Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bring this pie to a dinner party and the hostess will love you forever

 Some stories were meant to be told, and some pies were meant to come to "fruition" (ha).

A few weeks ago, I noticed  that my apple bowl was starting to overflow (because I had not been good and wasn't eating my apple a day) and some of the apples only had a few more days of goodness left in them before the summer heat took hold of them. Looking around the kitchen, I realized that there was no way I was going to eat 6 apples in two days, and so I decided to make a pie.

As is often the case with the best things in life, this pie was totally unplanned. Once I had finished slicing the apples, I realized that I was either going to create a pie that rivaled the leaning tower of Piza, or have to make several pies. At this point, what had begun as a simple waste-prevention method of mine had turned into an epic, pie-baking marathon.

6 apples, thinly sliced with skins still on  (any type of apples will do, I like to use a combination of Fuji, Granny smith, and Gala)
1/4 cup Brandy
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Cloves
2 teaspoons Allspice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons flour
 5 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 pinches kosher salt

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. After the apples are all sliced-n-diced, toss them in a large mixing bowl, then start pouring in the ingredients: Brandy, vanilla, spices (be as generous as you wish with these), lemon juice, flour, sugar, and salt. Then just let them sit for about 45 minutes, so the apples soak up as much of the different flavors as possible.

Quick tip: soaking fruit
Have you ever had a pie that tasted delicious but was so runny you needed to eat it in a bowl? Odds are that the creator of this near-perfect confection either a)added too much liquid to the pie, or b) didn't let the fruit soak before putting the pie together. I've found that any time you're adding booze to a pie, increasing the flour by 1-2 tablespoons keeps the pie from becoming too runny. (If you notice in some of my other pies that some pie juice has splashed over, it's from trial and error - so trust me, add a little extra flour). Also, fruit has a lot of liquid in it, so soaking the fruit for 30-45 minutes before adding it to the crust allows some of that excess moisture to leave the fruit, so your pie keeps its flavor and consistency, without bubbling over into your oven or all over your beautiful crust.

After tasting a few of the Brandy/spice/sugar-soaked apples, layer the apples into a pie crust (for a good crust how-to, click here). With apples, I try to avoid dumping them into the crust, but layering them to make sure they're packed as densely as possible. This helps even cooking, and also keeps the apple mound from shrinking down too much in the oven. Instead of my signature lattice crust, I opted for an open-faced pie for one of these bad boys, and simply drizzled the rest of the sugar-spice,brandy mixture over the top of the apples. For the other pie, I opted for a crumble topping, mixing 1 stick of butter with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar, and crumbling over the top. The crumble topping is essentially a shortbread mix, but to keep it fairly light, separate any clumps with your hands while crumbling over the top of the pie. Bake the pie at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the pie is slightly bubbly (if open-faced) and the crust is golden brown. 

(And yes, I did end up bringing these to a dinner party!)

1 comment:

  1. Bake something gluten free! Otherwise I can't in good conscience support your blog as every one of your entries would poison me.