Sunday, August 21, 2011

Apple in a bottle

It's been a while!  Lots of work and vacation, but now summer is getting behind me and it is time to feed the internet.  Remember, if you don't post new content, who will?  (And answering that questions should encourage you to do so.)  This recipe uses a different crust than normal - the big change being the replacement of water with Applejack.  I'd advise against a 1:1 ratio of Applejack in the crust to Applejack ingested by the cook, as this will not often result in the best pie.

My little nephew asked for an apple pie, and it is impossible to say no to him.  This is a scientific fact, provable through very simple experiments performed over the last few years.  This apple pie is based on a recipe by Alton Brown, though a bit more buttery.  Because mo buttah = mo bettah.  This is also a fact. 

For the crust:
9 oz butter (this is a very American dish, I will be using only our units here.  Also, my parents house didn't have a metric scale)
2 oz butter / 2 oz olive oil, melted, mixed and frozen
3/4 cup Applejack (some people use Apple Brandy.  This is more expensive and wrong.)
18 oz flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbl sugar

For the filling:
3 lbs or so of apples (get a mixture - honeycrispt, braeburn, granny smith, or others)
1/2 cup of sugar
3 tbl tapioca flour
2 tbl apple jelly, applesauce, or jelly in a pinch
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamom

I've finally optimized the production order to minimize pie making time, so the recipe here will seem a bit scattered, but it all comes together in the end.

Wash, peel, and core the apples.  Core them with a serious heavy duty stainless steel apple corer (Seriously, the $10 cheap Sur La Table one is unacceptable and if you want me to make this pie for you it will not do. This is non-negotiable.  And I'm the kind of guy who will normally negotiate with anyone, even the bad guys from Die Hard.)  Toss them with 1/4 cup of sugar, then put them in a colander and let the liquid drain for at least an hour.  Then move on to the crust.

Using a chilled bowl and fork, mix the flour with the sugar and salt.  Cut in the butter and the butter/oil mixture until it resembles very tiny crumbs.  If it starts to warm, put the whole bowl back in the freezer and chill for 10-15 minutes - I did this twice during the making of this crust.  Once everything is cut in, add the chilled applejack and mix with the fork until the dough comes together.  Split it in to two disks (one slightly larger than the other) and chill in the freezer - most people claim an hour, but I found 30 minutes while I made the filling was sufficient.

For the filling, combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Put the drained apples in a mixing bowl, fold in the liquid ingredients, then the dry ingredients.  Take the drained apple juice and reduce it on a low simmer to about 2 tbls, this will be used for glazing the crust.

Roll out one crust to fill a quiche pan (you can use a proper deep dish pie tin, but these are expensive and don't seem to work as well.)  The key is use something with a false bottom.  Roll out half the dough, put in in the pie pan.  Place a pie bird in the center of the crust, then add the apples from the mixture making concentric circles and rising to a small mound in the center.  Once this is done, pour in any remaining filling liquid from the apple bowl.  Roll out the second half of the pie dough and lay it over the top,  letting the pie bird stick through.

The Guts

Place the pie on a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Put this on the bottom of the oven and set the temperature to 425F.  After about 30 minutes, transfer the pie to a rack for another 20 minutes or so, then kill the heat and leave the pie in the oven while it cools.  Remove from quiche pan after a few hours.


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