Friday, November 7, 2014

Recipe: Apple Pie with Gruyere Crust

 One of the perks of living in the northeast are the amazing apple orchards that let you go in and pick apples each fall. It's become a fall tradition to rent a car and drive out to the countryside and return stuffed with apple cider, apple cider donuts, and lots and lost of apples.

A photo posted by Kristin (@kristincreates) on
And, for me at least, whenever I get apples, I think of apple pie. Which makes me think of Pushing Daisies, a dark comedy with a silly premise. You know what pie is mentioned most on the show? (Or at least most in my memories?)

Apple pie with gruyere baked into the crust.

Typically something like this would be rather daunting, but at a book fair on the street, I found this wonderful book called How to Build a Better Pie, by Millicent Souris. While I tend to modify the recipes in her book (and I think there's a typo in the basic crust recipe about salt!), I absolutely love how down to earth the tone is.

I've always felt like pies were an undertaking, especially rolling out the dough, and something that should only be accomplished when you have lots of time and space - and maybe someone to clean up after you! But Millicent points out that pies were designed to be simple, and designed to be quickly made, without all the fancy gadgets we think of as necessary in today's kitchen.

Thinking about how many people have baked pies before me has really encouraged my pie baking, and it really shaped this recipe, as I made several attempts before finding one that I just loved. Luckily, I brought back plenty of apples from the orchard.

(Don't worry, no complaints were had as I tested out different recipes!)

Pie Crust
1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
12 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup shredded gruyere
cold water

Apple Filling
4-5 apples (I used braeburn)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp thickener (I use flour - but you can also use cornstarch or arrowroot)

Pie Crust
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Slice the cold butter into chunks and mix it into the flour with your hands, being careful not to let the butter break down too much. You want it to have larger chunks, as it will make the pie crust flakier. Add in the gruyere cheese and mix.

Slowly add cold water. There are always suggestions, but I always find myself going over. I add in cold water about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing carefully and thoroughly. Add in enough so that the dough sticks together, but you also don't want the dough to be too wet - so it shouldn't stick to your hands either. If you find that you added too much water, add more flour back in.

When you're satisfied with your dough, separate it into 2 flattened circles. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Apple Filling
Thinly slice the apples and add them in a large mixing bowl. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and your choice of thickener and toss with the apples. If you're not making the pie right away, add some lemon juice to preserve the color of the apples, though that's completely unnecessary.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Roll out one ball of dough and fit it to your pan. I tend to roll out the dough as flat as I want it to be, then place it carefully in my pan. I'll cut off the excess dough (and freeze and reserve for galettes) and crimp the edges of the pan. Place in the fridge for a bit if the dough becomes too warm.

Pour your apple filling into the pan.

Roll out the 2nd dough ball and place it on top. I made a lattice pie crust, but if you just want to place the entire thing on top, go ahead, but remember to cut in 3 or 4 ventilation slits.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool for one hour.

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