Alex, I’ll take “Apples for $400.
A: It’s as all-America as.
Q: What is apple pie?
Apple pie is wonderful and this has a great, simple twist. Let’s start with what you need.
Classic Apple Pie
1/2 cup lard (yes, you can find it in the supermarkets these days)
3 tbls cold butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbls sugar
5-7 tbls ice cold water
Measure out 5 tbls of water in a cup and drop an ice cube it. In a bowl, bring your wicked (awesome) whisk to the flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Cut the cold butter into a dozen or so small pieces. Add the cut butter and the lard to the flour mixture. Combine using a pastry plenty blender until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the water a few drops at the time until the mixture just holds together. Once you have a great big ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and toss in the fridge. It should remain there for at least one hour.
The Apple Filling
The base of this comes from the Joy of Cooking, Apple Pie II. What makes this recipe so appealing to me is that the apples are cooked down before being put in the pie. This prevents cooked apple shrinkage, thus preventing the ugly gap between the fruit filling and the top layer of the crust in the finished pie.
11 small to medium apples (about 3 lbs 4 oz) cored, peeled and cut. I’m not sure what type of apples they were because we got them in from our CSA.
3 tbls butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean – fresh or previously used (more on this later)
Core, peel and cut the apples. I used a mandolin to cut the apples to 5/16” thick slices.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the 3 tbls of butter. Wait for that butter to start to brown and become fragrant, and toss in one previously used vanilla bean. Our vanilla bean was initially used to make vanilla ice cream so the seeds had been scraped and used already (that’s a different post). Apparently one bath in the heavy cream didn’t take the vanilla bean’s entire flavor life. Toss the bean to coat with the butter and then dump in the apples. Again, toss to coat, put on the lid, and drop the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, the apples should be soft on the outside but still have some bite in the middle. Remove the lid, add in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt and turn up the heat. Reduce the juices to the consistency of a thick syrup, about another 3 minutes. Transfer the apples to a cookie sheet, spread out in one layer, and allow to cool to room temperature.
To Put it all Together:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and cut it in half. On a well floured board, roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick and place it in your favorite pie plate. Add the room temperature apple filling to the pie plate. Roll out the other half of the dough and top your pie. Cut a few vent slits in the top. Bake the pie for about 40-50 minutes. After about 25 minutes, take it out and cover the edge of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning. The pie is done when the crust is a nice golden color and the filling begins to bubble.
The pie should cool on a rack for 3-4 hours to allow the filling to set. This is best enjoyed with some equally awesome homemade vanilla ice cream.
By the way, this pie is excellent for breakfast. No? Okay, I’ll wrap the apple filling some squares of pastry, fold it into a triangle and call it an apple turnover. Good enough for you now?