Monday, September 7, 2015
Luscious Apple Pie
I was hanging out with a friend on Sunday afternoon, and I told her I had to get home to bake a pie. She, knowing I usually bake something on the weekend, asked if it was for my blog, and, if so, what was there about the recipe that made it special enough to be in this cookbook. What made it something other than a plain old apple pie.
How to explain a Rose recipe to a non-baker? I didn't even go into the crust--how it had been fine-tuned so that it was the best of all pie crust recipes, including all the crust recipes in The Pie and Pastry Bible. I didn't explain about freezing the dry ingredients and the butter cubes. I didn't explain about kneading in the plastic bag or the refrigerating for so many hours before rolling it out, or the cake pan trick. So I just explained that it was extra flavorful and saucy because it used cider and reduced, almost caramelized apple juices. She looked doubtful. But I knew, although I couldn't really explain why, that this pie would be the best of all possible apple pies. It would be, at least, the best possible pie that I am capable of turning out.
As it turned out, this was true. It was the best and most beautiful apple pie that I've ever made. And I'm not going to utter one word of complaint about making the pie crust because it didn't stick, tear, shrink, fall apart, or any of the other ills that pie crust is heir to. Thanks in no small part to my new Rose pie kit, AKA Rose's Magic Rolling Pin and Pie Mat. Now I just plunk down the disc of pie crust dough in the center of the mat, and roll it out from the center until it's just past the 12-inch mark. Then I cut off the excess until I have a perfect 12-inch circle.
It behaves so beautifully that I don't even have to use the cake pan trick, but don't tell Rose.
This is a Zestar apple (or Zestar!, as they insist on calling it). It's another University of Minnesota/Minnesota Landscape Arboretum apples, like Haralson and Honeycrisp, that have been so successful, and have brought more money to the University of Minnesota than all the sports teams combined. (I just made that part up). Anyway, despite the dumb exclamation mark, it's a good early apple. Juicy and crisp, as you can see.
2 pounds of apples is a lot of apples. It takes me a long time to cut, core, peel, and slice them. Maybe the melon baller method would take less time, but it would have taken me more since I don't have a melon baller and so I would have had to go find someplace that sells melon ballers and by this time it was 7:00 on Sunday evening.
The top crust went on as easily as the bottom crust. After I covered the fruit with the top crust, I could see that the apples were a bit lumpy, but that's as close as I'm going to come to complaining that the pie wasn't perfect.
Carefully cutting five slits for steam to escape and dusting the crust with a bit of sugar. I wish I'd thought about using my French lame knife that I use for making slits in bread. But a sharp paring knife worked fine.
Just out of the oven. It looks a little darker in the picture than it actually was. There was nothing that came close to being a piece of burned pie crust. I omitted the step of refrigerating the pie for at least an hour because it was already getting close to my bed time. Even without that step, the crust was flaky and it didn't shrink.
Because I wanted to taste the pie before I went to bed, I didn't let it cool for at least 4 hours. More like 2 hours. And that's probably why there's so much juice. But if you were very careful, and got a bite that contained crust, filling, ice cream and juice, it made for one glorious bite of luscious apple pie.