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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hard Cider Apple Pie

 Warm, crunchy, cinnamoney goodness all in one bite.  I just couldn't wait any longer to sample this last night.  I made this pie as my dad was coming over for dinner and to do some handy work.  He's a furniture/cabinet maker, and he made me a cabinet door which he installed after a very long wait.  Beautiful woodwork, rewarded by this beautiful Hard Cider Apple Pie.  My Dad is worth so much more!! 

I'm sharing this over at Cake of the Week's September Baking with Spirit Challenge: Cider!  Head on over there for a whole year of boozy baked goods!  Happy Fall!!



Mr. Finch with his birthday Hard Cider Apple Pie.
I first made this pie this fall while I was in Ohio visiting the Finches.  Making a pie in someone else's kitchen caused a bit of pre-baking anxiety, but this pie turned out amazing!  You can use any kind of hard cider you like.  I used Two Rivers, a local Sacramento brewer, and the pomegranate variety really added a bit of tanginess to the cooked apples.  A ~really~ nice balance to the sweet Golden Delicious apples (my apple of choice for all my pies).

Alcohol and Gluten Formation Basics
I used vodka in the crust, but not in the same ratio as Jacqueline used in her Perfect Pie Crust.  Alcohol retards gluten formation, pretty simple.  The more alcohol you use in substitution with water, the more gluten retardation.  More gluten retardation means that your dough will not form as many flour-particle-connecting-webs (chemical bonds, for those baking nerds out there).  This will make your crust VERY flaky.  Too much alcohol and you won't have enough gluten formation.  So, it's a balance you'll need to play with as you make more and more pies!  Note: You can also use 1 tsp of vinegar to retard the gluten formation if you don't want to use vodka. 

Step-by-Step

To make the crust, in a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Dice the cold shortening and butter.  That's butter-flavored Crisco, yup even here on BIWB. ;-)
Toss into the flour to coat each piece. 
Cut the butter and shortening into the flour using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (a bit smaller that peas). 
Sprinkle in the vodka, mix like you’re tossing a salad.  Then add 3 tbsp ice water and mix with a fork, just to moisten.  Sprinkle another 2 tbsp ice water and quickly stir in.  Add just enough of the remaining water in 1 tbsp increments to make a dough that just holds together.  Work quickly to keep the ingredients cold. 
Divide the dough in half and gently press them into two discs, cover each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 30 minutes). 
I used Golden Delicious apples and Two Rivers Pomegranate Hard Cider.  Yummy and crisp combination.  Had I been making this pie for myself, I would have throw in some pomegranate seeds (left overs from last weekend's revisit of my Pomegranate Cosmo Cupcakes).  Thanks to Nancy (the follower with the kitty photo on your right) for the gift of the Two Rivers...I'm hooked!
To make the filling, combine the apple slices, hard cider, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and salt in a large stockpot.  This is a shot of my very cool nutmeg grinder.  Yeah, I love nifty kitchen gadgets. 
Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often until the sugar dissolves and the apples are thickly coated, about 5 minutes. 
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp hard cider and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.  It's pink because of the pomegranate.
Add this mixture to the apples and boil for 1 or 2 minutes until the liquid is thick and clear.  Removed the pot from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes. 
To roll out the dough, remove one disc from the refrigerator.  On a well-floured surface, roll out the disc to 12 inches for a 9 inch pie pan.  I use my grandmother's, Bambi, rolling pin.  She made some amazing pies...Just wished I'd had the chance to watch her so I'd know her secrets.  As I was rolling this out, Dad commented that Bambi made the best pies and pie crust.  I'm hoping that there is more good pie crust karma in this rolling pin.  I have no doubt that it's at least 60 years old.   
Pour the apple mixture into the crust and dot with 2 tbsp butter cut into pieces.  Roll the second disc into a 11 inch circle and transfer to the top of the pie. 
Pinch the edges together, trim any excess to 1/2 inch and crimp as you like.    Transfer to the refrigerator for 1 hour.  The idea here is to chill down that filling so that the crust and the filling are the same temperature.
Preheat oven to 425 F.  Cut 3 vents in the top.  Brush the top of the pie with the milk or cream and sprinkle the sugar on top.  My mom taught me to do this, even on a store-bought frozen pie.
Bake as directed and here is what you get!  SO worth it!
Can you smell it?
Hard Cider Apple Pie

