Two-Crust Caramel Apple Pie

Pies and Tarts

Yield: one 9-inch pie
Recipe: 96/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 86

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     For my birthday we went apple picking as per my request since it is my favorite fall activity, and thus we had a ton of apples chilling in the fridge. The most normal thing to do with so many apples was to make an apple pie. My boyfriend loves caramel even more than he does apples I think, so I decided to try making this caramel apple pie recipe. It is a traditional apple pie but with a caramel flavor. However, I think that I did not let the sugar caramelize long enough because the caramel flavor was more subtle than I would have like. I guess I was worried that the caramel would burn, since the line between a perfect amber caramel and burnt caramel is very fine. Nonetheless, the pie was good, caramel was oozing out of the pie and we destroyed it in a matter of days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 cups peeled and sliced apples, such as Mutsu or Granny Smith
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Turbinado or granulated sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Pulled the chilled pie dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. Lightly dust the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with flour, and place it on a parchment- or foil-lined baking tray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of the pastry to just under ¼ inch thick. Lift the rolled dough, line the pie plate with it and sprinkle the pastry with the oats. Roll out the second disc of pastry to ¼ inch thick and cut a one-inch hole in the centre of the pastry so that the steam can escape as the pie bakes. Chill both the line pie plate and rolled top crust while preparing the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot, bring the water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil the sugar without stirring, ocassionnally brushing the sides of the pot with water, until the sugar caramelizes, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the apples all at once at stir to coat.
  5. Add the butter and cinnamon to the caramel-apple mixture and stir. Once the juices return the a simmer, remove the pot from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Pull the chilled pie shell from the fridge and pour the apples and all the juices into it. Do not worry about the excess liquid, the juices will be absorbed into the apples as the pie bakes.
  7. Top the fruit with the second rolled piece of pie pastry. Trim the excess dough and pinch the edges of the pastries into a decorative pattern, if you so desire.
  8. Whisk the egg with the water, and brush the pie dough with the mixture to obtain a golden brown color as it bakes. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. One the prepared baking tray, bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Let the pie cool at least 3 hours before slicing, or chill to serve cold.

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Valerie

Sable Tart Shell

Foundation recipes

Yield: one 9-inch baked tart shell
Recipe: 91/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 108

    Next up: Lemon Tarte, also known as Tarte au Citron. To do this, of course, requires an appropriate and delicate tart shell.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake and pastry flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter and the icing sugar together until fluffy using a hand or stand mixer.
  2. Stir in the egg, then add in the milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Stir in the flour and salt until the dough comes together as a ball. Note: the dough will be quite sticky.
  4. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and then chill it for at least two hours in the fridge, until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Knead the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to soften it just slightly. Dust the pastry with a little flour and roll in out to just over 11 inches in diameter and just under 1/4 inch thick. Line a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan and trim the dough that hangs over the edges. Chill the pastry for 20 minutes in the fridge, or for 10 minutes in the freezer.
  6. Placed the chilled tart pan on a baking tray. Dock the bottom of the pastry shell with a fork* and bake the dough for 20-24 minutes, until just the edges are golden brown and the centre of the shell looks dry. Cool completely before filling.

Notes from Anna:

  • Fill the tart shell soon after baking it, as it is fragile when not filled. However, the dough can be chilled for up to 3 days and then baked.

Notes from Valerie:

  • *So that the tart shell doesn’t shrink within the tart pan as it bakes, I strongly recommend that you place a layer of parchment paper or aluminium foil over the forked dough, then cover this with pie weights (or something heavy than can withstand high temperatures) to weigh down the shell as it bakes and bubbles.

Valerie

Mincemeat Pie

Pies and Tarts

Yield: one 9-inch pie
Recipe: 78/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 99

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    Like most people, I strongly dislike wasting food. As such, whenever I have some fruits or vegetables, or any other ingredient for that matter, laying around that I know will probably turn bad before I get to consume it, I search for a recipe that I could make to use it up and prevent wastage. Last week I had a combination of apples that were getting soft, raisins, dates and prunes, the last of which I wouldn’t even think of eating just like that. To my surprise, I was able to find a perfect recipe in “Back to Baking” that would allow me to use all of these ingredients! I call upon… the mincemeat pie. Do not be fooled. This is not a meat pie or a “tourtière” in Quebecois, but rather a British dessert consisting of dried fruits, juices and some syrup.

   I had never had mincemeat pie and was very curious to both make it and try it. Fortunately, this recipe was not complicated to make. Essentially put everything in a pot except the maple syrup and honey, then add those until the mixture is bubbling and thickened. The pie looked good, smelled delicious because of the cloves, but… I was left surprisingly disappointed. Now the problem is that since I never had mincemeat pie, I don’t know if I don’t like this pie I made, or if I just don’t like mincemeat pie in general. I think that it is rather the latter. I could tell that the taste was there – sweet but not sickeningly so, but something about the texture made me stop after two bites. I was never really a fan of the texture of dried fruits, but dried prunes specifically is what got me. Nonetheless, I brought this pie at work to hand off to colleagues (Note: worry not, to be fair I did warn them that I personally did not like it), and some brave souls tried it. The novice mincemeat pie eaters thought it was good; no more, no less. However, an older colleague of mine that really enjoys mincemeat pie told me that it was really good and that she was stunned to know that I made the filling myself. What I am trying to convey here is that if you like mincemeat pie, you will probably like this recipe. It is what it is meant to be, it seems!

