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Thursday, July 10, 2008

What to do when you make an ugly apple pie...

Serve it in a glass!

I had such high hopes. I really did. I've only made two pies from scratch in my lifetime, crust included. They were both tasty, but unfortunately, not pretty. And I know--looks aren't everything. But still, I wanted to make a pretty pie. I'm just going to have to keep trying, I guess.

So anyway, trying to get a pretty and perfect slice out of a not so perfect pie was not happening. Next best thing? Throw it in a glass with some vanilla frozen yogurt and call it Apple Pie Parfait! Like they used to say (do they still, I wonder?) in the ads for gag and joke things in the back of comic books..."Fool Your Friends!"

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks--Beat This, by Ann Hodgman. It's Classic Apple Pie, but I'm renaming it Triple Cinnamon Apple Pie. It's a triple threat with cinnamon in the crust, the filling, and as a topping. The flavor is fabulous!

No, I didn't use a whole stick of Crisco!

Triple Cinnamon Apple Pie
makes 1 - 9 inch pie

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
5 tbsp ice water
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 pounds Granny Smith apples (8 cups worth), peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter

milk for brushing over crust
1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups pie weights (or dry beans or dry rice)

Prepare the pastry!

Stir the dry ingredients together, or add them to the bowl of your food processor and pulse to mix.
Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add them and the shortening to the dry stuff, or mix
in with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal.
Add the ice water and vanilla and process until a dough forms, or if not using a food processor, mix with a fork until the dough comes together.
Divide the dough into two portions--one slightly larger than the other. Press each into a disk about one inch thick, wrap in plastic and stick them in the fridge to chill for at least 1/2 hour.

Now don't sit there admiring the cinnamony dough you just made! Get to work on the filling!

Preheat oven to 350°.
Put your prepared apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
In a separate smaller
bowl, mix to combine the dry filling ingredients.
Now this is very important, so pay attention.
When making fruit pies, unless your specifically told to, do NOT mix the fruit with the dry ingredients until just before you fill the pie crust. If you do, may God have mercy on your soul.
And your pie.
The fruit will do it's thing when you mix it with other stuff, and it'll get all juicy.
This translates to a soggy pie.
(Did this intelligent tidbit of pie making advice come from me?
Hell no! This is the author's advice, of course.)
So leave the two separate bowls alone until
you're ready to fill the crust.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch deep dish pie plate.
Flour your rolling surface and roll
out the smaller dough disk until it's a 12 inch circle (Or if you're like me, a shape that resembles a foreign country, not a circle, and is "slightly" (term used very loosely) larger than 12 inches.)
Line the pie plate with the dough, trim the messy edges (As if we'd have messy edges, right? Who, me?), and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Butter a piece of foil and place it butter side down in your chilled bottom crust.
Fill with 2 cups of
pie weights, dry beans or rice.
Bake this on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling
rack, remove the foil and weights and let the crust cool slightly.

While it's cooling, roll out the other dough disk to (hopefully) a circle about 13 inches in diameter.
Let it sit for a second.
Now you have permission to mix the apples and the other dry filling ingredients, except the 2 tbsp butter.
Working quickly, pile the apples into the bottom crust.
You should have a mountain
of apple slices.
Dot the apples with little chunks of that butter.
Now is the tricky part.

LOOK at all the cinnamon on those apples. It's almost illegal how much cinnamon there is.

Top the apples with the top crust, and crimp it to the bottom crust.
is this tricky?
Well, besides the scary "how in the hell am I going to get this crust up off the
counter and on to the pie" moments, unbaked crust doesn't really want to stick to baked crust.
But do your best, because if I can get it to crimp, anyone can.
And I did.
And no filling leaked
out and all over my oven. Whew! It's the little things that make me happy, really.

Trim off any ragged edges (Ok, I had a LOT) and cut about 4 oval shaped slits in the crust to let steam out during baking. Make sure they're big enough to stay opened as the crust bakes and expands. (More author advice there.)

Quickly brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle all of that delicious cinnamon and sugar over the top.
Bake the pie in the lower half of your oven on a cookie sheet for one hour. (Ann says to
bake on the bottom rack, but I baked one up from that. I know my oven, and it gets all pissy when I put things on the bottom rack, and then it burns them as a nice payback.)
The cookie
sheet concentrates the heat to the bottom of the pie tin, helping to make the bottom crust flakier.

After one hour, transfer the pie and cookie sheet to the middle rack and bake for 10
more minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

So if any of you decide to try this pie--and I hope you do, it's really that good--I hope it looks prettier for you. But if not, scoop out some of it and toss it in a pretty glass with ice cream and make Apple Pie Parfait. I'm sure whoever you serve it to won't be worried about what happened to the pie.

And remember, if you're looking for a place to share your recipe as well as get "print me" widgets for your blog recipes, go to Key Ingredient. It takes just a few seconds to sign up, and getting your widget is almost as fast. :)

Print me!

Triple Cinnamon Apple Pie

This one will leave your lucky family and friends wondering ...

See Triple Cinnamon Apple Pie on Key Ingredient.

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Anonymous said...

What an ingenious idea!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

No worries, Elle - you saved the recipe/dish just by putting it in that fancy glass!! Love it!!

April was in CA now MA said...

I have to tell you how much I LURVE that print widget! Anything apple happens to be my hubbies favorite dessert so this is another added to the list.

We've got family visiting and just thought I'd let you know your banana bread has been inhaled by all around here. Good thing I made two leaves instead of cutting the recipe in half!

