Monday, November 5, 2007

Awesome Apple Pie!

I'm not a huge fan of pie. I really can't remember the last time that I baked pie. It could have been last Thanksgiving, but in any case, none could have been as good as this apple pie that I created especially for my apple growing coworker.

As usual, I made this recipe up as I went along.

Crust:
  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup COLD butter
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt, cause I love it)
  • 2-4 TBS ICE COLD water
  • a little bit of brown sugar (please use the C&H pure brown sugar, not the colored, flavored white sugar that a lot of companies try to pass off as brown sugar)

The important thing about pastry is that everything should be cold and you DO NOT want to over-work the dough. The way that pastry gets light and flaky is through the expansion of the little bits of fat in the dough while it's baking. If all the fat is mixed in too well, it does not do the job. No tiny air pockets mean dense, tough pastry.

So with that in mind, you really should mix this by hand with a pastry blender. A fork will also work, but I find that they dig into my hand. OR, you could just mix it with your hands. This technique can work well as long as you work fast, because the heat from your hands will start to melt the butter.


Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Break or chop the cold butter into bits into the mix. You want the dough to form fairly uniform crumbly bits. Then add just enough ICE COLD water to hold the dough together.

Now most people will roll it at this point. Any of you who have followed my recipe posts know that I like to cook and bake simple. All I do with this dough is push it into the pie plate to form a crust. There will be some left over dough. Hang on to that.

With my crust, I put the lump of left over pastry in the middle, threw plastic wrap over the whole thing and stuck it in the refrigerator while I prepared the rest of the pie. I actually had the crust in the fridge over night as I only had enough time to make the crust that night. I have heard that you should let the pastry "rest", so maybe this helped too.

The Filling:
  • 4-6 apples-- cut, cored and peeled
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (remember -- C&H!)
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-3 TBS ground cinnamon
  • 1-3 TBS ground ginger (depends on how much zip you want in the pie.)
  • a couple dashes (or more!) of Captain's spice rum

I used a variety of apples in the same pie since my apple growing coworker had given me so many different kinds. I think I mainly used Connelly Red and Honey Crisp.

To prepare the apples, I first cut the apples into wedges, kind of like you'd do for pizza. Then I made "V" shaped cuts in the center of each slice to remove the core. Then I cut the peels off. I have found that this is the fastest, easiest way to prepare apples for me; you do what you want.

Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Now would be a good time to turn the oven on as you want the oven to be HOT when you start baking. 325-350F

Topping:

  • Left over pastry
  • flour
  • a couple handfuls of quick oats
  • 1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar (you know the drill)
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 2-4 TBS ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 TBS ground ginger
  • 1-2 TBS COLD butter (optional, but the topping will be more dry)

Put the pastry in a mixing bowl. (If you did not have left over pastry, you will need to mix some flour, butter and water to get a gob of "pastry"). With your hands, mix in everything but the flour. You want this topping to form a fairly uniformly crumbly mix. If the mix is just too moist, add a little bit of flour at a time until it looks right.
Assembly:
crust -> filling -> topping

Simple, right?

Bake for about 30-50 minutes depending on your oven, the moisture content of the pastry, the moisture content of the apples, altitude, etc.
You want to bake this until the crust is golden brown.

Serve fresh and warm with whipped cream.

It made me like pie again. I will never eat any other apple pie again! It simply MUST be THIS pie!!

2 comments:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

YUM! Thanks for turning me on to the idea of using rum in an apple pie recipe, Sylvana. That looks delicious, and I have lots more apples to use up so I'm totally going to try your recipe! :)

ps. Are you my long-lost sister in Wisconsin or something? Gardening, cooking... ;)

Sylvana said...

Blackswamp Girl, I figured the RUM would get your attention ;)
I just might be your long-lost sister; my brothers use to always tease that I was adopted :P