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By Nn, M.D.
I'm very excited to share with you all a recipe that I developed for a double crust apple pie. I had been inspired a few weeks ago to come up with a series of 3-ingredient recipes that would focus on technique and flavor but still be simple enough for the unseasoned chef. I decided to make an apple pie as a challenge to myself--never having made one before--and as a way to show those who might find pastry intimidating how easy and adaptable it can be.
Basic Shortcrust Pastry
- 300g flour
- 227g salted butter, cold
- 2 lemons, zested with juice reserved
1. Cut butter into small chunks. Beat butter, zest of the 2 lemons, and flour together with an electric mixer OR combine with pastry blender OR rub together with fingers OR blitz in a food processor until it resembles sand.
2. Add just enough water to bring the mix together into a dough (about 20g for me). You'll know your pastry is ready when you can press it together and it stays in one piece.
3. Divide dough in two and wrap tightly with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
4. When ready to use, roll out each portion to 13 inches in diameter. (I do this between two sheets of parchment paper. Don't worry too much if the parchment sticks to the pastry. I periodically placed mine in the freezer to help keep everything cold, and the butter will separate from the parchment when frozen.)
5. Take 1 portion of rolled dough and place it in a 9-inch tart tin with a removable bottom. Gently press into the sides to ensure even coverage. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Freeze the other portion of dough in-between the parchment pieces.
Apple Filling (and Assembly)
- 1 kg apples (I used about 7 apples for this recipe.)
- 220g dark brown sugar, divided
- 1 egg, separated
Making the apple butter:
1. Cut and core 500g of your apples, but do not peel. Add cut apples, juice of the one lemon, about 100g or so of water, and 170g of sugar to a large saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let the apples cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
3. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
4. Return puree to saucepan and simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, for an hour. Color should deepen and the mixture should thicken slightly, but do not allow it to scorch.
5. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.
1. Peel, quarter, and core the remaining 500g of apples. Slice on a mandolin to about 1/8th inch thickness. Place sliced apples in a large bowl of cold water while slicing remaining apples.
2. Once apples are sliced, drain water and add the juice from the remaining lemon, as well as the remaining 50g of sugar, over the apples. Stir to coat.
1. Remove pie base from the freezer. Dock with a fork and brush on egg white. Place back in the freezer and allow to set for for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Pour the entire recipe of apple butter into the pie base and even out with an offset spatula.
3. Arrange apple slices over the apple butter.
4. Remove remaining pie dough from the freezer and cut designs in while still cold. Transfer to the surface of the pie and seal overhanging edges. Trim excess dough.
5. Brush top pastry with egg yolk (beaten with any remaining egg white) and bake in a 365˚F oven for 60-70 minutes. Crust should be shiny and golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.
The reason for using salted butter is I think the flavor incorporates a little better into the mix than if I were to use unsalted butter and added salt. That being said, you could do that instead, though your recipe would then have 7 ingredients The addition of apple butter here takes the place of the normal apple pie filling, which is usually thickened with cornstarch and is typically quite sweet. By using the apple butter, I push the flavor of apple forward beyond what you would find in a typically apple pie. Also, the apple butter acts as a glue of sorts so that my slices are always clean, so no need to resort to adding thickeners or extra sweeteners. I'm always looking for a way around blind baking, and using an egg white seal has worked out very well for me. The egg white creates a water-tight layer between the crust and the filling, so no matter how wet my filling is, the crust will always bake crispy and won't get soggy for as long as the pie is around. Feel free to change this up as you see fit. Obviously you can spices to this (I recommend cinnamon, clove, and cardamom) but the beauty of this pie is that it's really not necessary. Although at first blush it may seem one-noted, the harmony between the flaky, almost savory crust and the bright and refreshing filling is one that doesn't need any help, in my honest opinion.
So there you have it! My 6-ingredient apple pie, sure to become a go-to for me, and hopefully for you as well!
Posted 6 hours ago Dear EGulleters,
ResearchBunny here. I've just found you today. I've been lolling in bed with a bad cold, lost voice, wads of tissues, pillows, bedding around me. I spent all of yesterday binge-watching Season 2 of Zumbo's Just Desserts on Netflix from beginning to grand finale. I have been a hardcore devotee of Rose Levy Beranbaum since the beginning of my baking passion -- after learning that she wrote her master's thesis comparing the textural differences in cake crumb when using bleached versus unbleached flour. I sit up and pay attention to that level of serious and precision! While Beranbaum did study for a short while at a French pastry school, she hasn't taken on the challenge of writing recipes for entremets style cakes. That is, multi-layer desserts with cake, mousse, gelatin, nougatine or dacquoise layers all embedded in one form embellished with ice cream, granita, chocolate, coulis. After watching hours of the Zumbo contest, I became curious about the experience of designing these cakes. Some of the offered desserts struck me as far too busy, others were delightful combinations. I was surprised that a few contestants were eliminated when their offerings were considered too simple or, too sophisticated. So I'd like to hear from you about your suggestions for learning more about how to make entremets. And also, what you think about the show. And/or Zumbo.
ps. The show sparked a fantasy entremet for my cold. Consider a fluffy matzo ball exterior, with interior layers of carrot, celery, a chicken mince, and a gelatin of dilled chicken broth at its heart!
After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online. After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them. Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes. My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get. I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are. I was hoping somebody had some insight. I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
This one appears to be older.
And this one appears to be the newer of the two.
Any insight would be helpful.
Anyone have a favorite recipe for chocolate cake using semisweet chocolate? My usual chocolate cake recipe uses cocoa, but I have some samples of chocolate I want to use up for a workplace party. Yes, I could make brownies or ganache frosting, or chocolate mousse or chocolate chunk cookies, just feeling like cake this weekend ...
Has anyone used Valrhona Absolut Crystal neutral glaze particularly to thicken a coulis or to glaze a tart? If so, how did you like it and is there another glaze you think worked as well but is less expensive or can be purchased in smaller quantities?
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