Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple Pie

Apple pie is the All-American dessert. Everyone loves it (except my husband!). With its sugary, cinnamony apples encased by a golden brown flaky crust, it is the ultimate sweet finale to a meal. One of my favorite apple pie recipes is in the September 2009 edition of Gourmet magazine. That recipe is incredibly simple but so innovative in its use of cheddar cheese in the crust. I was in the mood recently, however, for an apple pie that was a bit richer and had more of a molasses taste to it. Here is my attempt at capturing that taste.

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
6-8 tbsp ice cold water

7 cooking apples - I like to use 5 Granny Smith and 2 Golden Delicious
lemon juice from 2 lemons
2/3 c Demerara sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tsp brandy
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces

Whipped cream topping:
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

for crust:
Mix flour, salt and sugar in bowl and add the cold butter and cold shortening. Mix together with your hands until the mixture has pea-size lumps. Drizzle 6 tablespoons of ice cold water on the mixture. Mix until the dough holds together. If it doesn't hold together, add more water. Once dough holds together into a ball, separate into halves and refrigerate for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

for filling:
As I peel and cut the apples, I squirt lemon juice on the pieces and toss to prevent discoloration. After all the cutting is done, add the remaining lemon juice, brandy, vanilla, flour, salt and spices. Roll out the dough into a 13-inch disc and an 11-inch disc. Place the larger disc on the bottom of 9-inch pie pan. Pour the filling and dot the with pieces of butter. Place the smaller disc over the filling. Cut five 1-inch vents into the crust. Lightly coat the top with milk or cream.

for whipped cream:
I like to serve this with whipped cream infused with a bit of sugar and maple syrup. Beat the heavy cream with the sugar and maple syrup until soft peaks form. Sprinkle some nutmeg and cinnamon on top, and you are good to go!

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