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Apple Pies -- Bake-Off VIII

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28 replies to this topic

#1 Kerry Beal

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 05:51 AM

Given that it's apple season I've had a suggestion to start an Apple pie bake off. The suggestion was actually for Tarte Tatin, which is one of my personal favorites and a dessert I've been thinking it's time to dust off the pan to make soon.

So in this bake off I think we should include anything apple that morphologically resembles pie - so that would include pies, tarts, and I think that strudels might fit nicely given they have apples and pastry.

Let's talk about what apples you prefer for your pies, and what is it about that apple that works with each recipe. Pastry tips are welcomed and discussion on what pastry works with apples vs the pastry you prefer for other pies.

I've got a brand spanking new copy of Mes Tartes up on the shelf in front of me that I haven't cracked open yet, perhaps I'd better get looking and see what's apple in there.

So drag out your nice shiny Mac's, your Pippens, your Spys, those scabby windfalls and let's get baking!!!

#2 gfron1

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 06:42 AM

Good timing Kerry. I've been playing with an idea for a while now that involves pastry layers in between apples (haven't figured out how to keep them crisp, or at least non-soggy, yet). Unfortunately I'll be stuck with whatever my big box market has for apples.

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#3 etalanian

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 04:20 PM

gfron1, are you thinking about something along the lines of a napoleon? Or will it be something that is baked in layers, rather than being constructed of pre-cooked and pre-baked layers?

Will you be using puff pastry, or filo, or what?

If you are using filo, you can help to keep it crisp with that favorite old technique of sprinkling sugar (or cinnamon-sugar) between the layers of pastry. And pre-cooking the sliced apples on the stovetop would release a lot of the moisture before constructing the layered pastry and baking it.

Assembly just before serving helps, also, if you are making a napoleon type of dessert.

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#4 CKatCook

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 05:52 PM

Oh man, I knew I should have checked here before all the baking I did today....while eating apples.....

Oh well....

I can't find Northern Spy apples anywhere around here and I hear they make the best pies. I usually do braeburns (or however you spell them) I tried an all granny smith last week that didn't turn out too good in the filling. I cannot seem to get the spice right.
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#5 Della

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 06:16 PM

I love apple pie, tart, cobbler and crisp..but have never made it myself.
What are the best apples to use for baking? I'd like to try this bake off!

#6 eskay

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 08:07 PM

I'll step up. Thanksgiving here this weekend and that means apple (and pumpkin, but that's another bakeoff :raz: ) pie. Apologies for the webcam pictures, I'm at my parents' house for the weekend and thus cameraless.

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What's left of what I'm told was a half bushel (but it seemed more than that... :blink: ) bag of cortland apples after...I think 5 apple pies were baked yesterday. Mine today makes 6. I also added a couple McIntosh apples for flavour, but they don't stand up to baking the way I'd prefer. :sad:

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One thing I love about pies is you can play pretty fast and loose with the filling. I didn't measure anything, which was refreshing after messing around with the pastry. I like mine heavy on the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and light on on the (brown) sugar. Some flour too, because there was a lot of juice.

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I used the Cook's Illustrated liquored-up pie crust recipe for my crust. Can't reccommend it enough. Easy to work with and it makes the best pie crust I've ever baked (which, mind you, isn't saying a lot :raz: but it is good.) And I can attest to the fact that it turns out just as well if you mix it by hand.

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I swirled some egg white in the bottom of the crust to try and seal it against the apples, I have no idea if that makes much of a difference but I was brushing the top with egg white anyway so why not.

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The finished pie. Sorry, no inside shots as I brought it to my grandparents' house, but rest assured it was very very good. :wub: :smile:
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#7 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 08:57 PM

Oh man, I knew I should have checked here before all the baking I did today....while eating apples.....

Oh well....

I can't find Northern Spy apples anywhere around here and I hear they make the best pies. I usually do braeburns (or however you spell them) I tried an all granny smith last week that didn't turn out too good in the filling. I cannot seem to get the spice right.

