Apple Pie w/Apple Whiskey Pie Crust #PiDay
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
It’s 3.14 today … Pi Day … an annual event we love to celebrate at my house because we love math … and we love pie.
But I have a confession to make: I have a HUGE pie crust phobia (resulting from a bad pie experiment I did as a child), so I very rarely make pie. This year, since it’s the Pi Day of the Century (3.1415), I decided I NEED to make a pie, and I didn’t want to cheat with a store-bought pie crust either. I wanted to make my own crust, one that is perfectly flaky and wonderful. I had heard that there is a foolproof way to make a pie crust … with vodka. I was intrigued. I looked it up and found an article from Scientific American verifying the science behind this ingenious method:
When liquids are added to flour, two wheat flour proteins–gliadin and glutenin–form gluten, which can toughen the dough. So how do you bind fat and flour together but avoid gluten formation? The trick appears to be using a hard liquor such as vodka–since 80 proof vodka is only 60% water, it combines the dough but doesn’t contribute to gluten formation.
In the article, they mentioned it doesn’t have to be vodka, it can be ANY kind of alcohol. Oh man, you mean if I’m making an apple pie, I can use this fabulous apple whiskey I happen to have on hand and not only will the filling be full of apples, the crust will have an apple flavor too? And I won’t be able to mess it up? This is definitely the crust recipe for me!
I made an attempt at drafting the π symbol (tracing it with my knife) in the top crust and my daughter (the artist) took one look and told me that would not do. No matter … we have an eraser! I rolled the rolling pin over my failed attempt. My daughter took over from there, making one of her artistically perfect π symbols, and so you see her handiwork here before you.
The crust turned out delicious. I was pleased. I called my dad to tell him about it because I was so excited that I’d finally “mastered” pie crust. He makes perfect pie crusts all the time, so he wasn’t the least bit interested. Well, perhaps he was a tiny bit interested … he liked the idea of the extra flavoring in the crust. And he said that he was sad he wasn’t here to have a slice of my pie. Me too! I would love to share it with him.
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoons sugar
- 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup cold apple whiskey (I used Winter Jack from Jack Daniel's)
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 6 - 7 cups of peeled, sliced apples
- 1 Tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon EACH: allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cardamom
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Add the flour, salt and sugar to a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
- Cut the cold butter up into small pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times, then whir a bit to break it all up into tiny bits.
- Add the shortening in small chunks and pulse some more, then whir again.
- Dump the flour mixture into a medium or large mixing bowl and sprinkle the whiskey on top, stirring to mix, then the water and stir to mix. Push down on the mixture to get it to press together.
- Break the dough in half and shape each into a 4-inch disc with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 3 days.
- To make the filling: peel and slice the apples, tossing them with the lemon juice and vanilla in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the cinnamon, spices, and flour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out the pie crusts, letting the dough warm slightly before rolling. Transfer one crust to cover the bottom of your pie pan, then add the apples. Pour the sugar/flour mixture over the apples and gently lift some of the apples to let the flour mixture sift through the apples. Dot the top with butter.
- Cover with the other crust, cutting holes into the top crust, then pinch together the edges of the crust. If you like, brush the top of the pie crust with a little milk or egg white and dust with raw sugar.
- Cover the edges of the pie loosely with foil, then bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 25 minutes longer, until the pie is perfectly browned on top.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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