Thursday, February 12, 2009

Apple Pie with Tart Cherries and an Apple Cider Crust.

For Thanksgiving we decided to take a pie baking class at Whole Foods. What fun it is to make a pie from scratch and have it taste great. This particular recipe was created by our instructor, Chef Allison Heaton, for a pie contest. She won a $25,000 prize to the culinary school in New York! I have to say it is one of the best apple pies I have ever had. I think the Makers Mark makes a big flavor difference.

Apple Pie with Tart Cherries and an Apple Cider Crust

by Chef Allison Heaton

Yields 8 servings
You Will Need:
For the Filling -
  • 4 Granny Smith or Fuji apples
  • 4 Braeburn Apples
  • 1T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2T all-purpose baking flour
  • 2T cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Makers Mark (apple cider can be used in place of)
  • 6oz dried tart cherries unsweetened (optional)

For the Dough -

  • 3/4 cup apple cider, chilled
  • 3/4tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole grain pastry flour
  • 1T sugar
  • 1T ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup lard or shortening, chilled
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled

For Pie Assembly -

  • 1T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 egg white, mixed with 1T water
  • 2T coarse sugar

Pastry Dough - Place a medium bowl into the freezer to chill. In another bowl, stir salt into the apple cider until dissolved. Chill.

In the chilled empty mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar and cinnamon. Using your hands, break up lard and butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. **This must be done quickly so that the shortening and butter do not warm too much from your hands. ** Stir in the apple cider mixture until combined. **Be careful not to overwork the dough.** Divide the dough in half. From one half remove another portion to be made into decoration. Flatten all three portions into 1-inch thick disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Filling - Peel, core, quarter and slice apples into 1/4 inch thick pieces. In a saute pan, combine apples, lemon juice, sugars, spices and salt. Cook over medium heat until the apples have released their juices and are slightly softened.

In a small bowl, whisk flour and cornstarch into bourbon (Makers Mark), creating a slurry. Raise the heat on the apples to bring the mixture to a boil. While stirring, slowly pour in the Bourbon slurry. Continue to stir until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Stir in dried cherries.

Assembly - Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out the first piece of dough on a lightly floured surface until 13-inches wide. Transfer to a 9-inch diameter pie dish. Spoon filling into bottom crust, mounding in the middle. Dot with pieces of butter. Roll out the second piece of dough on a lightly floured surface until 11-inches wide. Transfer to pie by rolling the dough onto a rolling pin, position pin on top of pie, and unroll dough over the top. Trim the edges of both crusts to 3/4 inch overhang. Fold under dough and crimp decoratively. Roll out the third, smaller, piece of dough. Cut out shapes using a knife or cookie cutter dipped in flour. Brush the bottom of each shape egg white mixture and place on pie. Make four slits in the crust to allow steam to escape.

Brush entire pie surface with egg white mixture and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Chill finished pie in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Place pie in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake until the apples are tender and the juices are thick, approximately 50-55 minutes. Transfer pie to a rack and let cool for 1 hour. Enjoy!

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