could be mustered. His father and Lord Edward grinned enough for all three of them, like two aging cats that had gotten into a canary’s cage with satisfactory results.
His lordship’s meticulous scrutiny left Richard feeling as though he were a naturalist’s specimen.
“Yes, Richard. My daughter, Alexandra, is now of age and soon to have her London season. Afterward, she will return home and then you both may marry. My father assures me she resembles her mother in every way.”
Richard’s glance skipped toward a portrait of Lady Georgiana, hanging above the fireplace. He knew the painting well, having seen it many times, and admired the lady’s extraordinary beauty. Lord Edward’s daughter might be the mirror image of her mother, yet he wasn’t ready to surrender the freedom his bachelor life afforded, nor ready to change his connubial status.
At twenty-six, he deemed himself entitled to independence. After years spent pursuing his studies, first at Eton, then Christ Church, Oxford and, afterward, London’s Middle Temple, he’d worked hard to gain credentials anyone would find impressive for a man his age. Hard upon his return to Charlestowne, Lord Edward, his old mentor, lured him into his far-flung shipping venture and other financial schemes.
“I’m pleased you’d consider me worthy of your daughter, My Lord. I recall her, of course, but she was just a small child when I left for England. I know little of her except her name.”
“Hm-m. Yes, that is a difficulty, my boy.” His Lordship stared at him, and steepled his fingers. “Of course, she will be home next year and then you may meet her.”
Richard cleared his throat. “If I may, sir. I sail to London next month on business. May I propose meeting her then? Afterward, I’ll reply to your proposal.”
One of Lord Edward’s elegant brows lifted. “She leaves London for Inveraray Castle, my father’s home in Scotland, before your arrival in London, Richard.” He stirred in his chair and crossed one leg over the other. “If you wish, I will send a letter of introduction to my father with you. After our affairs in London are concluded you may travel to Argyllshire to meet her.”
“I’m flattered, sir. I will, of course, be happy to make your daughter’s acquaintance. May I ask why I was chosen?” he asked, careful to remain blasé.
“I have intended you for her since you were but a young lad.” His lordship’s smug grin was that of a man satisfied all his plans had come to fruition.
“Thomas permitted me a share in your rearing, Richard. You have grown to be a fine man whom I admire and trust. I flatter myself I played a small role in the outcome. Indeed, I could not be prouder of you if you were my own son.”
“Edward and I spoke of this possibility when you and his daughter were both but youngsters, my son. It’s our hope you’ll concede to our proposal.”
Two pairs of shrewd eyes in the faces of his elders stabbed him. “Your marriage to my daughter will unite two excellent names and fortunes into a mighty alliance. I will, of course, make you my heir.
It was the coup ď grâce. Richard strove but failed to restrain the outward sign of the piercing pleasure that speared him.
Thoughts cascaded through his head. Well, I’d hoped to create a name and fortune in Charlestowne. Here it is...offered up for the taking.
Possessed of a prominent and ancient name in the city, Richard’s family were amongst the colony’s most affluent. The eldest son of the eldest son, he’d inherit it all.
“The question is,” he thought, “am I willing to surrender my independence for a girl I hardly remember? Well, Richard old man, there’s only one way to know.” And, if he was right, she just might be the wife he sought—the one worth far more than his forfeited bachelorhood.


Lord Edward snapped the seal on the message and scanned the few words, allowing a slow triumphant smile to slide onto his face.
Thursday, 20th October, 1768
Inveraray Castle
I have been introduced to your daughter. Miss Campbell is everything you described, yet far more. Consider me the willing fly caught in your web, my lord. I accept your proposal. I am
Your obedient servant &c
~Richard Berkeley
Dreams Within Dreams will release during the week of May 18th…. Thank you so much for asking. I have a blurb and excerpt for you.
Here’s the blurb:
Richard has won his treasure…and so has Alexandra, but Old World alliances and approaching war threatens their magnificent future and their passionate love.
Lord Thomas Graham is back and Richard is on his home turf. Laughable fop or a menacing foe? No matter which, Richard will be damned if he lets himself become a Rob Roy for yet another Marquis of Montrose.
