The morning after Pie Day Friday that is! Friday night I was invited to my friend Annie’s place for a weekly event christened Pie Day Friday – where all the food prepped and served must be in pie form. Wouldn’t you say that’s a brilliant idea? Just imagine all the endless food possibilities? Shephard’s pie, pot pie, the vegan/vegetarian form of any of those, curry pies, then your fruit pies, custard pies, pizza pies, oh my mouth is watering just from listing all of those. I recently made an apple pie which would have been perfect for the occasion if Kari and I had not already scarfed down the entire 10-inch thing in under 2 days. Oops. So instead, I contributed in presence and rootbeer floats… which eventually turned into whiskey and beer floats anyway. Don’t start to judge – I was a lonely girl on a Friday night… and it beats coming home to an empty apartment as all the apartment-mates were home for the weekend. It also beats coming home to forced silence and having to think about things that I didn’t want to think about. It’s amazing how the company of others, even strangers and newly made friends, can be the cure to contemplation and solitude. And of course whatever Annie put in my drink also helped.
Crumb Top Apple Pie
source: Pie by Ken Haedrich
So I have to first say that my pie pastry kicks Jimmy’s pie crust’s butt – well, if it had a butt anyway. However, this filling is a bit tart. I liked that for Jimmy/Jessica’s pie, they hand dipped each slice of apple in cinnamon-sugar. That’s definitely a trick I could pick up from them to sweeten up the apple. The crumb topping is most excellent, and if you decide not to sweeten the filling, you can sweeting the crumb topping, just for contrast. The cornstarch really helps to fill in the spaces between the apple slices, so it looks absolutely beautiful when you cut into it. Delicious. All my notes/comments are in [brackets].
Basic Butter Pie Pastry
a must have in your repertoire
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes [I froze mine 20 mins before use; the colder the better]
1/2 cup coold water
By hand: Combine flour, sugar, salt in large bowl. Scatter butter into bowl and cut butter into flour mixture until broken into the size of small peas/crumbles. Sprinkle half the water over the mixture and continue to fork/cut to dampen the mixture. Add the remaining water and continue to combine, toss, mix, fork, whatever your preferred method is. But try to use your fingers as little as possible, because the heat is supposedly not good for the dough. And don’t over work the dough… I’ve heard that it kills that flakey texture you want in your pastry.
Now once thoroughly combined, try to pack your dough into a ball. If it doesn’t pack well (too crumbly), then add a tiny drizzle of cold water and work it in with your fingers. Once packed, knead the dough ball once or twice and then flatted into a disk about 3/4″ thick. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate overnight or at least an hour before rolling.
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 peeled, sliced Granny Smith apples
1 tbs fresh lemon juice [I used 1 whole lime juice]
1/4-1/2 cup cornstarch
*I also used 1/4 tsp ground clove + 1/2 tsp cinnamon; I just love the spiciness esp when mixed with with apples
6 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
If you refrigerated the dough overnight, remove from fridge and allow to warm up a bit (<20 min) before working with it.
Flour your counter top and roll the pastry into a (about) 13-inch circle. I don’t have a rolling pin, so my old POM glasses will have to do. Place the dough over a pie tin/pan and tuck the edges in without stretching it. With the left overs, I make a ridge for the pie crust. Freeze for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400*F.
In another bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine apples and lemon juice. Sprinkle 1 tbs of the sugar-starch mix over the coold pie shell. Arrange a first, single, compacted layer of apples into the shell. Sprinkle another spoonful of sugar over the apples. Lay a second layer of apples over the first and sprinkle again with the sugar-starch. Repeat until you have used up all the apples. you should have something like 4-6 layers of apples. Place the pie in center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make crumb topping by first melting butter. Pour melted butter over the combined flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon and mix well. Using your fingertips, rub mixture until it forms damp crumbs. Set aside.
After 30 mins., remove pie from oven and reduce to 375*F. Dump the crumb topping over the pie and spread evenly. Tap the pie tin gently. Return pie to oven, rotating pie to get an even brown. To prevent bubbling over/spillage, slide a baking sheet just below the pie tin. Bake until juices bubble and thick, about another 5 minutes. If top browns too quickly, simply tent with aluminum foil for the last few minutes of baking.
Remove pie and allow to cool for at least 1 hour before serving. I find that the flavor just gets better the longer you wait – like the next day. Delicious.
This was a much-inspired pie recipe, but I’m sorry to say that this entry was not. After watching endless hours of Gossip Girls, all creative faculty has been lost, and I’m not too sure when I will be able to recover it. I wonder how the great geniuses of our time overcame writers/creative-block. da Vinci could not have been bubbling forth with inspiration all the time. Nor could IM Pei or Imogen Cunningham, right? Well, I am praying that a lightning bolt strikes me soon, because I just feel soo dull and not inspired/God-touched.
So, please send me your muses fellow foodies and perhaps this spell will be over soon. On another note, this weekend (to reiterate) is Wicked Weekend and I am ecstatic about that. School starts next week to my horror and the days until I start to neglect the blog are numbered and inevitably nearing. But that is another day, today I am just going to enjoy the present and this pie. Yum.
Fare thee well!