31 January, 2012

Get some apple pie!

As I approach a mini milestone as a blogger (two months!) I would like to say thank you for reading my posts. With time, Sweet Julienne will only get better and better ... so let's bake an apple pie to celebrate!
I was trying to impress myself with this pie and it really worked.  The outcome is rustic, naturally sweet, and perfect.  I used a bag of organic apples from my favourite grocer at the St. Lawrence market - the best $4.50 I spent all week!

I followed Vermont apple farmer Nick Cowles' recipe from a delightful baking book Nick (a different Nick) gave me last year when I first started avoiding white sugar.  The book has plenty of information about sugar substitutes and one hundred recipes covering all four seasons and the produce they provide.  (A few recipes I'm eager to try include graham crackers, fig and blueberry scones, twelve-grain muffins, and chocolate beet cake...will it rival Jenny's vegan chocolate cake?)  Meet the inspiration for this apple pie, then scroll down for his recipe.

Nick's Favorite Apple Pie
(Makes one 9-inch apple pie)

First prepare Nick's Piecrust:

Measure 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour and place in a food processor.  Add 3/4 cups of cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Lastly add 1/3 cup of ice water and a pinch of salt, then pulse the ingredients for 45 seconds, or until the mixture clumps together.  No need to over process the dough!

Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to chill.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Now prepare the pie filling:

Wash and chop 8 medium apples into 1/2 inch cubes and place them into a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1/3 cup maple syrup, a dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, and 1 tablespoon of corn starch to the apples and let simmer for about 15 minutes.  When the apples are softened, remove from the stove and let cool.

Take out the dough from the fridge and roll out one ball onto a lightly floured surface until you have about a 10 inch circle.  Place this in the pie plate.  Roll out the second dough ball, slide it onto a dinner plate and put it in the fridge.

Pour the cooled apple filling on top of the pie crust.  Put the second crust (from the fridge) on top of the apples and gently pinch the two crusts together, circling around the edge of the plate.  Create a couple slits in the top crust for steam to escape, then pop the pie in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  (I turned the broiler on high for a couple minutes at the very end to help brown the crust).

Serve it!  Eat it!