As war looms on the near horizon, can Richard adhere to his firmly held principles…or must he choose those of Alexandra’s English family to preserve their marriage’s bliss?
Courage, Alexandra’s special gift…is also her curse. Lord Thomas Graham will stop at nothing to ruin the Campbells, Richard and Alexandra included. He’s struck at her beloved husband once…twice…three times. How long before his malignant influence knocks at Oakhurst’s great front door? It will not. Not if she can thwart it.
And here’s the excerpt:
“Mr. Richard Berkeley and Lady Alexandra Berkeley,” proclaimed the queen’s chamberlain in stentorian tones. Sharp pounding resounded throughout the noisy chamber when he struck his long mace against the marble floor once…twice.
Heads swiveled their way. Painted and many-patched men and their ladies, garbed in gorgeous court clothes and dripping with jewels, thronged St. James Palace on this Thursday evening for the queen’s bi-weekly Drawing Room. Word of the Berkeleys’ appearance had spread through St. James District like fire through a ramshackle barn stuffed with dry hay bales. Richard’s and Alexandra’s sponsors, her grandmother and aunt, flanked them. Two duchesses as sponsors—such had never before been the case to everybody’s certain knowledge.
Richard led Alexandra forward through crowds that parted like the Red Sea before Moses when they passed down the center of the mammoth room. Halting before the pregnant queen, Richard swept his grey tricorn from his head, extended a foot and bowed from his waist while his wife sank into a deep curtsey.
Waves of murmurs swept through the assembly behind them, scarcely audible confidences, overheard by Richard’s keen ear. One of them, a girl born with every advantage, had allied herself to a mere gentleman whom nobody had ever heard of before, nobody would distinguish with an invitation anywhere, and nobody wanted to know. Yet from the number of invitations flooding in to Her Grace of Argyll’s secretary, everybody most plainly did. From the corner of Richard’s eye, he glimpsed several short men and a few women clamber onto chairs to capture a better view of them. One elderly dame even lifted a lorgnette containing pink glass to match her silk gown. Richard successfully stifled a smirk. For somebody nobody wanted to acknowledge, he’d garnered enormous attention.
“We have not enjoyed your presence in our Court for the past year and more, Lady Alexandra.”
Queen Charlotte’s gaze swept her from bright red, high-piled curls to the hem of her magnificent embroidered cloth-of-silver wedding gown, the only acceptable attire for her appearance today.
“We hear you have given birth to a son, Lady Alexandra. What did you name him?”
“Edward Thomas Rutledge Campbell Berkeley, Ma’am. He was born last December.”
“We are pleased to see you in good health, for you appear well, indeed. You give no evidence of your recent travail. And you are happy, we see, for you are aglow with it. Very well, very well,” she smiled, a rare occurrence during one of these tedious events, and waved her hand in dismissal. “Now step aside, gel, while we acquaint ourself with your gentleman.”
Richard snapped to attention and bowed his head. “Your servant, Ma’am,” he drawled. His accent, with its long, slow, in-gliding vowels   brought a smile to the queen’s lips. Those near enough to witness her open appreciation gasped, their eyes widened with amazement.
The small woman before him lifted her head and gazed into his eyes. He’d come to recognize such smiles. He’d seen them since he was a boy, fighting off advances from flirtatious females.
“We are charmed by your distinctive accent, Mr. Berkeley. You are from Charlestowne of our South Carolina colony, are you not?”
“Yes, Ma’am. I am.”
“Yet you spent a number of years in England.”
“That’s true, Ma’am,” he grinned, impressed she knew anything of him. Of course, Alexandra had written her and, doubtless, explained. “I attended school in England. Lord Edward Campbell convinced my father to send me to Eton when I was eight years old. Later, I entered his alma mater, Christ Church, Oxford. Afterward, I trained in the law at London’s Middle Temple.”
“Is that when you met Lady Alexandra?”
“No, Ma’am. I didn’t have that privilege until several years later.”
