Pie: Halloween Apple Variety

pieonblackSo, this is really just apple pie with a Halloween decoration. But, I thought it would be festive and delicious. So, I made pie.

Now, there are a million dough recipes and even more ways to make the filling. This recipe is, theoretically, from the Joy of Cooking, except that when I went to find it, it wasn’t there. So, in actuality, the dough is courtesy of Courtney Lee, via an index card I keep in the pie section of my (very beaten-up second hand) copy of Joy of Cooking.

So, if you are in a place where apple season is ongoing, go out and pick some apples and make pie! Or just buy apples at the grocery store.

Ingredients:

Dough:

Supplies

I had a lot of apples, you only need 5-6.

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 4 Tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 24 Tbs (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up and chilled
  • 6 Tbs ice water mixed with 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • Extra flour for rolling
  • Extra white sugar for sprinkling

Filling:

  • 5-6 Cups apples (1 medium apple is about a cup), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

To Make the Pie:

PastryBlender

This is what it looked like before water was added. The pastry blender is pictured here.

Keep in mind that your dough will need to chill at least 45 minutes and up to overnight, so time is needed.

You can do this in a food processor, scroll all the way to the bottom for directions. I prefer to use a pastry blender: it is a lot more elbow grease but the crust is flakier and I like being able to pull it together myself. I know a lot of people that think it is unnecessary and you can get a perfectly good crust out of the food processor, should you choose that way.

Now, for the actual making of the pie:

  • Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Put the chilled cut butter all around and toss gently with the pastry blender (I keep the cut butter in the freezer until I am ready to add it).

    CombinedFlour

    This is what it looks like after water and before kneading.

  • Cut the butter into the flour mixture with the pastry working it until the butter is incorporated into the flour, it wont be quite be at breadcrumbs level but it will sort of be clumpy flour.
  • Sprinkle the water mixture over the flour (note, I added the lemon juice and water separately because my iced water was more than the 6 Tablespoons) and work in with the pastry blender. The water should make the dough start to form together. Once it starts to form little dough pieces, take the pastry blender out and either:
    • Kneed with your hands directly into the bowl, or
    • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed
  • Turn the dough into two flat, round disks, wrap them in plastic wrap, and move them into the refrigerator.

CutApplesWhen the dough is chilled enough, you can start assembling:

  • Preheat oven to 450º.
  • Combine the sliced apples, brown sugar, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and stir gently.
  • Roll out the pie disks on a lightly floured surface until big enough to lay into your pan. Take the slightly larger one and lay it in the pie pan as the bottom.
  • Layer the apples into the pie bottom and cover with the top pie crust.
  • Fold the bottom edges over the top and pinch together.
  • Prick top with a fork or cut in slits. If desired, make hole in middle and cover loosely with a pie dough design. I have done pumpkins and poinsettia flours with success, but you could do anything really.Prebaking
  • Sprinkle the top with the extra sugar to ensure that it browns nicely.

Bake the pie at 450º for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350º and continue baking 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until done. When done, the pie needs to cool completely in order for the filling to set (otherwise the good stuff oozes out and everyone is sad). If you like your pie warm, as I do, zap it or put it into a warm oven just before serving. And, of course, enjoy!!

What are the pie tricks that you swear by?

pieonfallcolors

Happy Halloween!!

Directions if you are using a food processor:

  • Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Set pieces of the butter all over the dry ingredients and work the processor in on-off motions just until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  • Sprinkle the water mixture over the flour and process again in on-off motions until the dough forms large clumps. Do note let it come together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it gently to form two flat, round disks.
  • Continue as above.
  • Note: You may need to make the dough in two batches depending on the size of your food processor bowl.
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It’s Apple Time!

applesSo, friends, it’s been a while. I wanted to come back with something amazing—great and new and pretty. At first, I thought a play on a Girl Scout cookie in a cupcake would be perfect; it wasn’t. And then, I thought, “Apples, how can I go wrong with apples?” Fun fact, it is not as hard as I thought to go wrong with apples.

So, instead of coming back with something awesome, I am coming back with a list of kitchen mistakes, because it is time to come back.

I moved recently. Not only to a new apartment, but also to a new city, in a new state, several hundred miles away. The biggest issue with the move has been the kitchen. In all fairness, it is not the worst kitchen ever. It is mostly functional, even if the cabinets I store my baking things are inconvenient and awkward. But, there is still that period of warming up—it is not necessarily the kitchen that is handicapped (as much as I would like to blame it) and I don’t think it is me, but we just aren’t working together. And so, my delectables turned out not been quite as intended.

Some examples:

Samoa Cupcakes: I couldn’t make the sugar caramelize so, instead of the caramel-coconut topping I had intended, I wound up with a  sugar-butter-bourbon-coconut topping on my attempted samoa cupcakes. And, the browned butter cupcakes underneath this topping were slightly too egg-y and not solid enough.

caramelbrownbutterccake1

(There are no pictures of the final product; I was too disappointed with the final product to take any at the time.)

applemuffinsApple muffins: These were made with too much liquid makes for very sticky muffins that don’t come out of the paper. Also, a lesson in how baking soda and baking powder can affect the outcome of your muffins!

Apple Pie Pockets: These were definitely the best attempt. We shall call these a work in progress. The first batch was burnt and had too little filling to crust. The second batch worked out in the filling to crust ratio, but just need to look more appetizing, and possibly need a slightly less crumble-y crust.

applesandroundsSo, what how did it go wrong? Let me count the ways:

Cupcakes: Caramel is really, really hard to make, especially without the candy thermometer. I have no idea what Deb from Smitten Kitchen meant when she said it was not that hard. I have attempted this salted caramel stuff three or four times and have only been successful once. Caramel and I have some beef (not literally, but, you know).

I attempted to make the caramel three times the night I made these cupcakes. The first time I burnt it (my bad). The second time, the sugar just wouldn’t caramelize. The third time, I attempted this Bourbon Caramel Sauce, except that it still didn’t turn brown.

So, I thought, lets add some bourbon like she did and see if it will change colors (didn’t work quite as well as I hoped). The end result: some not so pretty, but very delicious, adult Samoa cupcakes.

If I attempt again and it works, I will let you all know.

Muffins: I haven’t quite figured out the ratio of liquid to dry yet. I was worried about my muffins being too dry and sticky so I added more milk. Turns out, not such a great plan, they were a little too wet.  Also, if you forget baking soda, not only do they not rise, they also don’t brown. Weird, right!?! I have to Google that!

Apple Pie Pockets: These were clearly the most successful and, as I picked a bushel of apples, will probably be perfected. (Be on the watch for this!) So, seriously, genius idea, an individualized apple pie, how can you go wrong?

Answer: not enough filling to crust. Burning them also doesn’t help. So, when the crescent shape proved to be faulty, I moved on to disks. Much better ratio (and, not burnt). But they also didn’t brown. Maybe I just need some sugar on top? Perhaps, I should cut slits like you do on regular pie? It is time to go back to the laboratory!! (i.e. my kitchen).

roundsplate

So, here it is. I am back. Nothing is perfect, and that is a-okay. Things are delicious, and at some point I will master the pretty presentation.