What is more American than apple pie, I ask you?
Well, a lot of things, really. Many of them NOT GOOD. But apple pie is one of those gold standard things that gets thrown around all the time in feel good shows and speeches. "Baseball and apple pie" are go-tos for the "ideal American simplicity" of the 50s.
But apple pie really isn't an American construct. Just one that we have somewhat perfected.
So is it un-American to say that I don't like apple pie that much? Now don't get me wrong - I will never ever turn my nose up at a fresh, still warm slice of apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But if I'm given a choice of pies, apple is generally going to be mid to bottom of the list of which one I want.
Why, you might be wondering, did I decide that my double crusted fruit pie should be an apple pie, then? Because I had a ton of apples that needed to get used up!
I was also somewhat enamored with the idea of an apple & marzipan pie. As I have previously mentioned (in the cake that shall not be named post), I really adore marzipan. When the idea for apple & marzipan came up in series 4 (Netflix Collection 2) episode 4. It was pie and tart week in the tent, and the Signature Challenge for the weekend was a double crusted pie.
A double crusted pie, if the name didn't make it clear, is a pie with both a top and bottom crust. Pretty straightforward. I've made pies before. I used a Mary Berry pie crust recipe, but I'll be honest...I found it pretty bland and a little lacking for the pie as a whole. I would recommend just using your favorite pie crust recipe if you have one. In the recipe below I've add a couple of things that I think would probably improve the pie crust.
The filling was something of a cobbled together recipe from previous apple pies I've made and recipes I've played with and a bit of sleuthing on the episode to see how Ruby put hers together.
For the crust:
1) Make the pie crust. You can do this the night before if you want to break up the pie making process. Add the flour and butter to a food processor/stand mixer bowl. Pulse until it begins to resemble fine breadcrumbs. Alternately, add them to a regular bowl and begin to work the butter into the flour with your fingertips. To keep from warming the butter too much, you can run cold water over your hands and then dry them thoroughly right before you begin. Chilling the butter and the bowl also helps.
2) Add the water to the bowl one tablespoon at a time, incorporating the apple cider vinegar with one of those first spoonfuls if you decide to use it. You can stop adding water when the dough just comes together in a soft mass. It will still be a bit crumbly, and that's OKAY. You're going to work out those crumbly bits soon enough.
3) At this point, you have two options.
4) While the pie crust is resting, start on the filling. Prep your apples. I don't worry with peeling mine, but if you don't like apple skin, peel away. Core the apples and slice them. Your slices aren't going to be uniform, but you're hoping for similar thicknesses.
5) Toss the apple slices into the ziploc bag along with the spices, and sugar. Seal the bag and give the contents a good toss to mix it all up and get the apples nicely coated. Leave the apples to macerate at room temperature for an hour, turning the bag and giving it a good mix every fifteen minutes or so.
6) There should be a decent amount of liquid pooled in the bag after an hour, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of liquid. Drain the juice into the pot, and heat over medium heat until it has thickened and reduced by half. You will want a SMALL pot for this to make it easier to tell. Just fyi. Set aside to cool, and then pour over the apple slices. Sprinkle with cornstarch and gently toss. You're going to have a funky, gooey coating for your apples.
7) Preheat your oven to 200C/400F (390 F if you want to be REALLY precise, but it's not a big deal).
8) It's time to roll out the other half of your pie crust! This will be the lid to your pie. Roll your lid out into a thin circle, approximately 12 inches in diameter. Set aside.
9) Cut your marzipan into small cubes or similar. I wound up doing a mixture of cubes and thin strips in order to be able to tuck the marzipan into gaps created by the apples.
10) Time to grab your pie crust from the fridge. Start lining the bottom of your pie with apples - about 1/3 of them. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the marzipan over the apples, arranging it so there's as even a distribution as you can manage. Repeat this process two more times, mounding the apples toward the middle of the pie. Pour the excess syrup over the apples and marzipan.
11) Fold your pie crust lid into the fan shape and then unfold it atop the pie. Trim off the excess dough until there is only about an inch of overhang. Save the trimmings to make decorations, or don't. Tuck the overhanging dough under the edge of the bottom crust. Crimp the edges of the dough together around the rim of the pie pan. Be as decorative or not as you want.
12) Cut a couple of slits in the top of the dough to allow for venting of steam. If you made pie dough decorations, afix them by lightly rubbing some water or egg wash on the side you want to stick to the pie. Place your pie on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (mostly just in case your pie volcanoes).
13) Give your pie an egg wash and sprinkle some extra granulated sugar on the top of it. Or do like I did and completely forget the egg wash until after the pie has already been in the oven for ten minutes. It's fine. Pop it in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Rotate midway through baking. If it starts to brown too much, cover it with foil and continue baking.
14) Remove from oven to a wire rack and allow to cool completely (this took around 4 hours for my pie). Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream (or on it's own).
Pie baking isn't really a new experience for me, so I feel like I don't have a ton to contribute at the end of the post that I didn't already mention in my ingredient and method write up. Pies are delicious and rewarding and honestly not that difficult to make.
The biggest thing is having patience. You need to rest and chill your dough. A good, long, overnight rest will do your pie some good, but it's okay if you don't have the forethought or time for that. I just rested my dough for the time it took my apples to macerate the day I made this pie.
The marzipan makes for a nice almond sweetness mixed in with the apples, but overall I just really don't like apple pie that much. I may make this again with a different fruit filling to go with the marzipan, because I DO think the marzipan worked delightfully.
Decorating the pie was fun, and not really hard. It was fiddly, but honestly the results were really lovely for how little effort I put into those roses and leaves. I think I will have fun playing with pie decorations in the future!
That's all from me for today, but be on the lookout for the next post, which will feature Jaffa Cakes!
I've also recently tackled Fraisier Cake again, so the follow-up post for that bake will be coming soon.