Hello friends, and happy 2016!
For my very first post, pie apples: apple pies with the apple part on the outside (so if you think about it, they’re literally apple pies backwards if you ignore the whole lattice crust on the top bit).
I’d been eyeing these on Pinterest for a couple of weeks before trying out a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction in October, and they were phenomenal. While it’s not really apple pie season anymore, I figured I’d start out with a second go at a fantastic recipe this past weekend. Besides, apple pie season is really less of a season and more of a state of mind, and January is an excellent time to be in the apple pie state of mind. Especially when ice cream is involved. It’s always an excellent time for ice cream. Yum!
Delicious frozen digressions aside, here’s my take on the adorably delicious pie apples floating around the internet. Hope you enjoy my tweaks and tips, and be sure to try it out for yourself!
Pie Apples (a la Mode)
Modified from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes 4 pie apples
160 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbs butter, chilled and sliced into thin pats
2 tbs vodka
2 tbs ice water, as needed
5 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping tsp cinnamon (so…more like 1 1/2 tsp?)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbs water
1 egg yolk
Vanilla ice cream (caramel would also be wonderful!)
- Place the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse lightly to mix.
- Add in the cold butter and pulse just until the flour is fully incorporated and the mixture resembles very coarse corn meal with a few larger clumps.
Tip: Whenever a recipe calls for cubed or sliced chilled butter, I let the butter soften to room temperature, slice it up while it’s soft, then chill it again in a bowl to avoid trying to cut rock-hard cold butter.
- In a large bowl, add the vodka to the flour-butter mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just mixed. At this point, keep adding ice water as needed just until the dough just comes together and isn’t crumbly. I didn’t add any water, but you might need up to 1-2 tbs.
- Mold dough into a roughly rectangular shape about 1″ thick, cover in saran wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can also chill in the freezer for about 30-40 minutes. If not, this is a great time to prep your apples!
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board into a long rectangle about 7″ wide (or at least the diameter of your apples + 2″) and 1/8″ thick. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut out 1/2″ x 7″ strips along the length of your dough rectangle. You will need 6 strips per apple.
Tip: If you need more than a light layer of flour, your dough is too soft! If your dough starts getting too sticky, pop everything into the refrigerator for 15 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes. Make sure your butter doesn’t melt, or else the pie crust will be tough and dry instead of crisp and flaky!
- Pop the pie strips back into the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the pies!
- Wash and slice off the top portions of each of 4 of the apples. Try to cut roughly parallel to the bottom of the apple, and slice off just enough to create a flat surface.
Tip: While rounder apples are prettier, it’s actually much more important to pick apples that can sit stably on a flat surface. Otherwise, your pie apples will keep falling over as you move them in and out of your oven. Cutting roughly parallel also helps to keep the apples balanced by keeping the weight of the filling evenly distributed, but don’t worry if it isn’t perfect! Everything will still taste great (:
- Using a small spoon, scoop out the inside of the apples, leaving at least a 1/4″ border around the apple. Be gentle – make sure not to poke through the peel! Here are 2 of my apples after I finished scooping:
Tip: Despite my slight
psycho obsessiveperfectionism, it’s ok if the inside doesn’t turn out perfectly round. Once you put in the filling, no one will be able to tell the difference. Also, stop the middle of the apple right after you get past the star where the seeds are. Otherwise, you run the risk of scooping all the way through the bottom!
- Set aside for filling!
- Dice the 4 apple caps and the remaining washed apple into ~ 1/3″ cubes.
- In a small pot, mix the diced apples, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, then heat at medium-high until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the corn starch and water, then add to the boiling apple mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a low boil, and stir until the filling has thickened.
- Allow the filling to cool. You are now ready for assembly!
Assembly and Baking:
- Preheat your oven to 375 ºF and line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
- Scoop filling into the hollowed apples until the apples are full and very slightly mounded at the top.
- Create the lattice top (hooray for pictures!)
- Lay 2 strips in a cross shape, vertical over horizontal.
- Lay 2 more horizontal strips on top of the vertical strip, one above and one below the horizontal strip you already have.
- Gently lift up one end of the middle horizontal strip and slide a vertical strip on top of the remaining horizontal strips.
- Lower the lifted end of the horizontal strip.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Place the lattice top over the filling, trim any excess with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, and lightly press down the edges against the apple until the lattice holds in place. Repeat until all of your apples are covered with lattice tops.
- Brush the tops of the pie crust with a layer of yolk.
- Bake apples for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the filling is bubbly.
Tip: If your oven has hot spots and cool spots, rotate after at least 15 minutes of baking to make sure that the crusts crisp up properly. Also, if the tops are not as browned as you’d like after the apples are cooked, feel free to broil on low for a minute or two for a nice golden-brown pie crust.
- Top with ice cream (or whipped cream) and enjoy!
Tip: If you’re serving lots of pie apples at once (Thanksgiving, anyone?) save yourself the logistical struggle of 6, 8, 10, or more scoops of warm-enough-to-scoop-but-cold-enough-not-to-melt-by-serving-time ice cream by pre-scooping! Let your ice cream sit out at room temperature until it’s soft enough to scoop, scoop out as many scoops as you need, then gently deposit them onto a chilled plate for the freezer. Make sure to leave a bit of space between each scoop so they don’t stick together.