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...

Ingredients: 2 Granny Smith apples 1 pie crust (bought or homemade)

1/2 box marzipan paste (that was her secret ingredient)
2 TBSP brown sugar
3 TBSP powder sugar or plain white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 or 3 TBSP butter, cut into very thing slices
orange reduction or apricot jam

Thaw the frozen pie crust and place it in a 9 inch pie pan, with the edges tucked in nicely.
Choose 2 nice apples, wash, peel, cut in half and core the them

Then cut each half into 1/8 inch thick slices and have ready to top the tart with.
In a food processor mix the cinnamon, brown sugar, zest and and marzipan until well combined.
Pour the mixture in the pie crust
and top with the apple slices, beginning at the edges.
Arrange them nicely so it looks like a flower at the end.
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!


  1. I live in the land of the apple, and a huge Dutch descended population.. Good apple pie is a given around here!

  2. I have never seen anything like this--I know I am going to have to try it!!!

  3. You are putting us all to shame! I would have tried the cheese apple pie. Really a nice presentation pie. I have never seen that done before.

  4. What a gorgeous pie! I love the cheese in there, I totally would have gone for that.

  5. OMG - that is beautiful Dave! Well done my friend.

  6. What a unique presentation for an apple pie. I so have to try this! A tip for those who might not be able to find the cinnamon sugar with vanilla, it is easy to make your own. Place a vanilla bean in a jar of white sugar (about 2 cups). When the sugar is nicely flavoured with vanilla, stir in cinnamon then store with vanilla bean still in the jar. Use as desired.

  7. I have never seen a pie like this. I am going to be a stick in the mud, though, and say that I am a peeled apple kind of gal. I like the flower effect.

    On the cheese/apple thing, I do have to agree that it's a great combination. In fact, I am playing with an apple/sharp cheddar roll idea that I hope turns out. With all of the new baking challenges I have joined lately, though, I probably won't get to it until January.

    Hope to see more of the Master Baker here. He does good work.

  8. Great save with the almond paste, Dave! This pie is spectacular! You did a beautiful job with arranging the apples - and I am very impressed that you made your own pastry, too!

  9. That's a fine looking pie! Keep up the good work.

  10. That pie looks amazing!

    My sister keeps wanting me to try the apple/cheese combo, but I have yet to do it. I think I would have had a taste of that pie!

  11. I have been thinking apple pie for days now but haven't made one. You are my inspiration to "just do it"! I love the apple cheese combination too! :)

  12. Hey - I like the pie ! I am wondering how it might look and taste if I give it a try, and I am inclined to say it would be good. I am really happy you liked it and that it turned out well for you. Oh, and I am honored to have you try one of my original recipes.

  13. I dont make apple pies too often but if and when I do I am so completely stealing this style idea - without shame too I might add!

  14. I have never tried apple pie with cheddar cheese. It it really good?

  15. Wow I have never seen that before, gorgeous

  16. that is a very beautiful pie! I love the cheese and apple combo...would love to try it.

  17. Dave, (shaking my head with incredulousness) this is amazing, sensational, awe-inspiring, jaw dropping. (running out of adjectives) Gotta get me one of those capes and hats you mentioned in your earlier post.

  18. I love the presentation! And I admit, I've never tried cheese with my apple pie. My dad has always eaten his apple pie with a slice of Velveeta, and I think it scarred me. :)

  19. You're turning into quite the pastry chef, Dave! I'm very impressed. Are you going to give up the grill and start making sugar sculptures now? ;-)

  20. It's beautiful!! I don't think I have such patience arranging those slices of apples. and with cheese?! genius!

  21. Well done! I have never baked an apple pie in my life and you have just inspired me to do so!

  22. Damn, oh wait can I say that? I knew you were on to something when I saw that pretty flower design...I am with doggybloggy, this is a keeper! I am making this soon...

  23. P.S. It's a midwest thing - I was raised with cheddar cheese slices on apple pie! YUMMY :)

  24. Going to pre-bake the crust tonight, have to make my own because they don't sell them premade here :)

    Just one question: how much gram/ounces is 1/2 box of marzipan paste? I have bought some but am not quite sure if it's enough....