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dutch apple pie

December 24, 2010
tags: ,

What’s that you say? That last pie recipe wasn’t complicated enough for you, and you want MORE? Well, so do I! That’s why we’re besties.

Martha and Cook’s Illustrated are probably neck-in-neck in terms of overcomplicating things, so I knew I had to turn to CI for one of my pie recipes. This one had apples (obviously necessary for any pie table), crumb topping (um, yes), and it also managed to squeeze heavy cream into a dessert that doesn’t usually include such things. Ding ding ding! We have a winner! (Man, am I annoying tonight or what?)

And it was, indeed, a pretty big win of a recipe. I say this despite the fact that by this point in my holiday baking, an unidentifiable something had fallen onto the floor of the oven so that when I pulled out the streusel topping, one entire floor of my house was filled with smoke. No worries! Nothing a window cracked to the 30-degree outside can’t fix!

Once the smoke had died down and I could taste things other than the charred scent filling my nose, I found out that this was a pretty good recipe overall. The topping was nice and crunchy and substantial and did *not* melt into the pie like my muffin toppings tend to. The apples were soft and nicely-spiced, and the pie itself didn’t even need that much time in the (smoky) oven. Score.

Dutch Apple Pie
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices and chilled
2 tablespoons cold vodka
2 tablespoons cold water
2 1/2 lb. (about 5 medium) Granny Smith apples
2 lb. (about 4 medium) McIntosh apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornmeal
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. To make the pie dough, pulse 3/4 cup of flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around the processor blades. Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. [If I remember correctly, I wound up pouring at least a couple extra swigs of vodka in there to get everything to stick together, and despite the fact that the dough tasted extra-boozy, I think it all turned out okay in the end. Side note: it’s totally normal to eat even the dough that I know won’t taste good, like pie dough and bread dough, right? Right.] Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to a 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into 9-inch pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute edges using your thumb and forefinger [come again?] or press tines of fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
5. Remove dough-lined plate from refrigerator, line dough with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Place pie plate on preheated baking sheet and bake until edge of dough looks dry and is light in color, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and continue to bake until crust is golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Do not turn off oven. [Unless something black and dead-looking is on its floor.]
6. To make the filling, peel, quarter, and core apples; slice each quarter crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Toss apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl to combine. Heat butter in large Dutch oven over high heat until foaming subsides; add apples and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until Granny Smith apple slices are tender and McIntosh apple slices are softened and beginning to break down, about 10 minutes.
7. Set large colander over large bowl; transfer cooked apples to colander. Shake colander and toss apples to drain off as much juice as possible. Bring drained juice and cream to a boil in now-empty Dutch oven over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and wooden spoon leaves trail in mixture, about 5 minutes. Transfer apples to prebaked pie shell; pour reduced juice mixture over and smooth with rubber spatula.
8. To make the topping, combine flour, sugars, and cornmeal in medium bowl; drizzle with melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms many large chunks with pea-sized pieces mixed throughout. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread streusel in even layer on baking sheet. Bake streusel until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on wire rack until streusel is cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle streusel evenly over pie filling. Set pie plate on now-empty baking sheet and bake until streusel is deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack and serve.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

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