November 11, 2012

Drunken Apple Pie

Me and pie, we have some issues. Well, not so much pie, as pie crust. I can't make it. I've got this mental block. I mean I make it, but then it won't roll out because it's hard, or I roll it out and it sticks to everything, or I don't roll it out thin enough, or I can't get it to roll out in a circle, and it's too long one way and too short the other, or I'm incompetent and can't manage to get it in the tin right.

And then I'll be watching a show on the cooking channel about pie and they'll be all, oh, it's so easy to make your own crust. And then when you roll it out, you just wrap it on the rolling pin and just drape it over the tin. And I'm like, that does sound easy, Kelsey. Thanks! And then I try it and it's an epic fail and I'm reduced to tears, sobbing over the mess that I was sure this time was going to be a beautifully flaky pie crust.

But you guys see that excessively ugly pie up there? Do you see it? Do you know why it's so ugly? Because I made pie crust! Successfully. Cut in cold butter, sprinkled ice cold water, rolled out with a rolling pin, crimped the edges and everything.

And of course, it had vodka in it.

Yes, you read that right. See, I was looking through the Dash magazine that comes in the Sunday paper, and they were giving Thanksgiving tips, and the last one was all, pie crust is so finicky. So they were all, we swear by this recipe and vodka is the magic ingredient! And it worked.
So I had my vodka pie crust, what should I put in it? My brother says, "How about drunken apples?"

Genius runs in the family.

And then my father wanted raisins in it, but I could only find one little box of raisins, so I decided to make mini pies. I put raisins in one, toffee bits in the other, and kept the third plain apple. This is the raisin one. Can you see the R that I carved in the crust?

And believe it or not, this is the best looking of the three pies. Well, in the tin, the plain apple one looked better, but when I took it out, well...
Dammit man, keep it together!

My drunken apples imbibed a little too heavily there. Or it could have been baked longer. Heh.

...What's that? You want to see the one with the toffee bits? No, you don't. No, you really, really don't. It looks like something out of a cheesy horror movie about baked goods.

...Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Quick, get out of here! The vodka crust will only hold it back for so long. Save yourselves!

Got the patchwork top crust holding back something lurking in the depths of the apple pie filling. It looks like it's going to explode any minute now.

Yeah, this one's looking better and better, huh?
 Of course, who really cares what the outside looks like? Like any dessert, it's what's on the inside that counts.
Mmm, boozey apples....

Spiced Piecrust {Printable Version}
Yield: 2 piecrusts


2 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. apple pie spice
1 tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small chunks
4 tbsp. solid white vegetable shortening (Crisco), chilled and cut into small chunks
2 tbsp. vodka
Approx. ¼ cup ice cold water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture looks like wet sand, and there are no pieces bigger than small peas. With a fork, mix in the vodka and just enough of the water that the dough comes together and is slightly tacky. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into disks, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a minimum of 45 minutes, or up to two days. Roll out as desired on a well-floured surface.

Tip: Whenever you have to handle the dough, make sure to only use the tips of your fingers. This is the coolest part of your hand, and will help keep the butter from melting.

Recipe adapted from Dash Magazine

Drunken Apple Pie {Printable Version}
Yield: 3 mini deep dish pies (or 1 regular 9 inch pie)

6-7 apples peeled and chopped into ½ inch pieces (approximately 6 cups)
Juice of 1 orange
¼ cup flour
2 tbsp. rum
2 tbsp. brown sugar*
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. apple pie spice
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 recipe Spiced Piecrust
Raisins, toffee bits, or dried cranberries, if desired, 1-2 oz. per mini pie
Water, for brushing, and cinnamon sugar, or 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the apples with the orange juice immediately after chopping to prevent browning. In a large mixing bowl, mix the apples with the flour, rum, sugar, cornstarch, spices, and vanilla, making sure the apples are well coated. If desired, add mix-ins, such as raisins. You can also divide the filling into 3 equal parts first and add a different mix-in to each.

Roll out the piecrust on a well-floured surface to approx. ¼ inch thickness. Cut 3 circles about 2-3 inches larger than the lip of the mini pie tins for the bottom crusts. For the top crusts, cut 3 circles about ½ an inch larger than the lip of the pie tins. Line the tins with the bottom crusts, and divide the filling equally between them. Place the top crusts over the filling and seal the two crusts together, pinching them with your fingers, or pressing the edges together with a fork dipped in flour.

Brush the tops of each pie with water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, or brush each with the egg
wash. Score the tops with a sharp knife, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 30-35 minutes,
until the filling is bubbling, and the crust is golden brown.

*Depending on how sweet your apples are, this amount may need to be adjusted.

Recipe by Kim