About a week ago, I decided to try a new recipe out of my Serendipity cookbook. The recipe looked interesting as it had a new pie crust that looked interesting, and I was eager to try something new.
Here’s the recipe (as I couldn’t find it online anywhere):
For the Crust:
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup cold water
For the Filling:
- 1 large egg, separated
- 5 large Red Delicious or Johnathan Gold apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
For the Topping:
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 cups walnut halves
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- To make the crust: Have two identical 9 inch pie pans ready. Add the butter and flour to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal. Add the cheddar cheese and process briefly to blend. With the machine running, pour in the cold water in a steady stream. Process just long enough to completely blend. The mixture will have the texture of cake batter, not a traditional flaky pie crust.
- Scrape two-thirds of the batter into one pie pan. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the mixture firmly onto the base and up the sides of the pan, forming a uniform crust about 1/4-inch thick. Place the remaining batter in a small bowl. Refrigerate both until firm, about 1 hour.
- Remove the firmed crust and remaining batter from the refrigerator. Keeping your hands generously dusted with flour, take small bits of batter from the bowl and mold a rim atop the pie pan edge, taking care to completely join the rim with the main crust. (The rim will prevent this very soft dough from sinking during baking.) Work quickly as the batter can get soft; if it does, simply refrigerate it again.
- Place the entire crust in the refrigerator to firm again. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the crust is firm, line it with parchment paper. Set the second pie plan on top of the parchment, so that the two pans are stacked. Fill the top pan with pie weights.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is partially baked and lightly golden. Remove the upper pan and parchment paper, and cool the crust completely on a rack. You may store the crust at this point, wrapped in plastic.
- To make the filling: preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the egg yolk over the entire rim of the partially-baked pie crust. In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, cinnamon stick, and juice. Cover and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and drain, reserving the juice for another use (if desired).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg white with the vanilla, cake flour, sugar, and sour cream, and whisk to blend. Add the drained apples and mix to coat completely. Transfer the apples to the shell with a slotted spoon. Pour in as much of the liquid as will fit; you may not need it all.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the liquid has mostly firmed up.
- Meanwhile, make the topping: In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with a handheld mixer until light. Add the walnuts and blend. Add the flour and cinnamon and beat 30 seconds more. Refrigerate until needed.
- Remove pie from oven and cover with topping. You may not need all the topping. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the topping is browned. Transfer to a rack and cool completely, serve at room temperature.
So, I eagerly went to work trying to make this interesting new pie crust. It really is quite difficult. I also think I had the wrong shaped pie pan. Plus I was using greaseproof paper instead of parchment paper. Basically it was a nightmare. The crust is quite soft, so a lot of the crust kind of melted off the pie pan and onto the baking sheet below it. The greaseproof paper also stuck to the crust, so there was no saving it there either. I did try a bit of it, and it tasted kind of like a cheese biscuit that you can get here in the UK. Basically, there was nothing I could do. I had already made the filling, so the pie needed to be made! The apples choices on the recipe list weren’t available here in the UK (no surprise), so I opted for a Bramley cooking apple which they have everywhere in the UK. I noticed that a lot of apple pie recipes from the UK seem to use these apples, so I figured it would be a good substitute.
So I whipped up a regular pie crust. I went ahead and tried the Cook’s Illustrated Pie Crust recipe that I used for the Strawberry Pie I made a few weeks before. I thought I’d give it one more try. I made the pie crust, and I probably should have let it set a bit longer as it was a bit soft and tricky to work with, but I managed to get it into the pie pan. I added the filling and baked! Then the topping.
The pie was actually delicious! I also made some fresh homemade whipped cream for the top. The cream is quite simple, and also from the serendipity cookbook. To 1 cup of whipping cream, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn syrup (or golden syrup in the UK) and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, then whip until soft peaks form. The pie crust was better than it was before, and probably due to the longer baking time. It leads me to believe that I should try it one more time just to see which recipe is better. I think if I make it for a strawberry pie again, or something that doesn’t require baking, then I need to make sure to bake the crust longer than I had before, as it really wasn’t as nice as it could have been for that pie.
I also need to get another pie plate similar to the one I already had to attempt this recipe again. I really want to try it with the cheesy pie crust that it is supposed to have instead of the substitute I ended up using. Oh and here’s a few pictures: