Thursday, 29 December 2011

On The Road: Recipie - Kristen's "Mean" Apple Pie... packing punch with pastry!


Back in her interview with Harpers Bazaar for their December 2009 issue, Kristen said how she makes "really good pie. Apple pie — it's the best."

How could I resist the urge to bake one for our On The Road read-a-long?  Especially as Sal just got to the heart of the midwest where he "ate apple pie and ice cream - it was getting better as I got deeper into Iowa, the pie bigger, the ice cream richer".

Now, I'm not going to be so ambitious as to make my own ice-cream (yet) especially as making my own pastry is challenge enough - I wouldn't judge you for using ready-made here - I usually make apple crumbles so I can trick myself into thinking it's healthier due to the oats :)

I'm working from a friend's tried and tested recipe, with which she won a competition back in the day and has been baking ever since.  To give it that "mean" feel I'm adding an extra squeeze of lemon (must be all that fan fic) and feel free to throw in an extra apple or two if you're feeling particularly Iowanian ;)

For this recipe you will need...

2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter - chilled and thickly diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup (60 - 120 ml) ice water
1 egg (to stick and glaze)

2 1/2 pounds (1.1 kg) apples (about 6 large) cored and sliced at will (I like to leave the skin on *snort...ahem* but peel if you prefer)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 small lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter

Classic vanilla ice-cream

To make the pastry:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C / gas mark 7)
  • In the food processor (that I don't have so am working with cooled hands) place the flour, salt, sugar and combine
  • Add the butter and mix until the dough resembles coarse clumpy sand and gather into a ball
  • Divide the dough into two flattened halves, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled - for about an hour
  • Remove one portion of the dough from the fridge, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle.  To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll gently. *Try to roll with the handles of your pin to keep warmth off the dough.*
  • Gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan - brush off any excess flour and remove the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan (I just roll my pin over), cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator
So proud the pastry didn't split - you have nooo idea!
  • Then remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator also

To make the apple filling:

  • In a large bowl combine the sliced apples with the sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
  • Place the apples in a strainer placed over a large bowl to capture the juices for about 30 minutes
  • Add the 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of unsalted butter to the juices and simmer to reduce to about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of caramelized syrup

To assemble:

  • Remove the top pastry crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it's soft enough to move to cover your pie
  • Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and pour over the reduced syrup, toss to combine and tumble into the chilled pie crust
  • Brush the edges of the pie shell with a little of the beaten egg and then place the top crust over the apples
  • Tidy off any excess pastry, crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork and brush with glaze.  Decorative fiddly bits are completely optional, given your extra pastry - I just wanted to use my new cookie cutters :)
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the center and dot out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape

To bake:
  • Place the oven rack at the lowest level (with a baking sheet beneath to catch any bubbling juice)
  • Bake for about 45 to55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and the apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits. *Make sure to check that the edges of the pie aren't over browning half way through cooking time and cover with foil if needed.*
  • Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving

To eat:
  • In a sun-filled, leather-bench booth with a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream :)

Makes one deep-filled 9 inch (23 cm) pie, which you can choose to either share in generously heaped slices, or eat out of the dish with a spork - your call ;)

On to the next chapter!  What other foods will we find along on the road, I wonder...

- Lorabell

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