Thursday, 3 November 2005

The Best Ever Apple Pie

Best Ever Apple Pie
In our previous house all I had for an oven is a small table top one because the built-in convection oven was not working properly. Since the working one is small, all I could hope to bake in it is based on the size of the pan I could squeeze in. So tube pans and baking sheets are out; brownies, cookies, and mercifully pies are in, since I was able to find a pie pan small enough to fit in. At that time, I was still 'actively' lurking (what an oxymoron) in a Usenet discussion group - (RFC) and drooled over the recipes and food the members so lusciously describe. There was this one guy who touted his apple pie recipe as the 'best ever'. Hmmm, should I believe him? Only one way to find out - bake it. And guess what, he wasn't lying! It was and still is my favourite apple pie of all. Very caramelly and with a salty-sweet flavour (courtesy of the syrup).

Over the years of moving house and not having much time to bake, I lost the recipe and I was recently surfing the net trying to find the exact recipe. Good thing I managed to find the exact same one in the excellent website of the Dinner Co-op group. They credit their friend Fritz Knabe and the Southern Sideboards cookbook for the recipe.

You may use any of your favourite two-crust recipe for this. I think the only tricky thing is the latticed top crust which might be a challenge for some. But it's not really that hard to do. More like doing a basket weave which I'm sure most of you have done in your home economics class in school. For a pictorial guide on how to do it click here, go to the section for woven lattice. If lattice is not your thing, you can always put a normal rolled crust just make sure to put holes on it (decorative holes would be nice). I toned down the sugar a lot in the filling (maybe because I use Golden Delicious which is not so tart), so it's up to you if you want to increase it a bit by adding sugar. While the topping syrup is likewise reduced by a third because usually I end up with quite a bit leftover. Enjoy!

The Best Ever Apple Pie

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
4-5 Tbsp cold water

6 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 Tbsp butter melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup golden syrup or corn syrup

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 Tbsp softened butter
  • For the crust:
    1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
    2. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the mixture is crumbly.
    3. Sprinkle enough water and knead it just enough to hold it together and form a dough ball. *Do not* over work/knead it or it will become quite stiff.
    4. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  • For the filling:
    1. Mix the cornstarch, salt, butter, cinnamon, and syrup until well combined.
    2. Toss the chopped apples in this mixture.

  • For the topping:
    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.

  • To assemble:
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C/fan 200°C.
    2. Take the dough from the fridge and divide into two.
    3. On a clean, floured surface or between greaseproof paper and cling film, roll flat half of the dough evenly with a rolling pin into a circle shape with a diameter of about 11 inches.
    4. Turn out dough on a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge until you have about 1 inch overhanging all around.
    5. Pour the apple filling on the pastry-lined pie plate.
    6. Again on a clean floured surface, roll out flat the remaining half of the dough and cut into long strips about 3/4 - 1 inch wide. Weave these strips on top of the apple filling into a lattice pattern. Trim edge until you have about 1-inch overhanging all around (same as the bottom crust).
    7. Tuck the overhang under and flute the sides decoratively with a fork or with fingers.
    8. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.
    9. Lower oven temperature to 350°F/180°C/fan 160°C and bake for 30-35 minutes.
    10. Open the oven and spread the topping on top of the lattice crust.
    11. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.

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