Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Welcome Back!

Before we renovated the kitchen, my cookbooks were everywhere.  Upstairs, downstairs, in the hallway and in the cheap Ikea bookshelves in that nasty old kitchen.  As you know, I have a pretty extensive collection, so when I needed to find a particular volume, it was anyone's guess as to where it was hiding.

Not anymore!  I now have brand new floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the two rooms adjoining the kitchen and, even though everything is still unorganized, all of my cookbooks are right there, waiting for me like dear old friends.  I missed them when they were all packed up in dust-covered boxes in the construction zone that used to be my living room.

It took hours to unpack and set them on the new shelves, largely because I couldn't help myself from thumbing through them as they came back into the light of day.  They brought back lots of memories and reminded me of old recipes I had forgotten.

Like Sour Cream Apple Pie.  How did I manage to let this one fall off the radar screen?  If apple pie is good, then sour cream apple pie is even better.  Welcome back, old friend!


For the crust:
1 ½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
3 – 4 tablespoons ice water

Process the flour, salt and cinnamon in a food processor for 15 seconds.  Distribute the butter evenly over the flour and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 15 – 20 seconds.  With the processor running, pour 3 tablespoons of the water in a steady stream through the feed tube and process until dough just comes together.  If dough is too dry, add remaining water and process again.  Do not let dough form a ball.

Remove dough from processor, flatten into a round and wrap well with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

To roll out, place dough on a lightly floured surface.  Use a rolling pin to roll out into a 11-inch circle.  Keep the dough moving on the floured surface so it doesn’t stick.  When rolled out completely, drape it over the rolling pin and ease it into a deep dish 9-inch, lightly greased glass pie plate.  Trim edges and crimp, then place in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Remove pie plate from freezer and line with aluminum foil.  Fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 15 minutes, or until dough starts to set.  Remove foil and beans and bake for another 10 minutes, or until dough is barely starting to become golden.  Set aside to cool.

For the filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tart apples (I used Granny Smiths), peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
Zest and juice from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Over medium heat, melt butter in a large skillet or saut√© pan.  Add brown sugar and salt and stir until combined and smooth.  Add apple slices, lemon zest and juice and cook for 8 – 10 minutes until apples release their juices but still hold their shape.

Use a slotted spoon to remove apples to a heatproof bowl.  Stir cornstarch into juices remaining in the pan and cook, stirring frequently until slightly thickened.  Pour over the cooked apples and let cool slightly.

For the sour cream mixture:
1 ¼ cups sour cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (preferable) or vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs (I used extra-large)

Whisk all ingredients.  Pour over cooled apple mixture and stir gently to combine.

For the streusel:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

Place the first five ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk to blend.  Add the diced butter and use your fingers to work it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

To assemble and bake:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

Pour the apple/sour cream mixture into the partially baked crust.  Top generously with streusel.  Place on a baking sheet lined with foil (to catch drips) and bake for 35 – 45 minutes until top is golden and apples are bubbling.  Remove from oven and cool on a baking rack.

Yield:  (1)  9-inch pie  

*  This is a wonderful pie to make for Thanksgiving.  Just sayin'.....

*  Yes, there are a few steps required to get this baby into the oven, but I have experimented with this recipe for years and I think it makes a big difference to partially prebake the crust (keeps it from getting soggy) and cook the apples before baking (keeps them from being watery and gives the filling better depth of flavor).  One woman's opinion.

*  The pie recipe was inspired by recipes from The Silver Palate Cookbook (remember it from 1979? - oy veh, I'm dating myself) by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins and Rosie's All Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg, published in 1991.

*  The streusel recipe comes from Scott Peacock's and Edna Lewis' great book, The Gift of Southern Cooking.  This is the best streusel I have ever made and it is stunningly simple, like most of their recipes.  You probably won't use it all, but you can store any leftovers in the freezer and do your best not to nibble on the stuff when you need a sugar fix.  Who would do that????  Certainly not me!

*  So which cookbooks did I keep out during construction?  Those would be the cookbooks by Ina Garten  (the Barefoot Contessa), those by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked in Red Hook, the aforementioned book by Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis (probably my favorite cookbook of all time) and my own Recipes From Home.  Just in case you were curious!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so making that pie! (I have both the Silver Palate cookbooks too.) Thanks.