There you are, standing in front of a row of a dozen kinds of apples. At your supermarket or at a farm stand. And then it happens. Your mind goes blank. You can read the labels, but what do they mean? That McIntosh looks good, prettier than a computer, but what do you do with it. You can just eat it, but will it work in a pie. There is a stack of Cortlands right there too, and maybe those can be put in a pie. Maybe.
Here is a link to a wonderful article at Epicurious. It is a visual guide to 11 of the most popular apples. The description there tells you that McIntoshes won’t do in a pie, but those Cortlands will. And, there are links on this article to cooking with apples in general and links after each apple description to recipes for that particular apple.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy this guide and perhaps find it invaluable. Personally, I’m printing it out and taking it to this Saturday’s farmers market. [Suzen does not need it. She has it all in her lovely head. Sometimes, sometimes there are benefits to be married to someone smarter than you. Sometimes.]
The calendar says that fall is two weeks away. The abundance in our farmers markets says that fall is here. All those apples. All those potential pies. I blogged this pie two years ago. I’m doing it again.
We went to a party this weekend where our gracious hostess invited people to bring dessert, specifically pie. Her Labor Day party is famous for ending with the delicacies that 50 guests have brought.
Suzen and I had a discussion about what to bring. Not that either of us is competitive, but …
“My Coconut Cream Pie is the best I have ever tasted. We are doing it,” I said.
“It’s the best, Suzen.”
“We need something new.”
“We’ve done this before,” I gave it a last shot.
“Yes, and people rave.”
This is Suzi’s favorite apple pie, hell, favorite pie period. It is, in a word, spectacular. One of the ingredients is jalapeno jelly, which gives you remarkably leeway. We have used a very hot, brown-colored jelly in the past. This time, we went for color, using a deep green jelly from our local “chain” market, Adams Fair Acre.
You can depend on one thing. The jelly you use, the amount of pickled jalapeno peppers, and their sweetness, will make your pie distinctively different.
So, with fall here. With apple around you. Here is the apple pie you want to try. I will warn you: addiction is possible.
The photos above show you the pie before baking, after the streusel is on, and then at the end. Ah, we topped this pie off with some jalapeno jack cheese for one more layer of heat.
Apple and Jalapeno Tailgate Pie
Yield: 1 Pie
- 1 Recipe Best Butter Pie Pastry, Refrigerated [recipe follows]
The Pie Filling:
- 8 Cups peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith or other tart, juicy apples
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾ Cup jalapeno jelly, stirred to loosen
- ¼ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2-3 Tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno peppers [optional, check the intensity of you jelly first]
The Cornmeal Streusel Topping:
- ¾ Cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ Cup fine yellow cornmeal
- ¾Cup sugar
- ¼ Teaspoon salt
- ½ Cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut in ¼-inch pieces
If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate it until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the pasty into a 13 ¼-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry down into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge. Place the pie shell in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
To make the filling, mix the apples, sugar, and lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl. Add the jalapeno jelly and mix again. Stir in the cinnamon and flour. Mix in the jalapeno peppers, if using. Set the filling aside for 10 minutes.
Heat oven to 400° F.
Turn the filling into the frozen pie shell. Smooth the filling with your hands to even it out. Place the pie on a large dark baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and bake on the center oven rack for 30 minutes.
While the pie backs, make the toping. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt n a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine repeatedly, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Empty the crumbs into a large mixing bowl and rub them between your fingers to make large, buttery crumbs. Refrigerate.
After 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F. Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading them evenly over the surface with your hands. Tamp them down lightly. Put the pie on the baking sheet back in the oven and bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, an additional 30 minutes. Loosely cover the pie with tented aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes of backing if the top starts to get too brown.
Transfer the pie to a cool rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Best Butter Pie Pastry
Yield: 1 9” Pie Shell
- 1 ¾ Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- ½ Cup (1 stick) butter cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼- inch pieces
- 1 Large egg yolk
- 3Tablespoons cold water
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine repeatedly — 6 or 7 one-second bursts — until the butter is broken in a very small pieces.
Place the egg yolk in a 1-cup glass measure and add just enough of the water to equal ¼ cup liquid. Using a fork, blend the water and yolk. Remove the lid of the processor and pour the liquid over the entire surface of the dry ingredients. Don’t, in other words, pour it into one spot. Pulse the machine again, in short bursts, until the pastry starts to form large clumps. Don’t over process, or the butter will start to melt rather than stay in small pieces. Tear off a sheet of plastic wrap about 14 inches long and place it nearly.
Empty the crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, pack the dough as you would a snowball. Knead the dough 2 to 3 times, right in the bowl. Put the dough in the center of the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk about ¾ inch thick. The edges will probably crack slightly; just pinch and mold them back into a smooth disk. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
To mix by hand: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and cut them in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the butter is broken into very fine pieces; the mixture will not be quite as fine as with the processor. Blend the yolk and water as directed above. Sprinkle about half of the liquid over the flour, mixing it in with a fork. Life the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl and press down on the down stroke. Add the remaining liquid a little at a time until the dough coheres. You may need to 1 to 2 teaspoons more water.
Source: Apple Pie Perfect by Ken Haedrich