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Next time try your favourite apple and add just two granny smiths to the mix rather than all one type.
With regards to the spice, I finally stopped adding any at all and our family likes it much better. I add some lemon juice to brighten the flavour and of course some sugar and thickener but no spice.
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#8 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 09:01 PM

I used the Cook's Illustrated liquored-up pie crust  recipe for my crust.  Can't reccommend it enough.  Easy to work with and it makes the best pie crust I've ever baked (which, mind you, isn't saying a lot :raz:  but it is good.)  And I can attest to the fact that it turns out just as well if you mix it by hand.

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Have you tried Cook's Illustrated's regular pie crust in Baking Illustrated? If you have, how do they compare?
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#9 gfron1

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 09:03 PM

gfron1, are you thinking about something along the lines of a napoleon? Or will it be something that is baked in layers, rather than being constructed of pre-cooked and pre-baked layers?

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I'm not quite sure, but I was thinking of a whole bunch of layers apple, dough, apple, dough... I don't want to construct it in the end - I want it baked in final format.

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#10 Cadbury

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:53 PM

A thread on apple pies isn't complete without mention of Chufi's Apple Pie :wub: which I made again this weekend. It was made and consumed before I saw this bake-off, but since I wasn't happy with the results for once, I'll just have to make another. This time I might use Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples.

#11 CKatCook

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 04:17 PM

I saw that picture of Chufi's apple pie and and it is beautiful!

I think I will try that mix of braeburns and granny smith, mostly braeburns.

I have been wondering, has anyone tried a making their pie crust with lard?? I never heard of vodka...I just may have to try that...
"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"
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"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

#12 prasantrin

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 05:33 PM

I have been wondering, has anyone tried a making their pie crust with lard?? I never heard of vodka...I just may have to try that...

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Check out this topic and this one on pie crusts. Somewhere amongst all those replies you will find comments on using 100% lard. I think Wendy DeBord might have done a test making three pies--one with butter, one with shortening, and one with lard. I might be mistaken about the fats, though.

#13 eskay

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 06:37 PM

Have you tried Cook's Illustrated's regular pie crust in Baking Illustrated? If you have, how do they compare?

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Sorry to say I haven't, but next time I'm making pastry I will...that may not be for a while though, I'm sort of pied-out :raz:
Kate

#14 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 06:52 PM

I usually use lard and butter. Somehow I prefer lard in the pastry rather than shortening. I'm pretty sure ChefPeon uses lard so hopefully she'll chime in.
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#15 Patrick A.

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 07:07 PM

Ok, i am going to take a go at this. gfron asked me to figure away to make he's idea of the apple and fillo dough concoction. I came up with an idea and am going to try it out. I plan to do what he says but iam not using fillo but rather a regular pie crust with a filling i am going to make. I plan to have a dry filling and as the apple cooks..its moisture will make a kind of syrup sealed in the pie crust. I am thinking and planning as i go with this idea. I have some experience in this, but i am no expert. I will try it out later this week. I have all the supplies already. hopefully all goes well. :cool:

#16 etalanian

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 07:53 PM

gfron1, are you thinking about something along the lines of a napoleon? Or will it be something that is baked in layers, rather than being constructed of pre-cooked and pre-baked layers?

View Post

I'm not quite sure, but I was thinking of a whole bunch of layers apple, dough, apple, dough... I don't want to construct it in the end - I want it baked in final format.

View Post


If your intent is to bake it in the final form, I would recommend the filo layered with sugar (or cinnamon-sugar or sugar/cinn-sugar with finely chopped nuts) between sheets. It helps to keep the layers from getting soggy, and if you pre-cook the apples to reduce the moisture, you should have some success.

I'm curious to know what you decide to do, so please report back!

And ABRA - WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SUBJECT WITH ALL OF THOSE DELICIOUS LOCAL SOUTHERN FRENC E APPLES COMING INTO MARKET RIGHT NOW?

