Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple Pie: A Sweet and Simple Reminder that Autumn has Arrived!

From a Smitten Kitchen inspiration, which is aptly named “Simplest Apple Tart” came my best Fall recipe to date.  For the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah it is traditional to serve apples, honey, apples dipped in honey, and all sorts of sweet desserts inspired by these two main ingredients.  Although the feeling of flour dusted countertops and fingers can occasionally make me cringe…a simple pie like this is worth the small amount of effort involved.  I am a huge fan of flat pies: no pans, no drama.  They are rustic and elegant and showcase their main ingredients, rather than hide them away under a crust or a mousse which leaves them to mystery and interpretation.  This pie really has two basic ingredients – a crust and apples.  It’s sprinkled with sugar and brushed with melted butter for effect, but what really shine are the bare essentials of the recipe.

This Rosh Hashanah I was lucky enough to be home with my family and wanted to be sure to bake something delicious.  But with a very health conscience guest list and lots of little children, I didn’t want to go over the top in fat or sugar content.  Not to deny the fact that this is still a dessert, and should be treated as such, it is still a much healthier alternative to some other tempting options.  I also left the peel on the apples because it is SO much easier, a notch better for you and an added flavor bonus (in my opinion). 
I’d love to know what apple recipes are your favorite, so please share!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe which I believe was adapted from one Alice Waters’s Apple Tart:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
6 tblsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
3 ½ tblsp. chilled water

1 ½ lbs. apples (about 5-6 small ones) sliced very thin

*I left the peel on because it is SO much easier, but you can peel them first if you’re that type of person.  I also used tart apples, which I recommend, but sweet ones are great too!  Also, save the apple cores and peels if you want to make the glaze.
1 tbslp. unsalted butter, melted.
3-5 tblsp. sugar for sprinkling on top of the pie before it is baked.

½ cup sugar

For the dough, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the chopped butter, a bit at a time, so that the pieces are coated in the flour mixture and don’t stick together.  Use your fingertips to break up the butter further until the mixture resembles a bowl of little crumbs each no bigger than the size of a pea.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is just about 1/8 of an inch thick.  It should reach about 12 in. in diameter.  Don’t stretch it too thin though or it will tear.  The best trick is to continually move the dough: roll from the center to the end of the circle then pick up the dough and move it slightly one way or the other, then roll from the center to the edge again.  Sprinkle with flour often both underneath the dough and on the rolling pin and you crust will spread easily.  Roll the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to a greased baking sheet.

Starting in the center, arrange the apple slices in a spiral pattern.  Leave about a 1 ½ in. around the apples to then fold over the edges of the pie.  Brush over the melted butter, sprinkle the sugar and bake @ 400°F for about 45 minutes.  It’s best to place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and rotate it halfway through the baking time so that it cooks evenly.

To make a glaze (not necessary, but very good) simmer about 1 cup of water with the apple cores and a ½ cup of sugar for about 20 minutes.  Then spoon the glaze over the pie when it comes out of the oven.


Slowly pour in the water, little by little, as you mix with a spoon until the dough holds together.  Use your hands to gather the dough and form it into a flat disk (about 4 in. in diameter).  If the dough doesn’t form easily, add a bit more water.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for between 30 minutes and a few hours.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...