From the corner of his eye, he glimpsed Alexandra slanting a glance at him while he stood at ease, with hands folded behind his back, and flashed a grin at the queen. The small brown-haired, sallow-skinned woman with striking turquoise eyes lifted her chin. He suspected nobody ever presumed to grin at her. But Her Majesty was a woman and, he supposed, from her widened eyes and the flirty grin playing on her lips, he’d surprised and stricken her, as he had most women all his life.
“How was that, Mr. Berkeley?”
“Lord Edward Campbell, Lady Alexandra’s father, was my mentor and, later, my business partner, Ma’am. He and my father planned a betrothal between us since we were children—though, they didn’t bother to share the information with either of us until the spring of 1768. Since I was soon to embark upon a voyage to England, His Lordship sent along a letter of introduction to the Duke of Argyll, in Inveraray, Scotland. After I saw to my affairs in London, I travelled north—and met my wife.”
“I see. Yet, Lady Alexandra failed to mention it to us during the following year when she served us as a Maid of Honor.”
Richard grinned again, amused. Her Majesty gasped and leaned toward him, her eyes widened further. He doubted any gentleman had ever been so audacious as to display genuine friendliness toward Her Majesty during all the years she’d sat beside her husband on his throne.
“A delicious tale, Mr. Berkeley. We have always been fond of your lady wife, and are pleased you make her happy.”
“I’ve tried, Your Majesty, but I’ve not always succeeded.”
“And why is that, sir?” By her alert posture and the crinkling of her eyes at the corner, Richard knew laughter lurked while she awaited the outcome of his anecdote.
“You see, once I refused to burn a house down for her. On another occasion, I forbade her to ride. I recall even threatening to post guards on her. She was remarkably unhappy with me on both occasions, Ma’am.”
“And why were you commanded to burn a house down, Mr. Berkeley?”
“It contained a nest of snakes, Ma’am.”
The queen’s eyes flew wide and she glanced toward Alexandra. “A nest of vipers, Mr. Berkeley? Pray share the tale with us.”
“Well, you see, I’d bought a sawmill upriver from our home. After cleaning and repairing homes for the workers I’d hired, my wife pulled aside a bed, and there they were. Believe me, Ma’am, I’ve never heard such blood-curdling screams.”
“We should say not! What did you do?”
“Well, I carried my wife outside before she strangled me, while others carried out the snakes. Once they were gone and the place was cleaned, there was no longer a need to burn down the house.”
“She nearly strangled you, you say?”
“Yes, Ma’am. She jumped at me and wouldn’t let go of my neck. It felt like I’d imagine a tightening noose might feel, you see. On that same occasion she nearly suffocated herself and our child, as well.”
Beside him, and amused by his tale, Alexandra fidgeted, wanting to supply some detail that did not present her actions in quite such a…colorful manner. Queen Charlotte pointedly ignored her, though, and she dared not speak unless addressed by Her Majesty.
“I must hear this tale now, if you please, Mr. Berkeley,” the queen demanded.
“My wife took it upon herself to burn vermin-ridden bedding in a fireplace that didn’t work properly. Lady Alexandra was not happy with my response, I fear.”
“Indeed? What did you do?” Another of her rarely seen public smiles wreathed her face. The muscles in her cheeks and about her mouth twitched with the effort to maintain her regal composure.
“I wanted to turn her over my knee, I assure you. That might not have been appropriate, given her delicate condition, though. Instead, I snatched her into my arms, carried her outside and ordered her to sit. Without a single chair on the site, however, my only alternative was to assign her a simple task. It gave her something to do and kept her out of everyone else’s hair, at least.”
A Queen of England may never be said to roar with mirth but her laughter rang through the Presence Chamber and she clapped her hands in delight. Her ladies fluttered about her, fanning her and dabbing the tears streaking her cheeks with lacy handkerchiefs.
Finally, re-gaining control of herself, regret crossed her face. “We fear we must excuse you, Mr. Berkeley, and remember the others awaiting our notice. We look forward to meeting you again at court. Lady Alexandra, we are glad to welcome you back.”
