Classic Apple Pie

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I don't know who Genevieve Riordan was, but apparently she was a good enough cook to be featured in a Craig Claiborne New York Times cookbook back in the 1960s, and from what I've been able to find on the internet, it seems she was just a woman who owned a pie stand somewhere between New York City and wherever Claiborne's beach house was located. Honestly, it's a simple recipe with a classic apple pie flavour, but the classics are classics for a reason, right?*

Because this recipe is pretty simple (I mean, as simple as any apple pie recipe can be- you still have to peel and slice a load of apples, but there's no parcooking, no prebaking the crust, and no watery filling to contend with at the end), I opted to go fancy with my crust, making a plaited decoration that took me ages to finish but was really fun to do.

If you're looking for a more traditional alternative for your pi(e) day celebration this week than the sugary wonder I presented to you last week, this is your pie. Make it and enjoy by itself, warm with ice cream, or, as Eleanor's family always did, with a slice of cheddar cheese. Happy pi day!

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*On an episode of The Great British Bake Off focused on American bakes, a food historian was interviewed who posited that when British soldiers in World War II were asked why they fought, they claimed 'King and country' as their motivation, but when American soldiers were asked the same question, their response was 'mom and apple pie.' I feel like maybe Americans need to broaden our mindsets a little?

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The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. Slice those apples as thin as you can and your finished pie will be dense with apple flavour and toasty cinnamon.

one year ago: Mocha Cake with Caramel Frosting
two years ago: Honey Chocolate Cake
three years ago: Dressed-Up Tomato Soup

the recipe:

Classic Apple Pie

the directions:

Make your pastry according to directions, then divide in half.
Roll out one half of dough and line a 9-inch pie plate.
Refrigerate the remaining dough until needed.
Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with very cold water and set aside.
Peel and core the apples, then chop them into quarters and slice lengthwise as thinly as possible.
As you work, put sliced apples into cold water to keep them from browning.
Once all apples are sliced, drain the water, add ½ c sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Stir well, then set aside.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Blend the flour with remaining sugar, then sprinkle over the bottom crust of the pie, rotating pie pan to coat dough evenly.
Pour apples into prepared pan, then dot with butter and sprinkle lemon over.
Roll out the second half of the crust, wet the rim of the bottom crust and lay top crust over the whole thing.
Press any air bubbles out, then seal the edges to avoid leaks.
Use a sharp knife to slice vents into the top crust, then bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.

Chocolate Crust Butterscotch Pie

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Pi(e) day is next week, which is a silly American non-holiday invented by maths teachers to promote knowledge of the number pi (get it? Because the date is 03/14?). You can really only celebrate it in the US because literally everywhere else in the world writes dates as day/month/year rather than the US way, but any excuse to make pie is a valid reason to celebrate in my book.

This year I'm bringing you two pie recipes, first this Chocolate-Crust Butterscotch Masterpiece and next week... well, that one will be a surprise. This pie, which requires butterscotch chips, marshmallow crème, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs... all America-specific ingredients. So here is where I sourced my substitutes: butterscotch chips sent to me when I begged an American friend to mail me some, marshmallow crème from the foreign section of Waitrose (I bought their entire stock!), chocolate chips from Lupe Pinto's Mexican grocery store and Rich Tea biscuit crumbs.

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This pie is really good, but it is so rich. You know how a normal pie is like 8 generous servings or 10-12 tiny ones if it's something richer like cheesecake? If you can slice it thin enough, I think you could easily get 16 slices out of this pie because although delicious, a little goes a long way. I mean, look at the ingredient list: chocolate, butterscotch, marshmallow, cookies and brown sugar? It's sweet. But it's also really delicious, the butterscotch flavour comes through strongly and this is my new favourite chocolate crust that I'm making with all cheesecakes from now on because oh, man, the crust alone is worth making this recipe even if you just fill it with pudding or whipped cream or... eat it plain.

Next time I make it (and there WILL be a next time), I'm going to make it in tiny tart pans, which I think will be perfectly-sized and adorable. Make this for your favourite sweet tooth, or use it to teach a kid what pi is. They'll love it.

The verdict:

Four spoons out of five. I loved it enough to give it five, but I think the sweet overload is going to put some people off so I'm knocking off a spoon as a caution flag.

Click here for previous pies both sweet and savoury!

One year ago: Mocha cake with caramel frosting
two years ago: walnut butter cookies
three years ago: chocolate key lime pie

the recipe:

Chocolate Crust Butterscotch Pie

the directions:
crust:

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in very short bursts in the microwave.
Stir in crumbs and brown sugar and mix well.
Pat into bottom of 9-inch pie pan.
Wait 5 minutes until chocolate has just started to set, then press mixture up the sides of the pie plate (if you try to do so immediately, it won't stay on the sides of the dish).

