Sunday, November 16, 2008

Triple G Apple

Now THAT'S an apple pie! So simple, and so perfect. Tart, crispy, flaky, delicious.

I have such vivid childhood memories of The Pie Queen making apple pie. I used to love to watch her peel the apples. I was impressed and amazed when she was able to peel the apple in one piece. The peel was a special treat for those of us watching. (Why was apple peel a treat? I have no idea, but it was.)

The smell of the tart apples and the cinnamon...smells like home. I remember so clearly what the pie looked like before the top crust went on. It looked an awful lot like this:

Pie Rating--Triple G Apple--KEEP AND SHARE

Notes to self for future Triple G ventures:
  • Try different liquids. Maybe 1 T lemon juice and 1 T Grand Marnier?
  • Make homemade vanilla ice cream as accompaniment instead of whipped cream.
  • Thin out the edges a little more when you do double crusts in general.

So...Thanksgiving is just around the corner...and I'm in a giving mood. I'm going to post my crust recipe (in it's form after my prodding and experimenting) as well as the recipe for Triple G Apple Pie.

Spiker's Pie Pastry (makes 2 1-crust, or 1 2-crust pie--9")
*click here for printable version*

3-3/4 c. flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt*
1-1/2 c. fats**

Mix together with pastry cutter, fork, or fingers until crumbly.

Whisk together:

1/2 c. cold water
1 egg white

Pour gradually into crust, mixing as you go. Use only enough to make dough stick together.

On floured surface, roll the crust out to about 1/8 in. thick and transfer to pie pan.

If you need to prebake the crust, poke holes in bottom and sides with a fork, line with foil, and pour in pie weights, making sure they cover bottom all the way to the sides. Bake at 425 for 15 min., then remove foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes (or until crust has color you prefer). Note: some sources recommend refrigerating the dough in the pan for 20-30 minutes before baking in order to prevent shrinking. I have yet to determine the effectiveness of this.

If making a top crust, cut venting holes (decorative, if you like) before transferring over the filling. Use egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 T heavy cream whisked together) along edge of bottom crust to help top crust to stick to bottom. For a particularly shiny golden crust, use this same egg wash all over top crust and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

* Re: salt--if you are using this crust for a savory pie or a pie that has any salty ingredients (i.e., using gruyere in the crust), don't use any additional salt.

**Re: fats--for a particularly flaky crust (and if you're not vegetarian), use lard for 1/4 c. of your fats. The other 1-1/4 c. of fats can be a combination of salted and unsalted butter. For fruit pies that have no salty ingredients, I use 1 c. salted butter and 1/4 c. unsalted. For savory pies, I use 3/4 c. unsalted butter and 1/2 c. salted. The fats should be somewhere between refrigerator temperature and room temperature. Straight out of the refrigerator and I find it's too difficult to cut them in completely. Too warm and the dough comes together too quickly, but will never get past crumbly. A lot of pastry recipes specify using cold fats and chilling the dough before rolling it out. I find this to be counter-productive to maintaining the flexibility of the dough.

Triple G Apple Pie *click here for printable version*

~4 pounds peeled Granny Smith apples (8 or 9 large apples)
2 T water (or lemon juice for extra tartness)
1/4 c. white sugar
1 T cold butter
9" unbaked pie shell and top crust

Slice apples unevenly (some thin, some thick, will result in filling that is not too mushy and has some bite and texture) directly into unbaked pie crust. Let the apples mound up well over the top of pie pan.

Sprinkle liquid, then sugar over apples.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cut butter into 8 equal pats and scatter over filling.

Top with vented crust and cook at 350 degrees for 55 min. or until top is golden brown.

Whipped cream topping:

2 c. heavy cream
2 T powdered sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Whip until soft peaks.

Enjoy! And please let me know how these recipes work out for you.

Next up: I think now that I have this basic crust recipe figured out, I'll tweak it by adding ground almonds. And a French Silk filling. Still pondering that one.


Summer said...

The kids always eat the apple peels still. They gather round the bowl of "leftovers" and eat till their little hearts are content. They are happy thinking they are getting away with eating such a treat in the afternoon. I am happy knowing they are getting good vitamins from it. Win-win!

Bill said...

I finally had the chance to try your Spiker's Pie Pastry crust a few days ago. So here's my experience and maybe you can help me with a little feedback...

I took your advice and used room temperature fats. We forgot to pick up lard at the store and, being snowed in, we didn't want to make another trip back. So I substituted shortening. The thing I noticed with the room temp fats is that the dough seemed to come together before I even added the water/egg. I'm not sure if this is what was supposed to happen. I tried to use the pastry cutter to cut in the fats, but it became too thick and hard to use...I ended up just using two knives to finish the job.

So when it came time to add the water/egg the dough was already, ummm...doughy but wouldn't hold together. Adding the water/egg allowed it to hold together but was really very sticky. Even adding only half the water...very sticky. I had to add about another 1/4 cup flour to make it so I could handle it.

Since it was still pretty sticky it required a lot of flour to roll out. Not sure if this is your experience with it or if I did something wrong. But it did roll easy and transferred to the pie easily.

We made 6 pies and I only botched one batch. I tried adding less water to see if I could make it less sticky and it only fell apart when I transferred it. When I add most of the water and just let it get sticky, then add more flour to compensate it seemed to be fine.

The taste and texture are wonderful! We made the Triple G Apple pie and a Northwest Berry pie (marionberries, raspberries, blueberries). The crust baked up beautifully with no doughy center. Golden delicious top (we didn't bother with an eggwash). Light and flaky but firm enough to serve. I wants more! And I still want to try it with lard.

BTW, Tripple G Apple Pie...Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm good!

Four of the pies went to the hospital to be a part of a Christmas Eve dinner provided for families with sick babies. We kept 2 of the more floppish pies.

Even with the minor issues I had making the dough, it's a huge improvement over our usual pre-made store bought crusts *shudder*. I intend to use only this recipe from now on. I just have to work out the kinks. Any tips or tweaks you have are welcome.

April Fossen said...

Hm. Maybe the fats were just too warm. I usually leave them out of the fridge overnight and make the crust fairly early in the day. So they're not really warm, just sort of a little cool-ish. That's the only thing I can think of. I haven't been having to use a lot of flour when rolling out, although I do have to use some. Are you sure you used the right portions of everything? When I've screwed up my measurements, I've had the dough "come together" like that before adding liquids.

April Fossen said...

Although, now I realize it could also have something to do with the humidity where you live compared to where I live. You may want to start the dough with that extra 1/4 cup of flour.

Bill said...

Thanks for the tips. I may also try using cold temp fats and running it through the food processor instead of doing by hand. (I came to this idea after watching Alton Brown doing the same thing in one of his pie shows.)