Sunday, 27 September 2015

Marvelous Double Apple Pie

It's Autumn - officially, finally, autumn.  You wouldn't know it from the temperatures we have, ahem, enjoyed, lately but you can definitely tell from the cool nights, deep golden hue of the sunshine and the changing leaves.  It's baking season!!  I have been off to a roaring start - pumpkin muffins and loaves, banana bread, and this apple pie.

This is probably the best apple pie I have ever made.  The two of us gobbled up half of the pie on Saturday night, which may be normal for my husband, but two slices of pie in one sitting is definitely pas de normale for me.  It was just that good.  I followed the pastry recipe exactly - and it worked out.  Pastry is not my strong suit, and I have never had much luck with butter crusts, but I thought I would give this a try - eggs and milk and all, and it was marvelous....!

The other marvelous thing about this pie is the double apple part - it is a mixture of firm and tart apples and soft and sweet apples, sweetened simply with brown sugar and flavoured with just a hint of cinnamon.

Pâte brisée
From Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

1 ¾ cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold milk

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt for 10 to 15 seconds , or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top. Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 ½ minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and lumps of butter the size of pecans are visible throughout.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough just barely comes together. It will look shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.

Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface, the gather it together into a tight mound, smearing the butter chunks into the dough as you go.

Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust or lattice-top pie

Double Apple Pie
adapted slightly from Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

2 large or 4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 medium Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tbsp sanding sugar

Roll out 2/3 of the chilled dough to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pie pan, leaving a small lip at the edge of the pan. Place the pie shell in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon, toss until the apples are coated evenly. Let this sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes so that the apples get all juicy and saucy.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out the remaning 1/3 of dough and using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 8 strips, with 4 a bit longer than the other 4. Remove the chilled pie crust from the fridge and pour the apples in, pressing down slightly to fill in the gaps. Lay 4 strips over the top, leaving an inch or so in between, starting with the two longer strips down the middle, and the two shorter strips closer to the edges. Lay the remaining 4 strips over top, making a criss-cross pattern, No need to weave in and out, unless you want to get all complicated : )

Sprinkle the lattice top with the sanding sugar. If you want to be fancy, you can brush the lattice with egg first.

Bake pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking until tops and edges are a nice golden brown and the apples are all bubbly, about 40-45 minutes.

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