As much as I look forward to the finished product, Pies are something I never seem to get around to trying. Its always been the fear of the pie crust, what if its too soggy, too lumpy..and until last week, these niggling doubts have always sent me packing to the supermarket freezer aisle in search of a great frozen pie crust that did not involve lard.
Turns out, it was Food52 to the rescue again. I came across this ultra simple recipe for pie crust . So unbelievably simple, I kept pinching myself as to the usual, what? how? and 'no way' threads of pleasant surprise that were swimming through my head while I cut up the apples for this years Thanksgiving dessert. The inspiration for the filling was a trip to Terhune Orchards in Princeton to pick up some fabulous organic apples and the consequent reminder of the fabulous Kashmiri Chai style mulled apple cider I had cobbled up.
Cardamom, Ginger Saffron flavored Apple pie
For the pie crust: (From Food52.com)
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8-10 tablespoons ice water
Combine the butter, flour and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly until the mixture appears to resemble bread crumbs . Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing a couple times after each tablespoon. Continue adding water by the teaspoon until the mixture just comes together into a ball of dough. Transfer into a large mixing bowl and gently massage into a ball. Split the dough in half and place each into a re-sealable plastic bag, pat each into a disk. Let the dough sit in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the pie.
1 2 inch piece cinnamon
5-6 cardamom pods, just the seeds
Pulverize the spices in a coffee grinder to a fine powder. Using a tea strainer, sift the blend to remove the gritty bits. Measure out required amount.
For the filling
2 apples each of Granny Smith and Jonathan varieties, peeled, quartered and sliced.
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
12 - 15 strands of saffron, crushed.
1 teaspoon spice blend .
Combine the apples, crystallized ginger, almonds, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, saffron and the spice blend in a large mixing bowl and gently toss to coat the fruit evenly.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove one of the discs of dough from the refrigerator onto a floured surface and roll out into a 10 inch circle. Carefully place the dough onto a buttered pie dish and gently press down the sides. Spoon out the filling into the dough evenly.
Roll out the other half of the dough and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Gently place the shapes over the pie filling to cover the surface of the pie. (& yes, Finn McMissile & Lightning McQueen are perfectly legal!)
Place the pie dish over a large baking sheet covered with Aluminum foil. This ensures that the liquids from the filling do not ooze onto the oven rack and below. Bake the pie in the oven for about 40 - 50 minutes until the crust turns a golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm alongside whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.