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

That is a great idea in fact I had a brownie disaster last weekend and what I should have done is just what you did - Put it in a great looking class tossed Ice cream, fudge and whipped cream on top and everyone would have thought this is what I intended to do.

Adam said...

Ha I agree you can NEVER have too much cinnamon. I think cinnamon should go on cinnamon.

Apple pies are one of my favorite desserts, and I think a glass makes it festive. You can see the layers and it adds a classy look. Instead of apple pie for dessert, it's like a high roller um... apple layered flaky sensation.

cakewardrobe said...

Thats my solution!! Cute cups can contain ugliness.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I think you did an excellent job - recipes go bad for us from time to time but you saved it beautifully, Elle!

Deborah said...

I've made quite a few pies, but I have yet to make a pretty one. In fact, I have a hard time making most of my food pretty! This sounds great - I love cinnamon!

Anonymous said...

That looks so good with all those big pieces of apple...and ice cream! :)

Cris said...

This looks soo good to me! Parfait!

Shelby said...

Oh Elle, this absolutely looks divine. I wouldn't even admit that it turned out ugly and would have made everyone think parfaits were what you intended all along. I really believe I will have to make this apple pie SOON (after I make my son's Rhubarb one for his birthday on Tuesday!)

I love those widgets also!

Ben said...

Brilliant! Hehe. You should receive an award for saving ugly food and making it look amazing. Great job :)

Vicarious Foodie said...

I have a hard time believing you made something ugly, but even so I really love the parfait idea. It looks great! And all that cinnamon sounds awesome.

Anonymous said...

Apples in a glass makes a nice desserts on its own! :) At least you didn't dump them. Great idea!

giz said...

But you didn't show us "ugly pie". I think what you did was ingenious. I probably would have been miffed and just turfed it - good thinking.

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook said...

You saved the pie. Though the recipe may had gone bad, you certainly saved it. It looks delicious and beautiful!

hungryandfrozen said...

That dough looks awesome (yes, I'm one of those weirdos who likes to eat the uncooked pastry) and I love the idea of all that cinnamon. Pie in a glass - brilliant! :)

grace said...

first and foremost, all hail cinnamon. what a glorious spice.
secondly, i would argue that there is no such thing as an ugly apply pie. :)

Anonymous said...

Great idea! That looks good, and I'm not even a huge cinnamon fan.

I was just reading about making your apple pies prettier in a book called Cookwise. The author says something about sautéing the raw apples for just a few minutes so they'll lose some of their volume before you put them in the pie. Then, when your pie is done, you won't have that huge gap between the apples and the top crust.
(Who knew???)

Kristen said...

That looks and sounds great. Sadly, pie crust is still on my list of "intimidating foods" LOL

Ginny said...

Delicious! Nothing like an apple pie in the summer! :)

Unknown said...

That apple pie in a glass looks good!

Rachelle S said...

I have been thinking of making a pie too. Maybe soon. Would love to have seen the whole pie though. It looks delish with that ice cream though.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't look ugly at all, looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

Good save, Elle! It looks like it was meant to be that way.

I also LOVE that print widget! Does blogger offer that?

Pam said...

It looks beautiful and delicious. Great job Elle. By the way, I just gave you an award on my site. Cheers.

Sarah said...

Elle! This looks great, and even though the pie didn't work out as planned, you still found a way to pull it off!

Mrs Ergül said...

Don't worry about it! You will only get better at it and one day, it will turn out perfect!

I like your widget!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha.. Elle you are so clever!
It looks GREAT in a glass and i'm sure it taste even better! :-)

Unknown said...

i cant get enough of cinnamon too! hehehe i cud smell the cinnamon from here :)

Garrett said...

Pfft, and you say you'd be lucky to have me as a neighbor? I'm always so jealous of all your concoctions! Not to mention you're the one living in the ridiculously perfect sounding neighborhood.

I think the pie didn't turn out right just because you didn't use the whole stick of crisco ;-)

Anonymous said...

Perfect idea to put it in a glass. I am a pie crust virgin... so when I do get around to making my own, it will likely not turn out properly, and I'll be making myself a little parfait as well.

Anonymous said...

I like it better as a parfait. Yum. And I think you're right-- it would be very hard to crimp an unbaked crust to a baked crust. I don't think I've ever seen a recipe like that before.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Gawd. I want to bake an ugly apple pie right now. At 8am. So I can have a beautiful parfait like this one! Shit, Elle! I shouldn't visit your page before breakfast. I really shouldn't. lol

LyB said...

What a great idea Elle! It's even prettier than any pie I've ever seen and I bet tastier too!

Cathie said...

What a fantastic idea!! I'm completely hopeless at pastry as well, my sister says we missed out on the gene for pastry making, so this idea is great for me!! Lovely pics as usual!

SteamyKitchen said...

it's cool to serve in a glass! great idea!

Ruth Strong said...

It looks like it was meant to be in the glass... beautiful

Katy said...

that is awesome! and absolutely delicious. i want one!

Anonymous said...

Oh, another Ann Hodgman fan! I just love her--she makes me laugh and laugh! I have Beat This and Beat That. I love that she calls brownies "frosting you can pick up." Once I made her deviled eggs w/horseradish and bacon (which are divine, of course) and took them to a pot luck. This Very Dumb Girl took one bite, threw it down on her plate and said, "Shoot--this don't even have no paprika on it!"

PS I am digging your margarita glass presentation!

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