We were heading over to the in-law's for a games night last night, so I decided I should bring some desserty-type thing for a treat (ok, so it's not the first time, I'm sure it won't be the last). But with the early onset of les printemps here in Edmonton, I am craving fruit - and lots of it. Sure, none of it is local at this time of year - (yes I would completely fail at being a locavore, but I'd like to see a Canadian successfully pull that off living in Northern Alberta in the winter - come on!) but it's fruit just the same. So I loaded up a bag full of Ambrosia Apples from BC and headed home to make some apple pie.... yum!
This was one of my recipe-less days, so I kind of threw everything but the kitchen sink in with my peeled and cored apple chunks, and I really could not be more pleased with the results. The
'tasting panel' reviews were decent enough, though they were mostly mumbled through a mouthful of apple; "this is great pie - what's in this?", so thank goodness I kept notes while I was haphazardly tossing ingredients into the bowl (whew!). With a sauce that has a wonderfully spiced flavour to it, along with the brown sugar and sour cream, which combine to make a light caramel sauce...this pie will definitely be kept in my files for future use!
For starters, I threw some extra sugar and cinnamon into the pie pastry dough itself - just to add some personality, which turned out to be an excellent pairing for the obvious apple pie filling - so even if you have a favourite apple pie filling that you prefer over mine, that's fine, my feelings aren't hurt *sniff* - I highly recommend you at least spice up your crust. I did my usual press-into-pan method of making my crusts, because otherwise I seem to always end up with shrinky-dink pie shells, and that just makes me mad (for my international readers, "shrinky-dink" is not a swear - it's crafty fun from my childhood! Don't believe me? Then check this out...).
Because I was multi-tasking and making dinner and dessert at the same time, the apples ended up marinating in the spices for a good 30-40 minutes while we ate. This turned out to be a great thing, as the flavours really married well before I pre-cooked the filling on the stove - just enough to take a bit of the crispness out of the apples, but not enough to make it mushy. Then it was a simple matter of filling my chilled individual sized pie crusts with the filling, add a cute little lattice top, into the oven for 15 minutes and voilà! Spicy Apple Pie was born! To compliment the flavours of the pie, I served it with a nice big puff of whipped cream, which I whipped with a dash of vanilla, a sprinkling of sugar and a generous tablespoon on sour cream. Sure it may sound a bit odd, but it worked well, so I stand by it - think of it as crème fraiche for beginners. After all, I'm a girl who like her desserts to taste of something besides just sugar - bring on the flavour please! Sweet is not a flavour, and there is nothing more disappointing to me than tasting some gorgeous looking dessert and finding it tastes of nothing but tooth-achingly sweet sugar. Now, if you happen to be a fan of tooth aches, then feel free to add a bunch more sugar than I did, but don't blame me when your dentist buys a new sportscar or yacht.
One final note: Ambrosia apples are a relatively sweet apple, feel free to use a firm-fleshed apple of your choosing. If you are using a tart apple, like Granny Smith, you may want to cut down the amount of lemon juice a bit. I would love to try this pie with Fuji apples, but sadly I could not find any - next time!
Here you have it - Julia's Spicy Apple Pie. I'd love to hear comments and constructive critiques from any of you who decided to give this recipe a test-drive in your own kitchens.
Julia's Spicy Apple Pie
Cinnamon Sugar Pie Dough
1 1/2 Cups (156g) All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp (20g) sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (113g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3-5 Tbsp ice water
Spicy Apple Filling
5 medium apples
Juice from 1 small lemon (about 1-2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp candied ginger, minced
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
87g brown sugar (1/3 Cup + 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp) - can we all get on the metric system now please?!?
3 Tbsp (45g) sour cream
Soured Chantilly Cream
2/3 Cup (63ml) heavy cream
1 heaping Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 425˚F and move rack to centre position. Peel, core & chop apples into small cubes and place them in a large bowl. Pour lemon juice over apples, then add all dry spices and candied ginger to apples. Toss all ingredients together well and set aside for 30-40 minutes at room temperature.
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Add in the butter pieces, and using short 1-second pulses, cut in the butter until the largest pieces are about the size of large peas. Add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse just until the dough comes together. Stop the machine and feel the dough - it should hold together when squeezed in your hand. If the dough feels too dry, add a bit more ice water. Be careful not to add too much water, as this makes for a tough crust. Press or roll out pastry into pie or tart pan of your choosing, reserving about 1/3 of the dough for lattice tops. Place the prepared pie shells into the fridge to chill. Roll out the reserved dough and cut into strips for the lattice - place in the fridge to chill.
Spoon filling into the chilled pie shell, cover with the lattice strips, and immediately place into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is fully baked and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 20-30 minutes, or longer if you prefer. Serve either at room temperature or warm, with cream topping of your choice: ice cream, whipped cream, crème fraiche or Soured Chantilly Cream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix together the heavy cream and sour cream. Whip on medium speed for about 1 minute to combine well. Increase speed to high for about 30 seconds, then add in the vanilla and sugar. Continue to beat on high, until the cream hold soft peaks. Refrigerate until needed.