Abby Reibman- Contributing Chef and Author of the food Blog:
Nothing says Thanksgiving like turkey and apple pie. My Aunt Jen makes the BEST pies – I remember hers as being the epitome of autumn bliss at our Thanksgiving table – her pecan was a favourite of both mine and my father. A few years ago (pre-culinary school education), I attempted a rum pecan pie for Thanksgiving at my friend Kara’s – it was, well, not quite what I had in mind. Despite my best efforts, it was rather alcoholic – two bites and you were sufficiently lubricated to deal with any family drama – or cause some! This recipe combines two of my favourite versions – apple and pecan…with just a wee drop of whiskey instead of rum – I am studying in Edinburgh after all!
The pâte brisée (short-crust pastry dough) recipe provided yields an absolutely delicious buttery and flakey crust – and, it’s super easy too – even I could master it and I am certainly no pastry chef!). However, The Hostess Handbook knows the girl on the go might rather do store bought dough! Go for it, if you don’t have time!
(Makes enough for 1 double-crusted 9 inch pie,
or, 2 single crusted 9 inch pies)
320 g (2 ½ cups) all purpose flour
227 g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
7-8 tbl ice water
1- Blend the flour, butter and salt together with your fingers until coarse and crumbly with only small pea-sized lumps of butter.
2- Drizzle 4-5 tbl ice water all over the mixture and bind together with your hands. Add more water, a 1/2 tbl at a time as necessary. Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will become tough.
3- Divide the dough into 4 portions and smear with the heel of your hand in order to distribute the fat (butter) evenly.
4- Take 2 portions together and roll into a ball. Then, flatten the dough into a 5 inch disk. Repeat with the other 2 portions.
5- Wrap the two disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or until firm (Dough can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for 3 months)
6- When needed, unwrap the dough and roll out to the desired shape and size on a floured surface.
Apple and Pecan Pie
Pâte Brisée (enough for double-crusted pie)
4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup pecans, halved
1/4 tsp ea. allspice and nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbl all purpose flour
3/4 cup water
Peel from 1 lemon
1/2 vanilla pod, deseeded
1 large egg
2 tbl whiskey
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Bring the water, whiskey, sugar, spices, zest and vanilla seeds/ pod to a boil in a small covered saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove the cover and allow the syrup to reduce and thicken. (approx. 5-6 min). Discard the pod and zest and let cool.
- Once the syrup has cooled, add the egg – make sure it’s cooled down enough so the egg doesn’t cook.
- Toss the apples in the flour and then in the syrup
- Roll out one of your balls of pastry dough on a lightly floured surface and transfer it to your pie plate.
- Roll out your second pastry dough and cut it crossways to form 1 1/4 inch strips for the lattice pattern.
- Stir the apple mixture and put it evenly in the pie shell. Weave a tight lattice with the strips and trim the edges.
- Brush the lattice – but not the edges – with a bit of water or egg yolk and sprinkle sugar on top.
- Bake for 20 min at 475 F, then turn the heat down to 375 F for an additional 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 30 minutes.