Saturday, November 8, 2008
SOUTHERN LIVING'S BEST-EVER APPLE PIE (DOUBLE APPLE PIE WITH CORNMEAL CRUST)
I'm always up for a new apple pie recipe, even though I think I've found the perfect apple pie. So when the September 2008 issue of Southern Living Magazine came, I clipped this recipe out and waited for a chance to make it. That chance came last Sunday, when we had dinner company. I served the pie warm, with ice cream and the caramel sauce, and it was good. But the next day, I ate some cold with cold caramel sauce, and it was spectacular. Don't ask me why. Conventional wisdom says that apple pie is better warm. But this apple pie is different. First off, the crust kind of disappears over the apples when it's warm. But when the pie is cold, the crust comes back. And the crust is not something you want to disappear from an apple pie, right? There were a few things I had to change because I didn't have the ingredients, and other things were changed because I didn't want to use the ingredients mentioned. I'm partial to Rome and Winesap apples. I've tried Granny Smith, and I don't like the way they hold up in pies, so I used a mixture of Rome and Winesap. Use the apples you like. The recipe calls for 4-1/2 lbs. of apples; I used 12 cups, which is slightly less, but it was plenty. I didn't have apple jelly, and I didn't want to buy some just for this pie, so I subbed Smucker's Simply Fruit, apricot. I added some apple juice concentrate because I like to use it with apples to intensify the flavor. I like to use tapioca in fruit pies when I can, instead of flour or cornstarch, so I subbed that. Because the tapioca chunks were not dissolved when the pie went into the oven, I couldn't use the apple juices to baste the crust or I would get tapioca chunks on top of the crust; so I used a little apple juice concentrate mixed with sugar to baste the top of the pie, and it worked just fine. And, lastly, I didn't have any brandy for the caramel sauce. I had Hazelnut liqueur, and took a chance on it. The caramel sauce was the bomb, even though I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup. This is a great pie, one that I would make again. It's still not my fave, but it's darn good, especially with the caramel sauce. But instead of ice cream, try plain sour cream or creme fraiche, because, amazingly, the pie is quite sweet, even though there's not a ton of sugar in it. Someone commented that they could actually taste the apples. I had ice cream on my pie when it was warm Sunday night. The next day, I had a cold piece of leftover pie with plain sour cream on it and the caramel sauce, and it was better, not as sweet, and the sour cream really complemented everything very well. One last note: the biggest problem you'll encounter with this pie is keeping the crust from burning. When you pile up all those apples, the pie takes longer to bake, so you have to be careful to protect the crust. The recipe below is the original with notes on my changes.
Southern Living's Best-Ever Apple Pie
(Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust)
Rating: 9 out of 10
CORNMEAL CRUST DOUGH: 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour (scoop method)
1/4 cup whole-grain plain yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup cold butter (1-1/2 sticks), cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2" pieces
8-10 Tbsp. chilled apple cider (I used apple juice concentrate mixed with a little water)
1 Tbsp. of reserved apple juices + 1 tsp. sugar (or 1 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate + 1 tsp. sugar) for basting top of pie crust
2-1/4 lb. Granny Smith apples
2-1/4 lb. Braeburn apples (I used 6 cups Rome + 6 cups Stayman Winesap)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used 4 Tbsp. instant tapioca)
2 Tbsp. apple jelly (I used 3 Tbsp. Smucker's Simply Fruit, Apricot)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. frozen apple juice concentrate (MY ADDITION)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup;everyone thought it was perfect; I thought it was sweet.)
1 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces + 3 Tbsp. sugar for top of filling (I used 2 Tbsp. butter + 1/4 cup sugar)
1 cup heavy cream (I used slightly less)
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I used 1 cup)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. brandy (I used Hazelnut liqueur)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
MAKE THE CRUST: Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Mound mixture on 1 side of bowl. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. cider along edge of mixture in bowl. Using a fork, gently toss a small amount of flour mixture into cider just until dry ingredients are moistened; move mixture to other side of bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining cider and flour mixture. Gently gather dough into two flat disks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1-24 hours. (My notes: This is a great method if you don't have a food processor. My Cuisinart 11-cup food processor has the highest rating for pastries, because the blades stop immediately when you lift up on the pulse button. So I put everything in the work bowl and gently and quickly pulsed with quick on/off motions, so as not to overwork the dough. The crust was very flaky, and this was less work.)
PREPARE THE PIE:
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Peel and core apples; cut into 1/2" thick wedges. (I cut into 1/4" slices, my preference.) Place apples in a large bowl. Stir in next 7 ingredients. Let stand 30 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. (I let my apples sit for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.)
2. Roll out 1 pie crust on a lightly floured piece of wax paper; sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Top with another sheet of wax paper. Roll dough to about 1/8" thickness, about 11" wide.
3. Remove and discard top sheet of wax paper. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around rolling pin, separating dough from bottom sheet of wax paper as you roll. Discard bottom sheet of wax paper. Place rolling pin over a 9" glass pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Gently press dough into pie plate.
4. Stir apple mixture; reserve 1 Tbsp. juices. (If using tapioca, do not reserve juices; instead use 1 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate + 1 tsp. sugar.) Spoon apples into crust, packing tightly and mounding in center. Pour remaining juices in bowl over apples. Sprinkle apples with 3 Tbsp. sugar; dot with butter.
5. Roll remaining Cornmeal Crust Dough disk as directed in Step 2 above, rolling dough to about 1/8" thickness (13" wide). Remove and discard wax paper, and place dough over filling; fold edges under, sealing to bottom crust, and crimp. Brush top of pie, excluding fluted edges, lightly with reserved juices from apples (or apple juice concentrate); sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar. Place pie on a jelly-roll pan. Cut 4-5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape.
6. Bake at 425 on lower oven rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 35F; transfer pie to middle oven rack, and bake 35 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive brownig, and bake 30 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly, crust is golden brown, and apples are tender when pierced with a long wooden pick through slits in crust. Remove to a wire rack. Cool 1-1/2 to 2 hours before serving. Serve with Brandy-Caramel Sauce.
MAKE BRANDY-CARAMEL SAUCE:
1. Bring heavy cream to a light boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes, or till sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. (I cooked it for more like 10-15 minutes.)
2. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, brandy and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
(You can store this in the fridge for up to 1 week. To reheat, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Place mixture in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at high 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. But it's great cold!) Yield: about 2 cups