Sunday, November 23, 2014
Today is Alexi’s birthday. As he played Minecraft with the boys and I drew up a shopping list for Thanksgiving, I thought about the times when his birthday has fallen on the holiday. He turned thirty on a Thanksgiving; we were newlyweds. We flew to Boston the day before and then drove in anemic sunlight and frost and through stark white birch trees to his grandfather’s farm in New Hampshire; I lugged his present - a colossal atlas - across the country. He lugged it back.
As I went to jot down the ingredients for Deb's deep dish apple pie I was convinced I had already shared the recipe; I couldn’t believe it when my archives told me otherwise. Time to fix that. It requires a full five pounds of sliced apples, and is worth every minute of labor required.
PS - If you’re feeling like practicing your German, my blog was featured in today’s ZEITmagazin.
Terrific Advent calendar ideas.
Stories that bind us: the twenty questions.
Deepest Dish Apple Pie
slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
For the crust:
2 ½ cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons (225 grams or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
½ cup (120 ml) ice-cold water
5 pounds (2 ¼ kg), or 13-14 medium, assorted varieties of apples - 3 pounds Golden Delicious; 2 pounds baking apples of your choosing
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 1/3 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
To make the crust:
Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch sides with oil. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and then add to the flour mixture. Combine with quick pulses until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. (Alternatively, in a large, wide bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and scatter it over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.) Drizzle the cold water over the mixture, and mix with a flexible spatula until the dough becomes a craggy mass. Knead the dough and any loose bits together, working quickly to form it into a ball. Wrap the dough ball tightly in plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for two hours or up to a week.
When you’re ready to make your pie, dust your counter generously with flour, place the dough on it, sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, and begin to roll it out into a circle large enough to fit a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch sides. Keep the dough moving at all times, rolling it twice, lifting it, and rotating it a quarter turn, repeating until it is the desired size and shape. If the dough sticks to the counter, slide a spatula underneath it and lift the dough enough to dust the counter with more flour. If the dough becomes soft, it will be harder to roll and will be more likely to stick, so slide it onto the back of a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Fold the rolled dough gently in half and then gently in half again, then lift it into your prepared springform pan. Unfold the dough, press it against the sides and along the bottom of the pan, and trim off any overhanging dough. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the streusel and filling.
To make the streusel: Sift together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter and stir until large clumps form. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
To make the filling: peel, core, and chop each apple into eight wedges. Thinly slice each wedge crosswise into pieces no more than ¼ inch thick. (The small pieces are necessary so that the apples will fill the crust, edge to edge, as fully as possible.) Place the apples into a very large bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice over them. Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and then sprinkle the mixture over the apples and toss well. Add the apple filling to the prepared crust, a quarter at a time, using a spatula to spread the apples as evenly as possible in the prepared pie crust.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove it just long enough to sprinkle the prepared streusel over the top of the pie, pressing it into the apples if needed. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F and bake the pie for another 60 minutes. If the streusel begins to brown too soon, cover it with foil, removing the foil for the last few minutes of baking.
Allow the pie to cool to lukewarm in the springform pan. When ready to serve, gently cut away any part of the crust that has stuck to the outside of the springform, then loosen the clamp of the ring and remove it. Slide the pie onto a serving plate and refrigerate overnight, or serve immediately.
Yield: 12-16 servings