Over the past few years, I’ve developed a pretty consistent process and recipe for a sweet, savory, moist, and crispy turkey. With that said, this post really isn’t about turkey. If you’re interested in my pumpkin pie, or turkey recipe, click here!
I’m here to talk about pie. This year we stuck to two pies, and I baked a brandied pumpkin pie, and an apple pie. I wanted to experiment with the crust a little bit, and so I made one crust with high-fat butter, and one crust with organic pork lard. These crusts also had more salt than the previous year’s, which brought out a richer flavor in the pie itself.
For the apple pie, I used butter to make a rich flaky crust, and I combined all of it in a food processor. I doubled this recipe for the apple pie, so I would have enough for a top crust as well. I rolled out the second crust into a square, and cut half-inch strips of crust, which I wove into a beautiful pie topping.
Apple Pie Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (150 grams)
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. granulated white sugar
- 10 tbsp. unsalted high-fat butter, very cold and cut into cubes
- 2 to 4 tbsp. ice water, as needed
- In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist, but not wet. On a lightly floured surface, gather the dough into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
While for the pumpkin pie crust, I used pork lard, and also combined all of the ingredients in the food processor. Compared to the butter crust, lard produced a much softer and oilier pastry shell. It made it easier to work and roll, but the lard crust was also much weaker and more prone to ripping. I also needed to add more flour to create the right consistency for the crust.
Brandied Pumpkin Pie Crust:
- For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (150 grams) (closer to 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 oz. cold pork lard
- 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
While I think the lard crust was flakier, I struggle with identifying which one was better, because I think both were incredible.
Recipe for the a “Tart-Apple Pie with a Brandy-Thyme Glaze”:
Apple Pie Filling:
- 3 medium haralson apples, unpeeled
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
- 3 tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- Small pinch of ground cloves
- 1 tbsp. honey
- ¼ tsp. boiling water
- ½ tbsp. brandy
- Large sprig of thyme
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and prepare the filling. Core the apples and cut them into 1/4-inch slices. In a large bowl toss the apple slices with the lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the dried cherries then sprinkle in the nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, and cinnamon and toss until the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a large circle about 9 inches in diameter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and draping the dough over the rolling pin, transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. If the dough breaks, patch it up with your fingers.
Arrange the apple mixture in a mound in the center on the dough, leaving a 1 to 2-inch border. Fold the border over the filling. It will only cover the filling partially and does not need to be even.
Bake the pie at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, keeping the pie in the oven all the while, and bake for another 40 minutes, until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown.
In a small sauce pan stir together the honey and boiling water on medium heat to make a glaze. Once you have combined the honey and water, and brought to a simmer, add the sprig of thyme, and add the brandy. Continue to stir as much of the excess water boils off. Remove from the heat once it has achieved a consistency that is thicker than water, but thinner than honey. When the pie is done remove it from the oven and brush the honey glaze all over the top of the fruit and crust. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Cut into 6 wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
This years thanksgiving was relatively peaceful, and calm compared to the the circus like pace of previous years meals. In spite of all the good food, I was most thankful to spend the past couple days with my friends, and family. The meal itself was delicious, but my favorite part is always the lead up to the meal, and the days of sleepless prep.
As you probably know, I love to cook with music, so I’ve included a few of the songs that inspired me yesterday:
Marigold – Mother Falcon
Porcelain – Moby
Luscious Life – Patrick Watson
La Redecouverte – Amelie Soundtrack
Just Duo – Chet Baker
To Me – Chet Faker
Where I’m Going – The Wild Reeds
Three Hours – Nick Drake
And lots more Nick Drake…
Try out the recipes, let me know what you think, and get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend, wherever you are! (even if the weather isn’t so beautiful)