(This week’s recipe came from “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book”.)
I can’t believe it’s taken we twenty-three weeks to bake a pie! But summer is finally here, and fruits are in season, so pie time it was.
Apple pie is probably one of my top five foods. I would love for my last meal to be stuffed peppers, apple pie with Jeni’s Honey Vanilla Bean ice cream and Framboise with ginger ale. That sounds absolutely perfect.
A couple of months ago I was watching “The America’s Test Kitchen” show on PBS and they made a blueberry pie with a pie crust that included vodka! It was amazing! The reasoning was that too much water can make a pie crust tough. Vodka, on the other hand, mostly evaporates in heat, and therefore does not make the crust tough. And the alcohol completely evaporates, so you don’t end up with a boozy pie.
The recipe started with flour, sugar, salt being processed together in a food processor:
Next, shortening and butter were chilled and cut into small pieces and evenly distributed around the flour mixture. This was pulsed together until lumps formed:
The dough was then transferred to a bowl and the water and vodka were sprinkled over and smooshed together until the dough all came together. I got very nervous at this point, because the dough was incredibly wet. I was sure that I’d messed something up. The dough was divided into two pieces and each was wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for an hour:
In the meantime, I peeled, cored and chopped ten apples! Five Granny Smith and five Cameos went into the pie. Once the apples were sliced, they went into a large pot with sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. As it turned out, I should not have put the lemon juice in at this point. But I don’t think it affected the pie in the least:
The apples were set over medium heat for twenty minutes so that they could cook down. Normally you do not cook down the apples before putting them into a pie. The authors of this cookbook feel that if you don’t cook the apples, when the pie is baked the apples shrink, leaving a gap between the apples and the crust. If you cook the apples down, you can fit the crust on top of the already shrunken apples and you will not have the gap.
After twenty minutes, the apples were dumped out onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature. If I had just dumped them into the pie, the heat of the apples would have melted the butter in the pie crust. Not a good idea.
While the apples were cooling, the bottom crust pie dough was rolled out and fitted to the pie pan. The top crust pie dough was rolled out and put on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Both were then put back in the fridge to chill again.
The cooled apples were drained of the liquid that had collected and one fourth cup was reserved. This was when I should have added the lemon juice. The apples were loaded into the prepared pie pan and the reserved liquid was sprinkled on top of the apples. Then the top crust pie dough was rolled on top of the apples. The crust was trimmed and crimped, air vents were cut and I was ready to go.
But wait. Something was missing. I looked at all the scraps of dough I had left over from trimming the edges and remembered a cookie cutter that I had…
Excellent. I’m so proud of both the apple cut out and the crimped edges. I’ve always just folded my pie crust edges over into a messy seal, but I knew I had to do something fancier for my first blog pie.
The pie was baked for about 55 minutes and came out looking a little something like this:
I cut into the pie once it had cooled down and loaded it up onto a plate:
One look inside the cut apple pie revealed just how many apples went into that bad boy:
Over the weekend I had purchased some ingredients to make ice cream, but got sidelined by that nasty allergic reaction I mentioned in my last post. So yesterday morning when I woke up, I decided I would make some vanilla ice cream to go with this pie. How can you not have apple pie a la mode?
Everything was going fine with the ice cream making until I went to get the milk. I needed one cup, so I grabbed our milk carton from the fridge and realized that I had maybe one fourth cup splishing around in the bottom of that carton. Yikes.
Then I remembered I had some leftover buttermilk in the back of the fridge, thought, “What the hey?” and added in enough to make one cup. It came out delicious! The buttermilk made the ice cream a little richer and cut down on some of the sweetness from the sugar. Yum:
Next week I’m making some Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams inspired cupcakes for a friend’s birthday party. Salty Caramel Cupcakes and Root Beer Float Cupcakes with Honey Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, here I come!