The Quintessential Apple Pie
For the perfect dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
11 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
7 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening or lard
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
10 cups apples (skin on), preferably from 6 to 8 different kinds of apples, quartered, cored
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 gratings nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons Calvados or apple liqueur, optional
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 to 2 teaspoons (4 to 8 grams) sugar
- To begin preparing the pie dough, pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until combined. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse about 5 times. Add shortening or lard; process until butter pieces are no larger than small peas and flour resembles coarse cornmeal, about 4 pulses. (This step also can be done using a pastry blender. ) Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the water over flour mixture; pulse 5 or 6 times. Add 1 teaspoon water at a time until dough holds together easily. Do not let dough form into a ball in the processor. Place dough on counter. Shape into ball with hands; divide in half. Flatten into two 1-inch thick discs. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes.
- Cut the apples into chunks you can easily fit in your mouth. In a large bowl, mix apples with sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vinegar, Calvados, and flour. Stir until mixture begins to look sandy.
- Roll out 1 disc of the pie dough; use it to line a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Pour in apple mixture. Distribute the pieces of butter evenly on top. Roll out the top crust; place over the filling. Cut at least 5 vents in the top. Remove any dough that hangs over the side of the pie pan. Crimp the edges.
- Cover pie in plastic wrap and transfer to fridge for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove wrap from the pie . Brush the top of the pie with the egg white and water mixture. Transfer pie to middle rack in the oven. Cook, 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake, 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle sugar on pie . Continue cooking until evenly browned on top, and liquid just starts to bubble from vents, about 10 minutes. Remove and let pie cool for at least an hour.
- Dough adapted from Cook's Illustrated Magazine; Filling recipe adapted from Art of the Pie (Countryman Press, $35).
Banana Cream Pie
Makes 6-8 servings
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell, baked
2 large bananas, sliced
Whipped cream (optional)
Shaved chocolate (optional)
- To make the cream filling, combine the cream, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and then reduce heat so the mixture just barely bubbles. Cook until thickened, about two more minutes. Remove from heat.
- Temper the eggs by stirring in about a cup of the hot half-and-half mixture a few tablespoons at a time to gradually warm the egg yolks. Then whisk the tempered eggs yolks into the hot half-and-half mixture. Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil, about two more minutes.
- Transfer the cream filling to a bowl, remove the vanilla bean, press plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill for 30 minutes.
- Spread one-third of the cream filling on the bottom of the pie shell and top with half the banana slices. Spread another one-third of the cream filling over the banana slices, and top with the remaining banana slices. Spread the remaining custard on top, making sure to cover the bananas completely to prevent browning. Refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to serve, cut the pie into wedges, and top with shaved chocolate and whipped cream, if desired.
Adapted from Tony Page of Rooster Street Provisions
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Makes 8-10 servings
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons tapioca
1 tablespoon water
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
2 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 9-inch pie crusts
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
- In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, tapioca, and 1 tablespoon of water until thoroughly combined. Stir in the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to stand for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place bottom crust into a 9-inch pie dish. Roll the remaining crust out into a 10-inch circle on a floured work surface, set aside.
- Stir the filling, and pour into the prepared pie dish. Cut the remaining crust into 1-inch wide strips (use a scalloped-edge pastry cutter for a prettier crust). Moisten the rim of the filled bottom crust with a bit of water, and lay the two longest strips in a cross in the middle of the pie . Working from the next longest down to the shortest strips, alternate horizontal and vertical strips, weaving the strips as you go. Press the lattice strips down onto the bottom crust edge to seal, and trim the top crust strips neatly. Beat the egg white with 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl, and brush the entire lattice top with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Wrap aluminum foil strips around the edges of the pie .
- Bake (on top of a sheet pan lined with foil, to catch drips) in the preheated oven for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 more minutes. Remove the aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time. Allow pie to cool completely before serving.
From Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Eggnog Cream Pie
For the crust:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoons ground clove
1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
6 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
2 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon table salt
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Jamaican rum (Appleton's Special Gold)
2 teaspoons unflavored powered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
Lightly sweetened fresh whipped heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
To make the crust:
- Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and 2 teaspoons water and blend with a fork or your fingers until the mixture holds together when squeezed.
- Press the crumb crust in an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.
- Chill the crust for at least 15 minutes before filling.
To make the filling:
- Heat 2 1/4 cups of milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming (don't boil!). Keep warm over very low heat.
- Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is smooth and pale. Immediately measure out 1 cup of the hot milk and slowly add it to the yolk mixture, pouring in a thin stream and whisking constantly.
- Slowly add the tempered yolks to the hot milk in the saucepan, pouring in a thin stream and whisking constantly. Turn the heat under the saucepan up to medium and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens to a pudding consistency and a few large bubbles rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Once the bubbles appear, continue cooking the custard, whisking constantly, 2 more minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, vanilla extract, and rum, whisking until the custard is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
- Sprinkle the gelatin across the surface of the remaining 1/4 cup milk and let soften 5 minutes.
- Whisk the bloomed gelatin into the custard and set the bowl in the refrigerator to chill until cool, 15 to 20 minutes, whisking at 5-minute intervals to prevent the edges from setting.
- Whip the heavy cream to medium peaks and fold it into the cooled custard in thirds, mixing the last third just until no white streaks remain.
- Retrieve the gingersnap crust from the refrigerator and spoon the mousse into the prepared shell and smooth top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill the pie overnight (at least 12 hours or up to 3 days) before slicing and serving.
- Serve cold with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.
Holly Ricciardi, owner/pastry chef Magpie