Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PIEEEEEEEE


Today.

It's been a slow day.  Loads of things on my mind, such as:  Which day will I put up my Christmas lights outside?  Do I really want the Christmas tree to go next to the couch, or would I like it better to the left of the TV?  What do I want to make for dinner tonight?  What in the world am I going to make for this shindig on Saturday??

Answers:

Wednesday.
I'll ask Cori what she thinks (for the umpteenth time).
Pumpkin Hazelnut Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (recipe to follow at a later date).
Either Cookies.  Or mini cinnamon breads. Or wait... marshmallows??!!!??

This post is about none of this.  I'm just workin' things out with you so I can help make these decisions and get you on my wave length.  What's on your wave length?  How was your Thanksgiving?  What are you doing for Christmas??  There's so much I want to know!!!

*sigh*  Breathe, Kasey.  Let's talk about pie, and breathe.





Thanksgiving was last week, and I'll just cut to the chase:  I was stoked to make pie.  I know... your mom/grandma makes the best pie ever.  I'm not here to dispute that.  But now that I've found my favorite pie, I'll be that grandma who makes my grand daughter's favorite apple pie.  Why?  Because I'm a baller.  And because it involves salted caramel.  And bitters.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I began this quest for fame with my favorite pie dough:  Click here for the recipe.  The only thing I changed was I used King Arthur's Gluten-Free Flour mix.  You can totally use all-purpose flour, as the original recipe states.

Keeping in mind that pie dough needs to be chilled, I used frozen butter to make my crust, and wanted to share the visual:



*sniff* It's just so... beautiful.  *sniff sniff*



Thinly sliced apples were then mixed with lemon juice (to prevent browning and give a wonderful citrus zestiness to them).  Then I tossed them with all the usual suspects:  flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and something special... Bitters!  Yes... the same bitters that go into your beverages are now in apple pie.  I was skeptical too, but it added this amazing depth of flavor.  Not quite sour, not quite earthy... you just have to take my word for it.  You want it in there.

This pie wouldn't be complete without homemade salted caramel.  I used Irish butter for this recipe and was more than tickled with the result.  Because this butter is already salted and delicious, I didn't add any extra salt to the caramel.  I only sprinkled a smidge of Portuguese Cream Salt at the very end before baking, just to give it a bit of a kick.  Throw it over the edge.  Make a huge impression.  You're pickin' up what I'm puttin' down, right??



The pie dough was rolled out and shaped, leaving half the dough for the lattice work and leaves.  I decided on a rustic pinched crust (mostly because I haven't graduated from rustic to fancy just yet).  More of the salted caramel was drizzled on top, and the edges and leaves were brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with raw sugar for crunch.  Then lightly salted and baked, until...



... IT BECAME AWESOME.

Flaky crust, meet sweet and salty apples with a kick!  Tender leaves of dough accented by some cute cranberries.  Holy YUMtastica.  It was devoured with a quickness.  This future grandma made a stone cold killer for pie.  Just look at that deliciousness...

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of grandma's recipes, loads of potatoes, and pie.  Or at least love.  I hope it was loaded with love.  But also pie.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Recipe inspired by Four and Twenty Blackbirds and Joy the Baker

1 recipe for a double crust pie dough (use your favorite, or use mine)

salted caramel:

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
6 tablespoons salted butter (I used Irish butter)
1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

apple pie filling:

5-6 large apples (I used a mix of Granny Smith, Gala, and Honey Crisp)
juice of 4-5 lemons

apple pie seasoning:
1/3 cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

assembly:

1 egg, beaten
raw sugar (for sprinkling)
1 teaspoon flake salt (I used Portuguese cream salt)


Divide your pie dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.  Once, chilled, roll out the first half between two sheets of wax paper into a 12 inch circle.  Place the first round in the pie plate, pressing gently into the corners and letting the edge hang over.   Roll out the second half, and cut into long, even strips.  Place the strips and the prepared pie plate back into the fridge until ready to fill.

Meanwhile, make the caramel.  Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in the pan as it begins to heat up.  Whisk the sugar occasionally as it starts to heat.  This ensures even cooking.

Cook your sugar until it turns a nice dark copper color.  Sugar can easily go from light to dark copper in a matter of seconds, so make sure to remove the pot from the heat the moment it starts to turn the color you want.  The pan will still be hot enough to cook the sugar.

Reduce the heat and place the pot back on burner.  Immediately add the butter, all at once, and whisk into the copper-colored sugar.  Once it has melted, pour in the cream - it will bubble and froth, but just keep whisking.  Once the bubbling has subsided, all the vanilla.  Stir.  The caramel will seem thin - it will thicken as it cools.

Pour into a glass container and refrigerate until ready to use.

While the caramel cools, peel and core the apples.  Using a mandoline, thinly slice the apples and toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning and add flavor.  After a few minutes, drain in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix together the pie seasonings, including the bitters.  Toss with the drained apple slices to coat evenly.  Remove the chilled and prepared pie plate from the fridge.   Layer 1/3 of the apple slices into the bottom of the pan, taking care to fill in any holes with more apple slices.  Drizzle 1/3 of the cooled caramel over the apples.  Repeat a second time.  Add the third layer of apple slices.  Remove the dough strips from the refrigerator and create a lattice pattern on the top of the apples.  Trim off any excess and pinch the edges of the crust all the way around.

Top the lattice work with the last third of the caramel.  Brush the edges and any exposed lattice work with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle with the raw sugar, and then the salt.


Place the pie on a rimmed cookie sheet to catch any bubbling caramel (which is inevitable).  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes more, or until golden, bubbly, and the apples are fork-tender.  Remove and let cool on a wire rack.  Slice and serve!

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