Makes one 9 inch pie

For the crust
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt (regular salt, not kosher)
5 tbsp unsalted butter cut into a dice, keep chilled
5 tbsp Crisco shortening (regular or butter flavor)
1 tbsp vodka
5-6 tbsp ice water (water with ice cubes)
Cream or milk and sugar (white or raw-demerara) for the top

For the filling
2 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples (for a tart apple, use Granny Smith), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices
2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp hard cider, divided (I used Two Rivers, yum!)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Juice of half a lemon or 1 tbsp lemon juice (zest optional)
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp unsalted butter (to dot the top of the filling)

Directions
To make the crust, in a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening into the flour using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (a bit small that peas).  Sprinkle in the vodka, mix like you’re tossing a salad.  Then add 3 tbsp ice water and mix with a fork, just to moisten.  Sprinkle another 2 tbsp ice water and quickly stir in.  Add just enough of the remaining water in 1 tbsp increments to make a dough that just holds together.  Work quickly to keep the ingredients cold.  Divide into two discs, cover each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 30 minutes).

To make the filling, combine the apple slices, 2/3 cup hard cider, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and salt in a large stockpot.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often until the sugar dissolves and the apples are thickly coated, about 5 minutes. 

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp hard cider and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.  Add this mixture to the apples and boil for 1 or 2 minutes until the liquid is thick and clear.  Removed the pot from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes. 

To roll out the dough, remove one disc from the refrigerator.  On a well-floured surface, roll out the disc to 12 inches for a 9 inch pie pan.  Carefully transfer the dough to the pie plate.  Pour the apple mixture into the crust and dot with 2 tbsp butter cut into pieces.  Roll the second disc into a 11 inch circle and transfer to the top of the pie.  Pinch the edges together, trim any excess to 1/2 inch and crimp as you like.  But 3 vents in the top.  Transfer to the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Lucy says to put in the freezer.  The idea here is to chill down that filling so that the crust and the filling are the same temp. 

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Brush the top of the pie with the milk or cream and sprinkle the sugar on top.  Bake for 20 minutes and reduce the temperature to 375 F.  Bake for 40 minutes more, until the crust is brown and you see bubbles of filling coming through the vents.  Cool on a rack until you can’t stand it anymore.  Enjoy!
Bambi would be proud.

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7 comments:

  1. I need to try a crust with alcohol! It looks AWESOME. Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday. :)

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  2. Give it a try, Dorothy! You will ~love~ it as a crust lover...And, who doesn't love crust, anyway? Also, next time I will use 1/2 vodka and 1/2 ice water. Thanks for CSTs and for ALL your help today!

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  3. I done a crust with vodka before and it comes out so flaky. This pie looks scrumptious and one my hubby would surely like! XOXO

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  4. Ellen, this pie looks scrumptious! I felt like I had smellavision just looking at that golden cinnamon crust--delish! I'll take 9 pies to go now, please :)

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  5. I can't wait to try vodka in my pie crust and of course the hard cider in the pie filing, double yum! pinned.

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  6. This pie looks so good that I'm salivating over the pictures. I never knew that about alcohol and gluten, so thanks for the useful fact! I really want to try pomegranate cider now, too. Thanks so much for entering BWS!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This pie looks so good that I'm salivating over the pictures. I never knew that about alcohol and gluten, so thanks for the useful fact! I really want to try pomegranate cider now, too. Thanks so much for entering BWS!

    ReplyDelete

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