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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Humble (apple) Pie


The Ingredients:

Pie crust
  • 310 g (or 2½ cups) of unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 5  g (or ¾ teaspoons) of salt
  • 80 ml (or ⅓ cup) of grapeseed oil (or equivalent mild tasting, high smoke-point vegetable shortening)
  • 115 g (or 4 oz) of unsalted butter
  • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of iced water
    Honeycrisp apples almost live up to their designation; they
     are not  quite honey-sweet, and that's all for the better

Filling
  • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of lemon juice
  • stevia equivalent of 150 g (or ¾ cup) of sugar
  • 1.8 kg (or 4 lb) of apples such as Honeycrisp (my current favorite)
  • 15 g (or 2 tablespoons) of ground flaxseed meal
  • 2.5 g (or 1 teaspoon) of ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 g (or ¼ teaspoon) of ground nutmeg
  • 0.5 g (or ¼ teaspoon) of ground allspice
  • 30 g (or 1 oz) of unsalted butter
  • 2 g (or ¼ teaspoon) of salt

The Method:

Pie crust
  1. Place the flour, salt, and grapeseed oil into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade.
  2. Blend briefly to distribute the oil evenly.
  3. Cut the 115 g (or 4 oz) of butter into approximately 1-cm (or ¾-inch) dice, and put them into the food processor.
  4. Pulse the food processor until the butter pieces are approximately the size of petite peas.
  5. While blending at low speed, add the water gradually just until the dough forms a ball. If necessary, add more water to form the dough ball. Stop grinding immediately.
  6. Remove the dough ball onto a lightly floured large board or countertop, knead it briefly to expel any air pockets, and roll it into a fat, short log.
  7. Cut the log into two pieces; one (for the pie top) about twice as long as the other (for the pie bottom and sides).
  8. Stand each piece on end, and press gently down to form discs of dough about 2 cm (or ¾ inch) thick.
  9. Pick up each disk and roll it along the floured surface until the edges are smooth, and slightly thickened.
  10. Cover the pastry disks individually with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes.

Filling
  1. Place the lemon juice and stevia into the bottom of a large mixing bowl and swirl or stir to mix them well.
  2. Peel the apples and cut them into slices approximately ½ cm (or ¼ inch) thick. 
  3. As you slice each apple, place the slices into the mixing bowl and toss them with a spoon to coat them with the lemon juice mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, place the flaxseed, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice,vanilla powder, and salt. (If you have it on hand, pure vanilla bean powder may be added sparingly to this mixture.)
  5. Mix the spices thoroughly, then sprinkle the mixture onto the apple slices and toss them in the bowl until all of the apple is evenly seasoned.

Pie
  1. Use a small amount of butter to grease a pie dish 25 cm (or 9 inches) in diameter and 5 cm (or 2 inches) deep.
  2. Turn on the oven and set it to 220°C (or 425°F).
  3. Reflour the board or countertop if necessary and remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  4. Roll out the larger dough disk, turning it several times to redistribute the flour and ensure that it does not get sticky. Keep doing this until the dough sheet is approximately 40 cm (or 16 inches) in diameter.
  5. Lightly and loosely roll up the dough sheet, lift it gently, and unroll it onto the buttered pie dish so that it fits snugly into the bottom of the dish and its edges hang over the rim. 

  6. Place the spiced apple filling into the pie crust, compacting the pieces so that they fit together well without much air space between slices.
  7. Dice the 28 g (or 1 oz) of butter and sprinkle the pieces across the top of the filling.
  8. Roll out the smaller dough disk, turning it several times to redistribute the flour and ensure that it does not get sticky. Keep doing this until the dough sheet is approximately 35 cm (or 14 inches) in diameter.
  9. Make decorative cuts in the center of the dough sheet, or prick it in several places with a fork to make small holes so that steam can escape during baking.
  10. Lightly and loosely roll up the dough sheet, lift it gently, and unroll it onto the buttered pie dish so that it fits perfectly over the pie dish.
  11. Using a fork or your fingers, press the edges of the pie top and the pie crust together all around the pie and, if you like, trim them neatly to the edge of the pie dish with a knife.
  12. Place the pie in the oven for 20 minutes at 220°C (or 425°F) then lower the temperature and bake it for another 40 to 50 minutes at 190°C (or 375°F). Check the pie often after 40 minutes (i.e. after 1 hour in the oven) and remove it from the oven when you can see or hear that the filling is bubbling.
  13. Cool the pie in the dish on a rack before trying to cut and serve it.

The Story:

This is the sugar-substituted version of a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, a great place to learn how to bake. I buy their flours whenever they are available out here on the island. As you can see from the second photo, above, King Arthur All-purpose Flour was not available when I baked this pie.


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