“Thank you, Ma’am,” Alexandra replied, sinking into another curtsey, then backed away from the throne, her hand again in Richard’s.
Her Majesty had extended the usual five minutes granted to each couple by twice as long. This was to the consternation of her formidable chamberlain who stood nearby drumming his fingers on his lectern and waving his hand each time the queen glanced his way, hoping to attract her attention.
After they retreated from the throne, another couple approached who had been kept waiting. The redoubtable Lady Mary Coke, ever present at these bi-weekly affairs, sallied forth and accosted Alexandra.
Her Grandfather Argyll’s first cousin was the daughter of the great Second Duke of Argyll. Lady Mary reigned over St. James District. “You may introduce your gentleman, Lady Alexandra,” she commanded, as though nobly bestowing a great honor.
Inward rage roiled within Alexandra’s breast at the woman’s haughty demeanor toward her tall, handsome husband. Richard bowed when Alexandra introduced him. Her grandfather, the Duke of Wessex, approached and greeted Lady Mary. Afterward, he claimed Richard’s attention and took him to meet a friend. Alexandra could have murdered him for taking Richard away and leaving her alone to combat the arrogant woman. She expected nothing but censure from the fearsome dame, nor was she long disillusioned that she might escape.
*     *     *     *     *
One last thing before we let you leave us you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share?  I like to cook and am always looking for new recipes to try and share but it's totally up to you. I would love to! Thanks for asking. This is my recipe for Dutch Apple Pie. I developed it quite a long time ago. The apples don’t require any pre-cooking, either. It makes a fabulous dessert for summer picnics.
Dutch Apple Pie
4 medium Granny Smith (or other tart pie apples) and 4 McIntosh apples)
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. (approx.) freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
½ c. heavy cream whipped with 2 egg yolks
1.    Peel, core and slice the apples into thin slices.
2.    Mix the sugar, cornstarch and spices together well and pour over apple slices. Toss gently to coat slices well. Allow to sit on the counter while forming the pie crust into 12 inch round circles, at least 30 minutes, but 45 minutes is better.
3.    Lift the apple slices out of the bowl and put in the pie crust-lined pie plate. Gently squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible before putting apple slices into the pie plate. (You’ll notice quite a lot of apple liquid left in the bowl in which the apple slices sat while making the pie crusts. DON’T throw it out!)
4.    Mix the heavy cream / egg yolk mixture into this liquid. Scrape all the thickened liquid over the pie apple slices and top with the top crust of dough. Flute the edges of the dough, cut decorative vents into the top crust, and protect the edges of the pie from over-browning by placing aluminum foil circle over the edges.
5.    Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Without opening the oven door, turn the oven heat down to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 60 minutes. Allow pie to cool on a rack for a while before cutting to serve.
NOTE: To make the foil circle for the edges, pull off an approximate square of foil and fold it in half and then it in half again. Then cut off edges of the foil, forming a quarter-circle.  Then, cut out the center, approximately 1 ½ inches from the outer circle. Unfold the foil and you will have a foil circle that you can gently crimp over the fluted edges of the pie crust to protect it from over-browning during baking. I’ve done this for so many years I don’t even recall when it was that I came up with the technique…it could also be attributed to a senior moment!
(This is a recipe that I actually developed. You may see other recipes that tell you to cook the sweetened apple slices for a few minutes. You don’t need to do this. The sugar that coats the apple slices acts as a desiccant, removing the liquid from the raw apple slices. In essence, they’re “cooked” or softened before putting them into the pie dough. The egg yolk and the cornstarch mixture help thicken all that liquid into a nice custard during baking.) It is the custard that makes the pie a Dutch apple pie, not the topping.
Pie Dough
If you’ve never made a pie crust before, it isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems. This is just one method…the one I use.
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur all-purpose flour here because of its slightly higher protein content.)
