Apple pie just seems like the right thing to do in the fall. Looking for some way to add something new - I decided to try out the Dutch Apple Pie recipe with some modifications from Cook's IllustratedFall Entertaining (2009 cover recipe - still on the shelf). Check out the magazine for the full recipe. It's worth the $8.
This recipe breaks the process down into three parts: the bottom crust, the apples, and the streussel topping. This proved to be helpful on a busy day that made me leave the kitchen several times between steps.
Crust: baked blind, and using cold vodka for part of the water. Very smart. You can get vodka much colder than water! If you don't keep it cold, measure it into a small ziplock and throw it into your freezer while you get everything else together. Scate's Tip: I used pear vodka.
Apples: The apples are cooked down in a big dutch oven before assembling the pie. This is a great way to manage the amount of liquid that goes into the finished product.
Scate's Tip: you need liquid! After cooking down the apples, if you don't have much liquid left over, add about 1/4 cup of apple cider to the cream. This will really help your pie meld together. Also, I don't like raisins with apples - so I used finely chopped dried apricot. It added a nice color and was really perfect for this pie.
Scate's Tip: Check out your farmer's market for apples! I was able to chat with a woman from the farm - she knew everything there was to know about apples and apple pie. It was really helpful. I got some harrelson and something else that was soft... I can't remember! Look for a mix of crisp and soft, and sweet and tart.
Streussel: mixed with a little bit of white cornmeal! This made it retain the crunch even after sitting on the counter for a bit.
Scate's Tip: Avoid over mixing - you want the lumbs to create a great topping.