Eileen
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#17 shaloop

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 05:44 PM

My friend makes a wonderful apple cobbler based on her grandmother's recipe. She said it uses a hot water crust and there's a layer of dough on the bottom, in the middle and on top. The bottom and middle crust are not crisp, but not soggy either. I believe they are layerd with the raw apple filling. I haven't managed to wrangle the recipe out of her yet, despite my multitude of hints.

Edited by shaloop, 09 October 2007 - 05:45 PM.


#18 Fernwood

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 02:19 PM

I made my first pie of the season after we went apple-picking Sunday. I like to keep a stack of dough disks in the freezer (RL Beranbaum's all butter crust) and thank goodness I had (just) two left. I used a mix of Stayman-Winesap and Cortland apples and I don't think it could have been tastier. Prettier definitely, but the flavor was fantastic. The Staymans are dense-fleshed and don't soften as fast as some so I think I will do the two-stage baking a la Joy of Cooking for the next one so the crust doesn't brown so fast. I like the apples to be very tender.
I'll try for a photo next time. Fern

#19 cakewalk

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 05:49 PM

Does anyone have an apple pie recipe that does not use sugar? (No sweeteners, either.) The pie of course would be kind of tart, but I like them that way. Thanks.

#20 Cadbury

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 06:09 AM

I made a Dutch Apple Pie for my Dad's birthday. We're now enjoying the leftovers :biggrin: .
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#21 CKatCook

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 10:00 AM

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I hope this post makes it!!! I have been trying to post a picture here for a solid hour! :blink:

Sorry the picture is so dark, I am still fighting with my camera and lighting...

I used butter in the crust, and only a little sugar and cinnamon in the filling...

I smells soooooo good....


edit to add: Yeah!!! I did it!!! I got a picture to post!!!!

Edited by CKatCook, 14 October 2007 - 10:00 AM.

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"
-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

#22 Sebastian

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 10:24 AM

Made my first apple pie ever yesterday - i honey roasted some pecans and incorporated them in along with the apples (cortland and golden delicious) and brushed the crust with a honey/sugar mixture, then sprinkled some small hazelnut pieces that i'd glazed in sugar over the top. Very good!

#23 gfron1

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 12:34 PM

Does this count as apple pie?

First I took a small apple, peeled it, cored it, sliced it horizontally.
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Then I covered each layer with a round of fillo dough, brushed with butter and sprinkled with palm sugar and toasted pecans. The apple was reassembled into its original shape and wrapped in two layers of fillow that were again brushed with butter. Loose ends were tucked into the core opening at the top and a cinnamon stick shoved in for flavor and holding.
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Baked at 350 for a while and just before finished brushed with a mixture of egg white and corn syrup.
I didn't have any expectations so I was pleased
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And here's the guts shot
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Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#24 Kerry Beal

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 01:35 PM

I'd call it pie. It's got apples - it's got dough - ergo - pie!

#25 Anna N

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 01:49 PM

Does this count as apple pie?

. . .

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Whatever it is called I know I would enjoy it much more than an apple pie. :smile:
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#26 Marlene

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 02:58 PM

Anna, I bet your grandchild would love it too. What a great idea, particularly with Halloween around the corner.
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#27 Pam R

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 02:32 PM

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Rob - first of all it's gorgeous. I can't tell from the picture -- did the apples get nice and soft? And did the cinnamon stick flavour the whole thing? No extra sprinkling?

#28 gfron1

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 03:05 PM

Thanks. The apples got soft but not mushy. I think they baked around 35 minutes, but I was more concerned with the external color than watching the time. The cinnamon infused, which was nice instead of having an overly strong cinnamon flavor.

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#29 alma

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 09:55 AM

gfron:
I fell in love with your idea. I had never thought on doing something like that. And the cinnamon stick looks sooo cute. You can bet I'm going to prepare some of your creative whole apple apple pie .
Thanks for sharing!

Edited by alma, 03 November 2007 - 09:58 AM.






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