Thursday, October 24, 2013

Apple Pie Contest

 Apple Pie.  It's my favorite type of pie  Always has been.  Probably always will be.

For the second year I entered the Bucktown Apple Pie Contest.  Last year I tried to make a dulce de leche type crust AND a dulce de leche like filling.

Thanks to my nephew for being an excellent hand model
It was kind of a failure.  It looked great but tasted bland.  My idea totally bombed and I think in the end I was just shooting too big with the little pie making experience I had.  So I had intended to make a much simpler apple pie this year.  Until--of course--I read another bloggers post about a local pie shops apple pie with a vanilla-like custard and I was like.....mmm...damn...  So I had to try this.

I ended up adapting it a tad and actually combined it with another recipe from my Cook's Illustrated cookbook.  The main adaptation was that the pie contest requires a double crust and the original recipe had a crumb topping (which is my favorite because I actually don't really like double crusts that much).  Nevertheless, I had to abide by the rules.  I was a little nervous about creating a hybrid pie for this contest based on my past experimental pie making failure but I made a test pie first and it was damn fine.  Thus, I went with it.

See? There's a little sticker that says 'Semi-Finalist'!  Also, yes my pies name was Brunhilde, the female warrior.

And it paid off because I was a semi-finalist in the contest!  I think there were about 100 entries and I was one of 15-20 semi-finalists so I was very pleased with my progress.  I don't even care about the failed art-deco"esque" design I had worked out for the top crust that caused me to frantically start cutting out free-hand maple leaves with leftover pie dough and plopping them atop my mucked up design...  All that is water under the bridge because I made it to the semi-finals!!!!  I made a pie that was on the track to becoming an award winning pie!  It just boosts my confidence a bit so I am excited for next year now.


For the pie crust, I again used the one for my stone fruit pie post times and doubled it for two pies.

The first part of the hybrid recipe came from here. As I mentioned before, I combined it with a recipe in my Cooks Illustrated cookbook.  The following is my complete version and is only for one pie.

Apple Mixture

7 granny smith apples (I didn't weigh them but they were large apples)
3 1/2 oz granulated sugar
1 3/4 oz light brown sugar
zest of half a lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon


8 oz creme fraiche
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Egg Wash

1 tbsp heavy cream
1 large egg yolk

1.)  Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4" slices
2.)  Toss the apples with both sugars, the zest, salt and cinnamon
3.)  Place them in a large dutch oven, cover and cook over medium heat--stirring often-- until they are tender but still hold their shape when pierced with a fork.  This took me between 10-15 minutes.
4.)  Dump them out onto a large baking sheet until they cool completely.
5.)  In the meantime prepare the custard by whisking together the flour and salt in one bowl
6.)  In a second medium bowl whisk together the egg, creme fraiche and vanilla extract until fully combined
7.)  Pour the dry ingredients (flour, salt mixture) into the wet and stir/whisk until fully combined
8.)  Once the apples are cooled, pour them, without the juices, into your pie dish (I arranged them individually to pack them in tightly and neatly because I was hoping it would slice well in cross-section for the contest judges.  I think it did...but your call) that already has your pie dough rolled into it.
9.)  Pour the custard over the apples
10.)  Place your top crust over the apples and trim and pinch and crimp or fork or whatever you want to do to make it look pretty
11.)  For the egg wash, whisk together the egg yolk and cream and with a pastry brush apply it to the pie crust.
12.)  Place pie in the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 425
13.)  Once preheated bake the pie for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375, rotate the pie 180 and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until everything looks nice and done.
14.)  Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before slicing into.


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