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Before and After

December 15, 2010

Here is the before part of the before and after.  These apples turned into the BEST apple pie in the world.  Seriously.  The best.  I’m not even bragging.  It’s not my recipe.  The pie was just that damn good, and pretty too – which is handy around the holidays.  People expect your cooking to suddenly taste and LOOK impressive.  And believe me, it does.  What?  You don’t believe me?  Check out the after photo.

Things are getting repetitious, I know, but this is yet another Cook’s Illustrated Recipe.  Those people know what they’re doing.  I can’t help but reference their cookbooks anytime I embark on a new project.  This wasn’t even a new project, really.  I just needed a crumble recipe for the top of my apple pie.  And thank GOD!  Otherwise, my pie would have been short about half of the apples and all of the flavor.  I did make a few tweaks, and would probably make more the next time around.  It could definitely use more cinnamon, some nutmeg and cloves. . . . So, without further ado, here’s the recipe. . . Oh, what was that?  You wanted to see what the pie looks like?  Oh, well, okay. . .

Now, let’s make some pie. . .

Dutch Apple Pie

1 single crust pie dough

Streusel                                                                                                                                                                         

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 T. yellow cornmeal (makes this streussel AWESOME – don’t leave it out)
6 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling
2 T. unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds (5 to 7) firm tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4″ slices
2 pounds (4 to 6) firm sweet apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4″ slices
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. heavy cream

I have to say, before we begin that I left out the raisins, so I swapped and used more sweet apples, less tart. . . and it wasn’t very sweet at all. So, you may want to use even MORE sweet apples if you leave out the raisins. . . or maybe you could just use the raisins like the recipe says. . . that would be a novel idea.

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375. Line the chilled crust with a double layer of aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (or dried beans – whatever’s handy). Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color, 25 – 30 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and remove the foil and pie weights (or beans). Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position.
2. For the Streussel: Mix the flour, sugars and cornmeal together in a medium bowl, then drizzle with the melted butter. Stir the streussel with a fork until roughly combined.
3. For the filling: Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened, about five minutes. Stir in the raisins (or not) and continue to cook, covered, until some of the apples have begun to break down, about 7 minutes longer.
4. Drain the apples thoroughly through a colander, reserving the juice. Combine the drained juice and cream in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until very thick and reduced by half, about three minutes.
5. Spread the apples inthe baked pie crust and drizzle with the cream mixture. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top. Place the pie in the oven and bake until the crust and streusel have browned, about 25 minutes. Let the pie cool on a wire rack until the filling has set, about 2 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Now, would you like to see what it looks like after the pretty photos are done?  Before I decide to skip the morning ritual of Grape Nuts and indulge in apple pie and vanilla ice cream, just because it’s Thursday?

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