Thursday, December 10, 2009
FLOWERED APPLE PIE!!! (looks good, AND has a surprise ingredient!
WE ARE MAKING APPLE PIES TODAY!!! But not just any apple pie, this is my attempt to recreate what was going to become AN AWARD WINNING APPLE PIE recipe...
Here's the story...
If you tired of hearing about my TURDUCKEN DINNER (9 dishes, 13 guests, 3 birds), I am pleased to tell you that this is the last post about that fun night. The dinner was held just 4 days before Thanksgiving. I knew that my guests were all going to have their own traditional dishes at their own meals just 4 days later. SO, when picking the menu, I was after a traditional dish, just with a little twist. And low and behold, just a month earlier, one of my favorite bloggers... CATALINA from HAVING FUN IN THE KITCHEN came up with a beautiful original recipe for an apple pie with a hidden ingredient. Her post of October 29th, YOU WANT PIE WITH THAT - FLOWER APPLE TART was a beautiful thing... Please click that link to see her wonderful creation. Mine worked, but in no way was it as impressive as hers....
This picture is hers...
And here is what she said to do...
Just tuck them in nicely as if they were a rose's petals. When you are done, top with some powder sugar or white sugar. If you wish, you can also add some cinnamon to the sugar, although it does not really do much for the tart. Then top with the butter that you have cut into thin slices or small pieces. Bake at 425 F for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on how fast your apples will look baked. Some of the apple edges will begin to brown. Heat up the orange reduction or the apricot jam a bit and brush it over the apple tart. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
And now, here's what I did...
I made a few changes. I will try to justify it, but in all honesty... The pie worked great, everyone loved it, but I think Cat's pie was better without my changes.
First, I made my own dough. I don't think it made a difference, I was just showing off. I got the recipe from somewhere on RECIPEZARR.COM, and did not make a note of where. But pie dough recipes are everywhere. You certainly don't need mine.
Taking a big hunk of perfectly cooked meat off the grill is the most satisfying thing a cook could ever do (in my opinion). Breads and doughs are quickly becoming a close second.
OK... First change, you can't tell, but my local underpriced grocery store was all out of MARZIPAN PASTE. It was the week before Thanksgiving after all, who would expect a store to be well stocked at that time of year??? But that was just my frustration talking. There was a very helpful lady seeing my frustration, and right there in the middle of the grocery aisle, we discussed the recipe. She assured me that I could use ALMOND PASTE and achieve similar results. OK, that's what I did. Not sure what the difference would be, but I was jumping the recipe already...
And here is where I really wish I had not veered too far from CAT's recipe... I got lazy. I used one of those apple corer/slicer devices to get 8 slices from one apple, then cut those slices in half, getting 16 slices from an apple. If I had it to do over again, I would cut the slices thinner.
Also, and I am not sure if this was a mistake or not, but I am a believer in peal. When I make potato salad, mashed potatoes, and apple pie, I do not peal them. Has to do with roughage (I am old, I need all the help I can get), and nutrients (more in the peal than in the meat of the fruit)... And just a little has to do with being a bit lazy.
Pre-cooked, mine looked better (with the pretty peal) than CAT's. Once it baked and ready to serve... Cat's looked better.
I had just gotten back from New Orleans, and I came back with a wonderful thing... Cinnamon sugar infused with vanilla! I used this for topping!
Add the butter... but look close at the pie on the right... I have long since given up trying, as I have never been able to convince a single soul (except my wife - God love her), but cheddar cheese on an apple pie is heaven on earth. Think about a classic cheese tray. You can picture sliced apples being served... right? Oh well, I was making the second pie for me. Plenty to serve to the Philistines that do not appreciate cheese in their pies, and more for me!
I didn't get very many good shots (none) of the finished product. I served this warm right out of the oven (it baked while I was serving dinner... Imagine the smell)!!! My Orange marmalade reduction did not shine as well as Cat's, but the flavor was there. I don't think I added enough to get that full layer of shimmering topping.
Not pretty, and I only had a few takers to try, but the CHEESE Apple Pie was best (in my humble opinion).
This was a HUGE success. I made a walk around the table to show the flower affect prior to cutting into the pie (OHHHHS and AHHHS all around). And the extra unexpected flavors of the Almond Paste and Orange reduction was the subject of conversation before I revealed the extra kick. Everyone knew there was something extra, and they were all making guesses.
The changes I made did not affect the OHHHS and AHHHS. Only I knew how good CAT's pie was and how second best mine was. But, since I didn't share the original, as Julia Child says, "Who's to know"!
And there is a twilight zone kind of topping to this story... I have had these photos waiting to be posted since the week before Thanksgiving (seems like a year ago doesn't it). Other things came up, and i posted this and that and still had it on the back burner. The cooking gods were looking out for Cat, as I am able to share that her recipe WON the YOU WANT PIES WITH THAT monthly contest with this recipe!
Well deserved, Thanks Cat for an incredible recipe... If you all don't know Cat, Click HERE to get to her website (tell her Hi from me). And to see her much better looking (and probably tasting (except for the cheese thing)) original original post for this recipe (with many more details, and lots of photo directions I didn't show), click HERE!