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    Apple/Pecan Pie

    I’ve prepared many a pie in my life but was never really satisfied with the outcome. Most of the time my dissatisfaction was due to the crust, I’ve used many different recipes and have even used store bought varieties. I happened to be watching an old, very old, you know the old black and white version, of a Julie Child show. In it she made a pie crust that I though to try and use. I’ve made only one change to her recipe and it was using frozen butter instead of just chilled butter, I’m not sure how much of a difference it made from her version but the final result was, fantastic.

    You will need:

    For the crust:

    Flour — 1½ Cups all purpose flour
    Butter, unsalted — ½ cup (one stick)frozen
    Water — ⅓ Cup (ice cold water)
    Vegetable Shortening — 3 TBSP (I used Crisco)
    Sugar — 3 TBSP
    Salt (table – non iodized) — Pinch

    For the Filling:

    Apples — 5 medium to large, use a variety such as Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Macintosh, try to use 1 of each.
    Sugar — 1 TBSP
    Maple Syrup — ¼ use the real stuff not pancake syrup.
    Pecans — ¼ cup, chopped.
    Salt — pinch of non-iodized table.
    Cinnamon — 1 TBSP
    Balsamic Vinegar &#151 1 TBSP
    Butter — 4 TBSP

    Start with the dough, in a food processor add all of the dry ingredients. Cut frozen butter in half length wise, cut the two pieces in half length wise then cut into half inch pieces add to dry ingredients along with the shortening. Pulse the ingredients to combine them, you want to watch this step, you want to see what looks like pea sized chunks scattered throughout the dough. Turn the machine on to full speed and add the water slowly through the feed tube run until the dough forms into a large mass. Remove from the machine, form into a ball, flatten the ball into a disk then wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

    Now the filling. Peel and core all of the apples, cut into 8 pieces each, put cold water into a bowl large enough to hold all of the apples then add the vinegar and stir to combine, add the apples making sure they are all covered by the water mixture.

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the apples in one layer add the butter and maple syrup, when the butter melts add all of the apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Add enough water just to about half way up the apple mixture. Bring to a rapid boil, turn the heat to simmer, cover and cook until the apples soften, about 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to cook the apples until all or most of the liquid has evaporated. Continue cooking until the apples start to caramelize. Remove from heat, place into a bowl and let cool completely. Once the apple mixture is completely cool add the pecan pieces.

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator, with the dough still wrapped use a rolling pin to pound the disk to a thickness that will be easy enough to roll. No need to be gentle here as the dough will be very stiff and can take the pounding. Lightly flour countertop, remove the dough from the plastic wrap and roll out to approximately a 10″ circle. Lightly spray a pie pan with baking spray or coat the pan with oil or butter. Lay the dough over the pan and lightly press it in with about ½” overlapping the rim. Fold the dough under itself to form an edge, crimp the dough to seal. With the tines of a fork dock the entire bottom of the dough. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the dough and fill with pie weights or beans. Place the pie shell in a preheated 400° F oven, bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, remove weights and foil, fill with the apple mixture and return to oven, reduce the heat to 350° F and finish baking, it should take another 15 to 20 minutes.

    I think you’ll enjoy this one, serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

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