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough, chilled
  • 2 cups peeled and diced apples (such as Granny Smith), cut in 1 cm pieces
  • 1 cup Thomson raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pitted dates
  • ½ cup chopped pitted prunes
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • ⅓ cup apple juice (or cider)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons quick-cook tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup maple syrup

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. Pulled the chilled pie dough from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to rolling. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead one disc of the pie dough slightly to soften, then roll it out to a circle of about ¼ inch thick. Dust a 9-inch pie plate with flour and place the rolled pastry into the shell. Roll the second disc in the same fashion, place it onto a tray and chill both while preparing the filling.
  3. In a medium saucepot over medium heat, stir the apples, raisins, dates, prunes, walnuts, apple juice (or cider), lemon juice, orange zest, cocoa powder, tapioca and spices until the mixture just begins to bubble.
  4. Add the honey and maple syrup, and stir until the fruits simmer. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Spoon the filling into the chilled pie shell and spread to level. Cut a hole in the centre of the second pastry sheet and place it over the mincemeat. Trim and pinch the edges.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the top of the pie pastry with this egg wash, and place the pie on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the pie for another 45 minutes, or until the crust is an even golden brown. Cool the pie for at least 3 hours before slicing to serve.

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Valerie

Fresh Fruit Pie

Pies and Tarts

Yield: one 9-inch pie
Recipe: 73/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 88

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     Last weekend I got lost in the Jean-Talon market in Montreal. When I say “get lost” I mean that I spent a couple of hours there marvelling at (and buying) all the fresh produce and special delicacies from local farmers. It is only the second time that I go to this wonderful place and I am in love! All that to say that I bought some delicious Fraises du Québec from a nice gentleman and they were screaming to be gently placed in a pie. As mentioned in previous posts, I used to be horrendous at making pie dough and pies in general, for that matter, but I think that I’m getting the hang of it! I love this recipe because it is universal and can be adapted to most fresh fruit that you have in your fridge! The ratios of fruit to sugar to thickener is simply perfect and makes for a scrumptious, fresh-tasting pie whose filling is both adequately juicy and thick at the same time. Briefly, this fresh fruit pie is just right

Ingredients for dough:

Ingredients for filling:

   Fruit                  Quick-cook Tapioca Sugar                     Other                     
Fresh strawberries, quartered (3 cups) 2 tablespoons   1 ½ cups 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh rhubard, diced
(6 cups)
2 tablespoons   1 ¾ cups 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh blueberries (5 cups) 2 tablespoons   1 cup

3 tablespoons lemon juice,

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Fresh raspberries (5 cups) 2 tablespoons   1 ¼ cups

1 tablespoon lemon juice,

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peaches, peeled and sliced (6 cups) 2 tablespoons   1 cup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract,

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

  1. While the pie dough is chilling, toss the fruit with the tapioca and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes so that the tapioca can soften.
  2. Stir in the sugar and “other” ingredients to coat.
  3. Pull the pie dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. Preheat the oven to 400°F and place a lightly floured 9-inch pie plate onto a parchment-lined baking tray.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the first pastry disk to about 1/4 inch thick and line the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the oats over the pastry.
  5. Spoon the prepared filling into the shell. Roll out the remaining pastry disc and cut out a small hole in the centre of the pastry. Placed the rolled pastry overtop the fruit and press the edges together. Trim away any excess dough and pinch the edges. Alternatively, you could use a knife to create slits in the dough or make a lattice pattern. All these methods have as purpose to let some of the steam out of the steaming-hot delicious fruit pie!
  6. Whisk the egg and water together, and brush the surface of the pie dough with the egg mixture. Sprinkle the pie with turbinado sugar if you wish.
  7. Bake the pie on the prepared baking tray for 12 minutes at 400°F, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for about 40 more minutes, just until the crust is a golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before slicing.

Notes from Anna:

  • Quick-cook tapioca is the ideal ingredient to thicken the juices that will cook out of the fruits. It softens quickly and does not impact flavour.
  • Fresh fruits work best than frozen fruits in a pie recipe. Most will be too watery when frozen.

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Valerier

Pumpkin Pie

Pies and Tarts

Yield: one 9-inch pie
Recipe: 54/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 97

1378235_10200101663504558_974163002_nCredit to my little sis Maude for taking this beautiful picture of a slice of my pumpkin pie when I forgot.    

    Third and last dessert of the Thanksgiving weekend: the classic pumpkin pie! I say classic because it seems to be the dessert that everyone makes this time of year, but actually neither I nor any member of my family have ever eaten and much less made a pumpkin pie. Hence, this was my first time making and eating a pumpkin pie. The recipe is pretty straightforward and yields a pie that is colorful, velvety looking and slices perfectly. Unfortunately, I did not like this pie. Now because this was my first time eating a pumpkin pie I’m assuming that pumpkin pie in general is just not my thing. I found the taste to be very rich and not something that I would take more than two bites of. I would perhaps try another slice of pumpkin pie at some point in time to see if I would like it. If you like pumpkin pie though, try this recipe and let me know if you like it! 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough
  • 2 cups plain pumpkin purée
  • 1 tin (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pull the prepared pie dough from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead the pie dough slightly to soften, then roll it out to a circle to about 1/4 inch thick. Dust a nine inch pie plate with flour and place the rolled pastry into the shell. Chill the pie shell while preparing the filling.
  3. For the filling, mix together the pumpkin purée, condensed milk, spices, cream and eggs until evenly blended.
  4. Place the chilled pie plate onto a baking tray and pour in the pumpkin filling.
  5. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the pie for about 40 minutes more, just until the crust is nicely browned and the filling set, but with the centre still jiggling. Cool the pie to room temperature and then chill for at least three hours before serving.

Notes:

  • If using previously prepared pie dough that has been frozen, make sure to take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge the morning that you plan to use it.

Notes from Anna:

  • The pie can be served chilled or warmed at 300°F for 15 minutes.

Valerie