A modified version of Cafe Azul's Pastry Dough makes a terrific pie crust. This recipe will yield enough dough for two 9-inch double crusts or four single crusts. Yes, it is a lot of dough so make a few pies or freeze the extra. Use four sticks of butter as the original recipe states for an insanely rich - think puff pastry - pie crust. Or knock the butter down like I did to two and half or three sticks (this is my only change to the crust recipe). Divide the dough into four mounds and wrap them individually before putting them into the refrigerator. Let it rest for at least 1+1/2 hours. Be prepared to be amazed with how easy it is to roll out beautiful pie crust that is flaky, tender and buttery. Click below for the dough recipe:
Now let's turn to the main part of the apple pie recipe (i.e. filling, baking times, etc.). I followed Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe from the Joyofbaking.com except that I substituted her pate brisee (short crust pastry) for a modified version of Cafe Azul's Pastry Dough. Click below for the apple pie recipe:
To briefly sum it up (click on above link for the entire recipe), Rose's way is to first, let the seasoned apple slices sit in their juices. Next, drain them and keep the juice, cooking it down with butter. Finally, mix it all in with the slices and pour the filling into the pie shell. After you top it with the other half of the crust, crimp the edges. *Here's a variation I made to the recipe: brush the top crust with a lightly beaten egg (egg wash) and give it a sprinkling of raw sugar (e.g. Washed Raw, Turbinado or Demerara). Place the pie in the refrigerator for about twenty minutes before baking it in the pre-heated oven (425°F) for 45-55 minutes - baking time will depend upon your oven's temperature and any hot spots. Good tip from Rose: bake the pie using a pizza or bread stone on the bottom rack of the oven. Place a baking pan/sheet between the pie and the stone to guard against filling overflow. The stone ensures that the bottom crust is baked through – crispy and golden! *If you are using a glass or ceramic pie pan, and you are worried about it cracking or breaking after placing it on the hot stone, make sure the baking pan/sheet is at room temperature before placing it underneath the pie pan, or you can just forego chilling the pie altogether. Keep a foil ring handy in case the pie edges brown too quickly.
As for apple varieties, I used a mixture of Fuji and Granny Smith apples. The filling was a tad runnier than I cared for (even after the pie rested) but made up for it with lots of nice concentrated apple and caramel flavors. Next time around I will use a greater assortment of apples in the pie. I will try cooking the apple slices and then cooling the mixture before adding it to the pie shell.
Here's to a bountiful autumn harvest and more apple pies on the table!
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