Bob loves pie… but despite his love of the culinary arts, he's just never had the patience to tackle cooking's more finicky cousin. In fact, he has never baked a pie in his life! This week, his challenge will be to take a deep breath, raise his rolling pin high, and perfect the art of baking home made apple pie. He'll be competing against veteran grannies in the Shelburne Orchard's Annual Apple Pie Baking contest in Vermont. Bob will have to join the apple harvest for a couple of backbreaking day - all the better to become one with his material. His reward? Fresh air, all the crisp, organic Vermont apples he can eat and no more store bought pie.
1. A few hours in advance of when you plan to make your pie, fry up enough bacon to yield ¼ cup bacon fat and refrigerate fat until solid. Eat bacon.
2. If you have the time and the cow, milk cow and churn butter from about 2 cups fresh heavy cream. Refrigerate to chill.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Dice cold bacon fat and butter into quarter-inch cubes and work into flour mixture using a pastry blender or two table knives until fat is the size of small peas.
2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water evenly over flour and toss mixture with a fork until all flour is moistened. Add more ice water gradually until a handful of dough comes together when squeezed. Do not overwork dough. You should still be able to see small but distinctive pieces of butter.
3. Gather dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate while preparing filling, at least 30 minutes.
1. Peel, core and slice apples about one-eighth-inch thick. (You should have about 10 to 12 cups).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together cinnamon, nutmeg, white and maple sugars, flour, and cornstarch. Toss apples in mixture to coat.
3. (You can skip this next step - see testing note.) In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add apple brandy (do not pour straight from the bottle).
4. Remove pan from heat and carefully light alcohol on fire with a long kitchen match or grill-starter. Let it flame until it burns out. Pour brandy mixture over apples and toss to coat evenly.
Construct and bake pie:
1. Preheat oven to 450° F with a pizza stone (see testing note below) set on the rack one below the top slot. Lightly butter your pie plate. (Blumer used a 10-inch enameled cast iron pie plate.)
2. Remove chilled pie dough from refrigerator and divide it in half. Form each half into a disk. Re-wrap one and put it back into the refrigerator. Using a dusting of flour on your rolling surface and your rolling pin, roll dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Roll from the center out and pick up dough and rotate it frequently to prevent sticking and help roll it evenly with flour as needed, but use as little as possible.
3. Drape dough over rolling pin to transfer to pie plate.
4. Pile filling into pie crust, pressing down to fill crust well.
5. Roll out second ball as above for top crust and cut 4 to 6 vents in crust. Lay top crust over filling and trim excess edges with kitchen shears. Crimp edge of pie together decoratively.
6. Add cut-outs made from trimmed dough if desired. Brush top of pie with egg wash making sure not to paint vents shut (re-cut them if necessary).
7. Use a long, thin piece of foil to fashion a protective border for your crust edge.
8. Bake pie on preheated pizza stone for 12 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F and bake for another 45 to 50 minutes, removing foil edge protector about 20 minutes before end of baking time. Pie is done when crust is golden and apples give to a sharp knife when checked through a vent.
9. Cool for about one hour before serving.
1. Adapted from Bob Blumer, "Glutton for Punishment" Free Press testing note: You want bacon that is not heavily smoked. Blumer used Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon; it took us only 5 slices (about 5 ounces) to yield one-quarter cup fat. If you prefer not to use bacon fat, just use 4 more tablespoons of butter.
2. A pizza stone is not mandatory but it helps ensure the bottom crust is done when the top is. If you don’t have one, you might want to move the oven rack down one setting to get the bottom crust closer to a heat source.
3. You can skip the flaming brandy if you don’t like to set things on fire in your kitchen. Just cut the tablespoon of butter into small bits and scatter it over the top of the filling.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (408g)|
|Recipe Makes: 10|
|Calories from Fat: 815 (72%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 90.6g||121 %|
|Saturated Fat 55.1g||275 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 24.2g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 4.1g|
|Cholesterol 245.8mg||76 %|
|Sodium 23.8mg||1 %|
|Potassium 350.2mg||9 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 79.4g||23 %|
|Dietary Fiber 6.8g||27 %|
|Sugars, other 72.6g|
|Protein 7.1g||10 %|
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Calories per serving: 1134
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