Is this not the prettiest little pie? I mean, come on! A pie full of apples and spices that resembles a rose – be still my heart. Now, not all of the food that I make is this nice to look at (not even close, really). But when I look at this lovely confection, it sort of makes me want to strive for that, you know? Thus, the reason I chose to bestow upon it the weighty responsibility of being the first recipe on this site. I’m confident it can handle the pressure.
This pie, while fairly simple all around, is more than meets the eye. There are some little surprises buried throughout that (hopefully) set it apart from the vast selection of apple pies that are out there in food land. For example, I have found that adding grapefruit juice to the apple mixture makes for a fantastic citrusy note that also carries a little bit of bitterness as well. I don’t even like grapefruit normally (it’s the only food I dislike, truthfully. Well, that and maybe raw celery), but paired with the sweetness of the filling, it’s great. I’ve madeFour and Twenty Blackbirds’ salted caramel apple pie several times, and it calls for Angostura Bitters in the filling mix. I switched it up here and am pulling that bitter note from the pie’s requisite citrus element as well. Boom! One ingredient pulling double duty. It’s the little things …
French Vanilla (Pate Brisee) Crust (see below)
6 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I use a mixture of Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, and Granny Smith)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I like Saigon cinnamon because it packs a bigger punch)
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
Prepare the pie dough and assemble it in your pie plate (recipe below), crinkling your edges as you please.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss the sliced apples, spices, sugars and grapefruit juice and assemble, rounded edge up, in concentric circles around the pie plate. Place pie in preheated oven, and reduce the heat to 375. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the crust looks golden brown.
French Vanilla (Pate Brisee) Crust
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 pound unsalted butter, very cold and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces icy cold water
1 tablespoon sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and vanilla bean paste and then pulse 3 times to incorporate. (If you neither have nor care to buy the vanilla paste, simply scrape the seeds from two vanilla beans into the dough mixture). Add butter and pulse until everything looks and feels like coarse meal. Now, add water and pulse until a ball of dough forms. No over-mixing please! Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out and placing in your pie plate.
xoxo, Lauren McDuffie
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