November 10, 2009

Apple of My Eye

Ah, autumn.  Love the crispy air, the crunchy apples, the cinammon and crimson leaves.  Feels like it's time to turn up the oven and bake bake bake.

I went to the Green Barn Market at the Wychwood Arts Barn this weekend, as I do every Saturday morning.  The veggies on display are getting sparse - no more heirloom tomatoes, scarcely any parsnips, but still lots of kale, carrots, potatoes, onions, pears, the season's last gerbera daisies and ..... apples.  Northern Spy, Russet, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, Ambrosia, Cortland, abundance of apples, all with spots and blemishes and deep orchard goodness.  These aren't your supermarket beauties.  They have heft and weight and skins so taut that the juice flies when you take that first big bite.  Yum. A perfect eating - and baking - buffet.

Of course some of those pretty pinks had to come home with me.

First on the list was my by-now old stand-by - Tarte Tatin.  The apples were so huge that I ended making a regular sized one and a "mini". Experiment time - I've tried feeezing the already cooked and baked tatins.  We'll see what a thaw and reheat does.

Then on to "Apple of Her Eye" Apple Pie, from the New Basics.  My copy is so worn that it's held together with a large rubber band, but I refuse to buy a new copy.  It would take too long to transpose the notes and scribbles beside each recipe tried (don't double the curry for the Curried Zucchini Soup!).  I've chosen Northern Spies - good eating, and excellent baking.  My "Julia" dough is at the ready. 

Now it's just a matter of the therapeutic peeling, dicing and seasoning. 

Roxanne Potvin is rocking in the background (when i put you back together, with my iron and my solder...).  A little bit of cardamom instead of all cinammon.  A bit of tweaking with the tender and forgiving dough. A bit of dough deco, although whether they look like the leaves they're supposed to be or just blobs, I'm not sure.  A bit of a chill and then well wrapped for a deep dive in the freezer. 

So how long do these things bake for when they come out of the freezer rock solid?

Apple of Her Eye Pie
adapted from The New Basics cookbook, by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

Pastry - use Julia Child's fab All-Purpose Pie Dough - Pâte Brisée Fine recipe (see My Life in France post from September 20!)

8 tart apples (I used Northern Spies, but Granny Smiths will do in an out-of-season pinch. I found that 6 Spies was enough)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch ground cinammon

1. Prepare Julia's dough. Divide dough into two slightly uneven halves. Wrap both halves, and chill in refrigerator for two hours or overnight (can be frozen for one month as well)

2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

3. Prepare the filling: Core, halve and peel the apples. Cut them into one inch chunks. Toss with lemon juice as you are chopping to prevent apples from turning brown. Combine chopped apples and melted butter in a large bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients, and toss until the apples are evenly coated.

4. Roll the smaller portion of chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 10-inch pie plate, and press into the bottom and sides of the plate. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Reserve excess dough.

5. Roll the larger portion of dough out to form a slightly larger circle.

6. Fill the pie plate with the apple mixture, mounding it slightly. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with water. Then transfer the top crust over the apples, tucking it slightly inside the rim. Trim off any excess, allowing a 1-inch overhang. Seal the edges of the crust together with a fork and crimp decoratively. Trim away any excess dough.

7. Prepare the topping: Mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Prick the top crust with a fork in several places, and cut a small vent in the centre. Brush the top lightly with water and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. If you like, cut out shapes, such as leaves or apples, from the dough trimmings and decorate the top crust with them.

8. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden, 1 ¼ hours.

8 portions

*Because I froze the pie, I didn't do the topping.  When I bake the pie,I think I will use super crunchy big flake sugar instead.