Filling:

Melt butterscotch chips.
Once completely melted, add salt and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow crème.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes while you whip the cream.
Whip cream until soft peaks form, then fold into cooled butterscotch mixture until smooth.
Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

the ingredients:
the crust:

1 c (170g) unsweetened chocolate
1/3 c (75g) butter
1 c (85g) Rich Tea biscuit crumbs or graham cracker crumbs
¼ c (50g) brown sugar, firmly packed

the filling:

1 c (170g) butterscotch morsels
¼ tsp salt
2 c (160g) marshmallow crème
1 1/8 c (270ml) whipping cream

Apple Kuchen

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It may be a new year but we've still got a Recipe Box full of mystery dishes and there's bound to be some disasters in there... so it should come as no surprise that I already found one, on only the second week of the year. The thing that DID come as a surprise to me is that this disaster is an apple tart recipe. In the history of my baking life (admittedly not an illustrious history, but a history nonetheless) I have neither baked nor tasted an apple dessert I do not like.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an apple fanatic- I'd choose Anything With Frosting or Most Things with Chocolate over an apple dessert most days- but the great thing about apple desserts is how reliable they are. They're always tasty, they're always cosy and they make your house smell amazing when you bake them; you can reliably make one anytime of year without waiting for the fruit to be in season; they often work just as well for a luxurious breakfast as they do for a dinner-party worthy dessert; many taste as delicious warm from the oven as they do at room temperature; most people like them and I've never met anyone allergic to them to date.

All that said, I finally found an apple dessert that is just not worth it. I made this one recent frosty morning when outside was so cold that the ice on the ground still hadn't melted from days before and I just wanted something warming in my kitchen. This kuchen was supposed to do the trick but it lied to us, dear reader.

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First of all, this cake requires that you make a dough (yes, a dough, not a batter) and then line a springform pan with it. This should have been hint #1 that things would quickly go south, but I thought I was experienced enough to handle a freeform tart so I went ahead with it. The dough is then pressed into the bottom of the springform and up the sides of it, but there wasn't nearly enough dough so it was almost impossible to get the dough more than ½-inch or so up the sides without making bald spots on the bottom of the pan. Once that's done, you fill the middle with a cooked-apple mixture you've already made, and which is so full of juice that the pan is basically just a bowl of liquid.

Then you bake it, praying the whole time that it doesn't leak hot caramelised apple liquid onto the bottom of your oven (for once, it didn't!) and when it's done, you try to saw through it with every serrated knife you own. The cake portion of this cooked up thin and crunchy, but, like, not in a good way. The texture was cardboard-y and flavourless, except for the filling. The really unfortunate part about this kuchen is that the filling is actually delicious... so delicious that we may or may not have scooped the apple-cherry filling out and stirred it into a bowl of porridge for breakfast on the morning after I made this ill-fated recipe... and again every day until we ran out of filling.

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As always, despite the fact that it's a disaster, I'm including the full recipe. Don't make this cake, but if you're in the mood for the best porridge of your life, make this filling. It works on pancakes, in porridge, in yoghurt and also probably in ice cream, but I didn't get around to testing that for sure before I ran out of filling.

If you're on the hunt for a better apple recipe, check out the others (all better than this!) over here.

The verdict:

2 spoons out of five. I can't give it any less because of how good that filling was, man.

After making a Load of newspaper recipes from this box, it's a little embarrassing how fast i was able to identify the woman on the bottom right as Betty crocker.

After making a Load of newspaper recipes from this box, it's a little embarrassing how fast i was able to identify the woman on the bottom right as Betty crocker.

One year ago: crazy crust apple pie
two years ago: Happy New Year!

the recipe:

Apple Kuchen

the directions:
filling:

Simmer apple slices and raisins or cherries in just enough water to cover them until apples are just tender but still retain their shape (about 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, combine sugar, cinnamon and orange zest.
Drain fruit, then stir sugar mixture into fruit.
This will immediately make a syrup, but that's ok.

dough:

Preheat oven to 210C/425F and grease an 8-inch springform pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
Work in butter by mixing at low speed.
Beat in eggs, then stir in milk JUST until combined.
Spread dough on bottom and up sides of prepared springform pan.
Pour fruit mixture into pan along with any syrup that has formed.
Bake 45-50 minutes, until crust is deep golden and filling is firm-ish and bubbly.

the ingredients:
the filling:

5 c (600g) apples, peeled, cored & sliced thinly
½ c (75g) golden raisins or dried cherries
2/3 c (134g) sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp orange zest


he dough:

1 c (120g) flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 ½ tbsp (35g) butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp milk