Ok, three factors came together last Sunday:
1. It was grey, rainy and I was bored
2. After a great workout and just a light dinner on Saturday, I woke up with a super flat stomach, feeling very healthy and fit. At what point I decided that a huge pie all for myself would make me look even better I don’t really remember…I might have confused the “one apple per day” recommendation with “one apple pie” …in any case, I do need a reason for another workout, don’t I?
3. A new cookbook I bought on Amazon arrived (check it out on http://www.smittenkitchen.com). I’ve been a fan of the blog for a long time – it essentially helped me to go from a “can’t even cook an egg and I use my oven as storage space” kind of person to a “cooking decent stuff for a beginner and not afraid to try” one. So, as I leafed through the book, I saw a picture of THE apple pie I always wanted to make – a mouth-watering deep-dish crusty pie with an all butter dough. I’ve never made an apple pie myself, but I eat it whenever I find it and have an exact idea of how it should be – like this one:
I admit I was nervous about it at first – making dough out of ice-cold butter, rolling it out, all that mess with flour on the counter etc…(see HERE for Deb Perelman’s pie dough recipe). I normally only make stuff like carrot cake where you just mix the ingredients, pour them into a form and bake them. Making own dough always seemed like too much effort. But it turns out that it’s surprisingly easy. Takes some time if you make it for the first time, but totally doable. As long as the dough is kept cold, there is not much to mess up.
Ingredients for the pie (adapted from Smitten Kitchen cookbook):
Crust: see link above
150 grams sugar (Deb just uses granulated sugar, I used half white half brown sugar. I also added vanilla sugar. Pure vanilla would be even better)
165 grams flour (or gluten-free alternative)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt (either I added too much here (maybe half a spoon instead of 1/4), but the pie turned out way too salty)
8 tablespoons salted butter, melted
12-13 medium apples
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
200 grams granulated sugar (I took brown sugar)
30 g cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt (same comment – the pie turned out too salty…here I definitely didn’t take more than half a spoon)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (take this guideline seriously. I accidentally added more (probably a whole full teaspoon or more) – kinda messed up the pie. It still tastes good, but has a very strong nutmeg flavor, which is not for everyone. I would either leave it out completely or add very little)
Additionally, you can add some grated ginger – really creates a great flavor.
Crust: Cut a 22-25cm springform pan with 7-8cm sides lightly with oil and set aside. Use the dough from the recipe above (btw, I just used my hands here since I didn’t have a pastry blender – no problem at all). It should be cooled for 2hrs before you roll it out (I cooled it for 1hr in a 0 degree zone of the fridge – worked perfectly). Roll the dough on a counter surface to a 40cm round. Before you roll it, put enough flour on the surface so that the dough doesn’t stick to it. Put some flour on the dough is well. In general, add more flour if you see that the dough starts sticking to the counter again. Once you have a rolled-out round, fold the dough gently in half and then in half again (make sure it doesn’t glue together), then lift it into the prepared springform pan. Unfold the dough, draping it into the center from the sides, lowering enough dough to fill the springform’s cavity. Press it against the sides, trim the overhang to 2-3cm, and use the rest to patch any tears. My dough tore in a couple of places and I just put an additional layer of it on the holes.
Filling: Peel, core, and dice the apples into 8 wedges, crosscut them into pieces no more than 0.5-1cm (1/4 inch) thick and put them into a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Pre-mix sugar, flour, salt, and spices and add to the apples (toss well to make sure that everything is evenly coated). Add the apple mixture to the prepared pie crust. Try to spread the apples as flat and evenly as possible in order to make sure that all of the apples fit. Bake the pie for 30 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius.
Streusel: Stir together the sugars, flour, baking powder, and spices in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir until large clumps form.
After baking the pie for 30minutes, take it out and sprinkle the streusel over the top of the pie, pressing it into the apples. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees C and bake the pie for another 60 minutes.
After that, allow the pie to sit at room temperature to cool completely and put it in the fridge over night. I made a huge mistake here: some friends just came over and wanted to try the just-out-of-the-oven pie straight away. So I cut it….well, obviously the pie was way to hot for eating. The biggest problem, however, was that the juices could not really “gel” yet and just started flowing out of the pie, which then sort of fell into itself. The taste was still fine once the pie cooled down, but obviously it didn’t look very presentable any more…
Overall, I think it took about 1.5hrs to prepare the pie and 1.5hrs to bake – I’m sure preparation time can be greatly reduced after some practice. Have fun!