Sunday, October 6, 2013

God Bless America Apple Pie

This pie will be the talk of any party or family get together. It is a great dish to welcome the cold weather. The cream cheese crust adds depth to a simple butter pie crust. It is flaky and tender, exactly what you want to see in a pie crust. It does take several hours to make but is worth it in the flavor you get from the pie and crust.

I used Jonathan apples for the filling but any tart apple will work well in this pie. If you can go to a local orchard your apples will taste better and therefore your pie will taste better. Always try and get the best ingredients available. I also used a lot of cinnamon in my pie so you can cut it in half.

God Bless America Apple Pie

  • 9-inch pie pan
  • Pie shield
  • Baking stone wrapped in aluminum foil
  • Several mixing bowls
  • A rolling pin 

For the Cream Cheese Crust

  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or pastry flour if you have it
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4.5 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
For the Pie Filling
  • 6-7 medium, tart apples, peeled and cored, sliced into 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (if really tart apples double the amount of sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the pie crust
  1. Put a mixing bowl in the freezer to chill. Meanwhile cut the butter into small 3/4 inch cubes, wrap the butter in plastic wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes. 
  2. Place flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl, mix to stir together. Add the cream cheese and rub the cream cheese into the dry mixture with your fingers. Spoon the mixture and the cold butter into a resealable galleon plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into flakes. Place the bag into the freezer for ten minutes or until butter is firm.
  3. Transfer the cream cheese mixture to the chilled bowl. Pour the cream and cider vinegar over the mixture. Mix lightly with a rubber spatula. 
  4. Spoon half into the plastic bag. Knead the pie dough in the bag by pressing it form the outside using your knuckles and heels of your hands. Knead until it holds in one piece and feels slightly stretchy. Repeat this for the other half of the dough.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten into two discs. and refrigerate for at least an hour preferably overnight. 
Putting together the pie
  1. Remove one of the pie dough discs and roll it out between two lightly floured pieces of parchment. It should be 1/8 inch thick or less and about 12 inches in diameter.
    Transfer it to the greased pie pan, trim the dough to be even with the pan's edge. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes to no more than three hours.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, put the apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to coat the apples. Allow the apples to sit at room temperature for thirty minutes to three hours.
  3. Transfer the apples and the juice produced into a colander suspended over another bowl. It should yield about 1/2 cup or more of juice. Transfer the apples back to a their mixing bowl. Heat a small saucepan over medium high heat and boil the juice from the apples and the butter to 1/3 cup or slightly more. The juice needs to be syrupy and slightly caramelized. 
  4. Pour the boiled juice over the apples and mix together gently. 
  5. Now roll out the top of the pie crust to 12 inches in diameter. 
  6. Scoop the apples to the prepared pie pan and put the top pie crust over. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal the pie. Cut five slashes into the pie, allowing steam to release when baking. Now cover the pie with plastic wrap and put it back into the refrigerator for an hour to rest and relax the pastry before baking. It is worth it to do this to keep the pie crust tender.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 F twenty minutes before baking. Have an oven rack on the lowest level and the baking stone set on the rack.
  8. Set the pie on the baking stone and cook for 45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and apples are tender but not mushy. After twenty minutes use the pie shield to prevent overbrowning. Cool the pie on a wire rack for about three-four hours before cutting. 
Now get out there and bake some pies!

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