Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer Apple Pie

This is a recipe for Summer Apple Pie...the kind you can have two slices of guiltlessly.
I call it Summer because it is not seasoned with typical apple pie flavorings; cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, etc. There is nothing wrong with those seasonings but it is summer time! Fruits are more fresh and it is the best time to enjoy them without masking the flavor with heavy spices that are more suited to the chilly seasons. Star anise, however, pairs very well with apple because it highlights the fruit rather than uses the fruit as a carrier.
This pie also has a crumb topping which is 1) delicious, 2) easy, 3) tastes great with the vanilla ice cream you'll definitely be having with the pie.
But you, of course, may double the pie crust recipe and cover the pie any way you like.
Also, this pie is vegan!

Follow the steps below and you will be rewarded with a delicious pie that compliments all of your summer festivities.

1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup very cold butter flavored shortening (may not need all) *Using shortening creates a more crumbly crust. To ensure that crust will not fall apart, use half butter and half shortening.
3-7 tbsp ice water
First mix flour, salt and walnuts in food processor. Add shortening in small pieces and mix until dough resembles small peas. Slowly add ice water until dough is barely formed but comes together when lightly kneaded. Place in plastic bag, mold into disk and refrigerate 30-60 minutes (or overnight).

Apple filling:
4 large mixed apples (2 Granny Smith, 2 gala apples); peeled, cored, cut into slices
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp white sugar
*Mix all of the above and let sit 10 minutes.

1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp star anise

Heat apples in a wide saucepan or wok and add corn starch whisked into orange juice, ground star anise, brown sugar to taste, cook until softened but with a bite in the middle ("al dente" if you will). Water will steam away and sugars will mildly caramelize.
Let cool completely.

Spread dough into greased 9 inch pie plate going halfway up sides.

Crumb topping: more or less one part each of the dry ingredients (my distaste for measuring caught up with me here so I'm going to have to leave you to figuring out this out on your own)
Ginger snaps/vanilla cookies
Crunchy plain cereal

Pulse until small crumb consistency and set aside.

Set cooled apples in concentric pattern on top of crust; pour on remaining juices.

Sprinkle crumb topping evenly on top of pie.

Cover with foil and place pie plate on dark cookie sheet.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from cookie sheet, uncover and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes or until fruit bubbles and topping is brown and set.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy! And try with any other fruit!