Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Oct. 12, 2013 - 12:25 p.m.

Baked Apple Pie Apple

Yes, it's a food entry.

One of the morning shows I'm on is sponsored in part by a local orchard. Orchards are HUGE up here, literally and figuratively. So after one of their spots played the other day, the host and I started chatting about apples on the air. I happened to mention that I sometimes make baked apples stuffed with apple pie filling, rather than the usual mix, and top them with pastry. They look really cute, like individual apple pies on a plate.

I didn't go into any detail, just a quick bit of banter before moving to the next segment of the show. But later that day I got an e-mail from the station saying they had listeners calling up asking for the recipe.

It always stumps me when people ask for recipes, since I tend to cook like I do laundry: take whatever's laying around, toss it all together, and hope for the best. I don't measure - even when I make pastry - and I certainly don't write anything down. (This drives NewWifey(tm) nuts, btw, since I can rarely repeat any dish she particularly liked.)

But, because I'm a whore, I told the station I'd type something up and get it out to them. So I went to the store this morning and grabbed a couple of apples, then winged it again and took pics as I went. They came out pretty good (of course), so I figured I'd post it here too.

This all started when I made The World's Greatest Apple Pie last year and had some apples and dough left over:

See? See that? That is The World's Greatest Apple Pie. I have no idea how I made it. NewWifey(tm) hates me.

Anyway, while the pie was baking I decided to have fun and play around with the stuff I had left. So I cored out the apples, crammed the remaining pie filling in the cavities, topped them with dough scraps, and popped them in the oven. They turned out to be as popular as the pie, which at the time irked me slightly. That pie was a lot of work!

But I did at least remember more or less how I made them. Here's the recipe I sent back to the station:

"Preheat your oven to 375.

Use your favorite baking apple for this. My own favorite apple, personally, is the one that's on sale. Here I've used a Pink Lady and a Granny Smith.

Have ready to go a pie crust. I've baked mine in a "pate sucree" before, which is a very nice variation. As is a puff pastry cap over the top. But here I've just gone with a basic pie crust recipe ("pate brisee") which most people know and can whip up in their sleep. It's what I recommend if you're serving this at your Thanksgiving feast, as it reeks of classic Americana.

1. Peel the top third or so of each apple (or peel all of it if you want to be sure there are no "blowouts"):

2. Hollow out each apple from the top, making sure not to break through the bottom. A melon baller works great. Make a large cavity so you can stuff a lot of...stuff... in there. Don't wimp out:

3. Make your favorite apple pie filling with the apple meat you carved out. You'll probably need more apple than that though, so dice up an extra apple and add it. If you normally use apple slices or wedges in your pie, you're going to have to mince them this time so they fit inside the apple. Pack as much in as you can.

4. Roll your dough out and either cut circles if you want a closed top look, or strips if you want a lattice top. If you want circles, cut a vent hole in the center and dock or crimp the edges:

5. Form the lattice on top of the apple if that's what you've chosen. If you're going circular, just place it on top. Then brush the dough with an eggwhite-and-water wash, and sprinkle with sugar. (Here I tried colored sugar just for kicks, but I wasn't happy with it. Next time I'll stick with white. I suggest you do also.) Arrange in a skillet or baking dish and add some flavored liquid. Apple cider is good, mixed with honey or maple syrup to help thicken. For mine here I made a honey syrup flavored with Amaretto. But use whatever you like:

6. Cook, uncovered, until the crust is done. The time will vary depending on how thick your crust is, etc. The ones pictured here cooked for about 45 minutes at 375, but I needed to walk my dog soon so to hurry it up I raised the temp to 425 at the end and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on it and use your judgement. There's no hard and fast rule about these things. It's very forgiving.

7. Garnish with a lifesize welsh corgi figurine and serve:

What I didn't show is that after I plated the apples, I took the pan they were cooking in and built a caramel sauce on top of the reduced cooking liquid. If you know how to do that, it's a terrific finishing touch. Just drizzle it around the outside of the apple so it looks like it's sitting in a caramel pool.

If you'd like a wine recommendation, I'd go with a real French Sauternes. You can buy a half bottle size, which is perfect because you usually serve smaller amounts of sweet wines than dry. There are also some excellent muscats being produced, both foreign and domestic, which are often less expensive. And any number of liquors match well with desserts like this. I'm particularly fond of Single Malts myself, but if you want to seem like you really know your apples, go for Calvados. One upsmanship, baby!"


In other news, I'm absolutely gutted that no one liked the Rice Cake joke in my previous entry. Do you know I wrote that entire story just so I could tell that joke? (I was gonna write up the story anyway, 'cause it was pretty damn exciting and all. But still.) Come on, people!

Ok, I'm done pouting. Besides, it's a beautiful fall day and the woods are calling. Dangerspouse must ride again!

And then eat more apple pie.




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