Saturday, October 26, 2013

French Apple Pie

This perfectly imperfect French apple pie was the perfect dessert to make on a blustery October Saturday.  A mix of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples, sweet raisins, flaky butter and Crisco crust... you get the picture.  Of course, lets not forget the milky sugar icing on top.  Vive La France! 

If anyone knows the genesis of this slice of Franco-American cooperation, please let me know.  It's pure genius.  It seems to me to be an attempt to elevate the humble American apple pie to international status when all it does is make it more sweetly American.  

I tried to google but just became mired in all the photos and, you know, there was pie to consume.  My guide for the recipe was Tastykake's French apple pie, so beloved as a childhood (and young adulthood) treat.  Sorry to say the product is nothing like it was back in the day.  If you want a good Halloween scare just read the list of ingredients.

I had some left over dough so I indulged in the old family tradition of never letting anything go to waste and made a few "schmickles", little raspberry jam filled beggar's purses.  Because you need something to nosh on when you're waiting for the pie to cool! 

French apple pie

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut up
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
ice water (3-4 tablespoons or enough to form dough)

Combine flour, butter, sugar and shortening in food process and pulse just until mixed.  Slowly add the water until dough comes together.  Divide dough in half, form each into a disk, wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Once dough is chilled roll out one disk on a lightly floured surface to about 12 inches or large enough to fit a 9 inch pie plate.  Fit the dough into pie dish.  Trim the edge if necessary and roll it underneath along the rim of pie plate; crimp to secure.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line the pie shell with a tin pie plate or tin foil and weigh it down with pie weights or beans.  Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.  Remove and cool.

apple filling, assembly and topping

4 or 5 large baking apples (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or whatever apples you like)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon potato starch
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1 egg cracked and beaten for egg wash
1 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel, core and slice apples into quarter inch pieces.  Whisk together water and potato starch in a large heavy bottomed pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; lower to a simmer and cook until apples are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.  If mixture looks dry add a bit more water. Remove from heat and cool before filling pie.

Preheat oven to 375.  Roll the other disk of dough to about 11 inches.  Fill shell with apple filling and brush egg wash over edge.  Carefully cover with rolled dough, trim if necessary.  Tuck the top dough around the crimped edge of the bottom crust.  Vent the top crust with a sharp knife and brush with egg wash.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 25 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden and juices are bubbling.  Cool pie completely before icing.

For icing, combine confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.  Coat the top of the pie with a spatula and let harden for 5-10 minutes before slicing.  



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  1. I look forward to trying this recipe. Apple sizes are so variable, though. About how many pounds of apples would you say 4 large apples is equivalent to?

    1. I would say about 2 pounds. You want a full pie and as long as you can get the top crust to cover them you're fine. Good luck, please let us know how it turns out!