I have been fixated on one apple pie recipe since high school. I made if for my then boyfriend, fell in love (with the pie more than with him), and then lost the recipe. Craving apple pie, the hunt was on to find my long lost love.
We were renuited on Wolfgang Puck’s website. The recipe is unconventional in that it calls for cooking the apples before putting them in the pie.
Wolfgang’s apples are slightly cooked in brown butter with sugar to make a caramel-like sauce, then topped off with a splash of apple brandy. I add a bit of cinnamon and some flour to thicken the sauce, making the filling absolutely decedent.
And don’t let me forget the crust. I used a Pioneer Woman recipe and it is, hands down, the best pie crust I have ever had. Truly. I am a total novice at baking anything that is not a cookie. Heck, we didn’t even own a rolling pin until our second year of marriage. But even in my baking disaster prone kitchen, The Pioneer Woman does not disappoint.
It was my first try and it ain’t pretty.
But the crust turned out crisp and flaky, tender and golden. Following her steps, the dough was SO easy! Making it in the food processor and rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper made all the difference. Her tutorial is a must see. Just note, I used all butter and no lard for my pie crust.
Brown Butter & Brandy Apple Pie
8 small Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons apple brandy (I use Applejack)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 ½ cups all purpose or pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
¼ cup cold water
1 egg, for brushing the top of the pie
Making the pie filling
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat and allow to take on a golden brown color. When the butter has browned, quickly add the apples and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook for 3 minutes so that the sugar caramelizes, but the apples remain slightly crunchy. Pour the apple brandy over the apples and let the alcohol cook off for a few seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
Make the pie dough: Visit The Pioneer Woman for step-by-step photos
Mix 2 cups of the flour, salt and sugar together lightly in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter chunks and cut into the flour by pulsing the food processor. The mixture should look like large crumbs and begin to cling together in clumps, do not over mix. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour and mix lightly or pulse the processor two or three times. Place the crumbly dough into a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle the water over the dough and with a wooden spoon mix in until dough holds together. (I had to add an additional tablespoon of water to get my dough to come together.) Shape the dough into two discs.
Using two sheets of parchment paper that is at least twelve inches square each, place a disc of dough between them. (If the dough is sticky for any reason, don’t worry. Just sprinkle some flour on the parchment to get started. You shouldn’t have to add much and it will stop sticking.) Starting at the center roll the pin out to the edge. Roll until the dough is about eleven inches in diameter for a nine inch pie dish.
When the dough circle is the desired size (hover the pie pan over the dough to check if the dough circle is large enough) loosen both sheets of parchment by lifting them away and then replacing them on the dough. Keep one sheet of paper on the dough and use it to lift the dough and flip it into the pie dish. Take care to center the dough in the dish. Remove the paper.
Lightly grease a pie tin with nonstick cooking spray. This will make the pie easier to remove when cut. Carefully lift the edges of the dough and scoot the dough into the bottom corners of the dish. Try not to trap any air under the bottom crust. This pie lined dish can go into the refrigerator while the top crust is rolled out in the same fashion with the parchment paper.
Assembling and baking the pie
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Put the apple filling into the dough-lined pie dish. Roll out the top crust in the same way as the bottom crust between the parchment sheets. Transfer the dough onto the pie. Remove the parchment and gently press the dough onto the pie. Press the edges together lightly. Trim off excess dough on the edges so that there is about one inch extending around the pie. Pressing the two crusts together, roll them under and inside the rim of the pie dish. Flute the edges by pinching with fingers into a fancy pattern or simply use a fork. The idea is to seal the edges so the juices stay inside the pie while baking.
Cut some slits in the pie with a knife to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the pie with an egg wash (one egg beaten with one tablespoon of water). Place in heated oven and put a few sheets of foil on the bottom rack to prevent any drips from burning. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the pie with foil to hinder more browning, turn the oven down to 350 and continue baking until the juices in the pie begin bubbling, about 25 minutes.
When the pie is bubbly and golden brown, remove from the oven to cool.
I shared this with
- A Southern Fairytale
- 11th Heaven
- Faith and Family
- Mess Hall to Bistro
- Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday
- Tuesdays at the Table
- What’s cooking Wednesday
- Sweet Tooth Friday
- Sweet Indulgences Sunday
- The Culinary Lens