Wednesday, July 1, 2009
APPLE PIE WITH A FLAKY CREAM CHEESE PIE CRUST
Apple pies are a pain. Peeling apples, like potatoes, is simply not desirable. Making a flaky cream cheese pastry in hot humid tropical weather is insane. Making a lattice top (not perfect) and a few other pastry top variations is completely inhuman. Combining 3 photographs into one frame on photoshop for the first time is suicidal. And sickening for your children
However, I'm still alive. And kicking. And my computer, thank blog, is still in one piece with no dents in it. And my sons have just disowned me.
But I'm happy to say that making a buttery, cheesy, rich and delicate pastry within 4 degrees latitude of the equator in a stuffy kitchen in the middle of a blazing afternoon is not quite as insane as aligning 3 miserable photographs on a laptop that is as slow as it takes me to comprehend Photoshop.
So it shouldn't surprise you that I have successfully made the pastry (in spite of) and there are now 4 mini apple pies for only 4 of the people in this household who are the only ones who like apple pies. Me included. We are especially crazy about the pie crust which explains why I was mad enough to make it.
It's the best apple pie crust in the world. Because it is the apple pie crust from the 'Pie and Pastry Bible' by Rose Levy Beranbaum. And any recipe of hers is worth it's weight in crust and calories.
Here's the recipe for the crust.......................
Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust
12 Tbsp (6 oz) cold unsalted butter
2 cups + 3 Tbsp pastry flour or 2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
41/2 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp ice water
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
Makes 2 9 inch pie crusts
Place a medium sized bowl in the freezer to chill.
Cut butter in 3/4 inch cubes. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Place flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.Cut in the cream cheese until the mixture becomes a coarse meal. Spoon the mixture and the cold cubed butter into a ziploc bag (I used a big plastic bag and held on to the end). Expel air, close and using a rolling pin flatten the butter into thin flakes (first picture below). Once done put the bag of flour mixture into the freezer till firm. About 10 minutes.
Then transfer the mixture to a chilled bowl. Sprinkle water and vinegar, tossing lightly (second picture above). Divide in to 2 portions and put each portion into a ziploc bag each. Holding the opening, knead until the dough holds together (as in the third picture above) and is slightly stretchy when pulled. Wrap and flatten into discs.
Refrigerate at least 45 minutes or preferably overnight.
Here's the recipe for the pie filling..
(I cooked my apples in its juices instead of going by Rose's uncooked version because I am not particularly keen on half raw apples in my apple pie). However the following is Rose's recipe..
The Apple Pie Filling...........
2 1/2 ibs (6 medium) apples, peeled, cored and slices 1/4 inch thick (I used granny smiths)
1 Tbspfresh lemon juice
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 - 1 1/2 tsp gorunf cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
Before making th epie filling, roll out one half of the pastry and line a pie pan. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
Macerate apples with lemon juice, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for between 30 minutes to 3 hours.Then transfer to a colander and collect the juices.
Boil down the juice to between 1/2 and 1/3 cup with teh butter.
Toss the apples and the cornstarch until there are no more traces of the cornstarch.
Pour the syrup (boiled juice) over apples.
Roll out top crust ready to cover the pie. Fill the lined pie pan with the apple pie filling, brush edges with a little egg yolk and then cover with the top sheet of pastry. Trim teh edges, crimp the edges, make 3 slashes on the top pastry. Brush the top with water/milk/egg yolk/egg white. Refrigerate 1 hour. I made 4 small pies (4 inches across) this afternoon and had some pastry and filling left over for tomorrow. Probably for another 3 pies.
Bake 45-55 minutes in 435 F oven. Cool 4 hours before serving.