1 tsp. table salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
12 Tbsp. butter, cold cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup cold (or frozen) vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
¼ cup cold vodka
¼ cup ice cold water (or a little less)
1.    Pre-freeze the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl at least 30 minutes. (May freeze overnight, covered with Saran Wrap or pour into a freezer bag.) Pre-freeze the butter and shortening at least 30 minutes. They must be very cold. I also pre-freeze my large mixing bowl.
Pour 1 ½ cups of the flour mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse twice, about 1 second each. Add the butter and the shortening into small pieces. Process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape the bowl with rubber spatula & redistribute dough evenly around processor blade quickly. Add remaining cup of flour & pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl & mass of dough has been broken up, 4-6 quick pulses.  Empty the mixture into a very cold large bowl. (I use a large bowl because I’ll rinse it out well and then peel & slice apples—or whatever— into it.)
2.    Turn into the cold mixing bowl and sprinkle vodka & water over the mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide ball in half, flatten each half into 4-inch disks, wrap each half in Saran Wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes (while preparing the pie filling) or up to 2 days. If you keep longer than this, then wrap tightly in freezer bags and store in the freezer.
3.    To roll the dough out, the best way I’ve ever found is to make a large square with 2 pieces of Saran Wrap (at least 12-14 inches square), flour lightly, put the flattened ball of dough on it and cover with a second large square. I roll out the dough between the squares of Saran Wrap until I have about a 12 inch diameter circle, loosen the top layer of Saran Wrap from the dough circle, flour it, lay in back down onto the circle of dough, turn the whole thing over and loosen the Saran Wrap from that side of the dough circle. I, then, wash my hands & forearms well with soap & warm water & dry them well. Then, I gently drape the entire dough circle over my very clean forearm and turn it into the pie dish. It is easier to position properly this way. (Also, if it tears before I get it into the pie dish it is easier to lay back down onto the square of Saran Wrap, recover it and roll it gently until the tear is repaired. A flour dredger helps put just the right amount of flour down onto the Saran Wrap before rolling out the dough. Lots of places, such as ( or, etc.) carry those handy little items. They’re inexpensive and easy to use and keep your hands out of the flour canister! One additional thing I do before putting the pie dough into the pie plate is to dredge a light coating of flour over the bottom of the pie plate.
4.    Add the filling, place the dough for the top crust down over the filling, if a top crust is desired, cut the pie dough edges close to the pie plate, gently roll edges under and pinch together to seal and then make decorative fluting around the edge of the pie. Cut decorative vents in the pie crust top.
To prevent over-browning of the crust fluting, I take a large square of aluminum foil, fold it into quarters and then cut out a circular shape at the edge. I then cut away the center in a circular fashion leaving about 1 ½ to 2 inches that looks like a quarter of a circle. Unfold the foil circle and you have a nice circular shape that lays down over just the fluted edges. Fold the outside edge of the foil under the pie plate edges lightly and put the pie into the oven to bake.
NOTE: I’ve done this pie dough without using my food processor, using a pastry blender to cut the butter and shortening into the flour, but it takes a lot longer. Also, the finished pie crust isn’t as tender and flaky. As I said, this pie dough recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated magazine and was developed by Christopher Kimball, the executive editor and modified, in 2008, by J. Kenji Alt. The Saran Wrap, with the pie dough sandwiched between layers of it, works better than any method I’ve ever used before, bar none. I never find pie making to be quick, but this is the quickest method I’ve come up with. If you don’t pre-chill the butter and shortening you don’t end up with such flaky pastry. In fact, I’d say you just about have to pre-freeze the shortening for this recipe to work. Additionally, most recipes say to use minimal water in order to have flaky crust after baking. Since alcohol in the vodka evaporates during baking, but imparts no flavor, it allows you to use more liquid to bring the dough together, while still using the correct amount of water. The dough will produce the flakiest, most tender pie crust you’ve ever seen. I work quickly, once I’ve pulled the cold ingredients out of the refrigerator and freezer, to keep the entire thing as cold as I can during the process of putting it all together.
Cate is giving away an ebook copy of  Richard Berkeley’s Bride

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting me today, Krista! I had a lovely time.