Son #1 thought I’d like to sample some different ciders and brought home two different brands from his student job as “logistics bar guy” (Hmm fun job). One I liked, one was meh and the extra bottle lingered in the basement. Looking for something else I accidentally toppled it. Looked at the left and saw a bottle of cooking Calvados…
Sometimes my brain works like that. Even when I am not drinking cider.
Pie dough. I don’t know where I got this recipe from but it was not my favorite so I won’t repeat it here. Just use a recipe you like, or go Dutch and make a cake/cookie like crust. This one was tasty but a bit brittle. Personally I like to up the ratio filling crust some more. The filling however was different from what I usually do.
Cider Apple Filling
(adapted from the weekend baker, Abigail Johnson Dodge)
1 kg (2 lb) firm apples, peeled, cored, cubed 2cm
2 tbs butter
140 gr (5 oz) light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
100 ml (3.5 fl oz) apple cider
50 ml (2 fl oz) calvados (because that’s what I had I used “cooking calvados” which is cheap and comes already flavoured with a bit of salt and pepper) By all means use the real stuff if you have it! (Or cognac?)
3 tbs cornstarch
In a large heave deep skillet/pot melt butter, combine sugar and spices and sprinkle over the apples, stir to combine and cook apple cubes on medium heat until they are softened a bit (3-4 minutes).
Adjust heat to high and add cider, stir and keep stirring, cook until the sugar has dissolved and the cider comes to a soft boil. Meanwhile combine calvados and cornstarch in a small bowl and add this pasty mixture to the boiling cider-apples in your pan. Keep stirring and boil until the liquid is thickened and clear, this will take about 1 minute. The apples still need to be crunchy at this point so don’t boil until you have apple sauce! :-)
Remove from the heat and let the apple mixture cool to room temperature.
Assembling the pie:
Now that is going to tough….. Not really.
I used a 9 inch (22 cm) Pyrex pie plate, buttered.
Then rolled out the dough to a 14 inch/35 cm round, lifted it onto the pie plate and adjusted so that I would have an even overhang. Nudge the dough into the sides of the dish. I like to use a small ball of dough to push the crust against the sides. I have long nails and that causes tears and stretching so a small ball of dough pushed against the sides gets the dough exactly where I want it!
I love the lattice crust! To make a lattice crust you roll out a rectangle (9x14 inches / 23x35 cm) and cut strips 2 cm wide and 35 cm long. On a piece of parchment arrange 6 strips horizontally, setting them 2 cm apart. These are the bottom strips. You’ll need another 6 strips for the top.
- one where you make the lattice crust directly on the pie
- one where you weave the lattice crust separately on a piece of parchment
Now, I could explain in writing how to proceed and that would be fine, however, images in this case say so much more than words….
I didn’t take pictures of the process but here is an step by step instruction, and maybe even better, here’s a lattice crust on Youtube! (The latter uses a different method than I did but the effect is the same, plus she shows that you don’t need to weave to get a beautiful result). Both of the examples weave their crust directly on the pie and that’s fine. I created the top separately and chilled in the fridge for 15 minutes, then inverted the whole thing onto the pie (remember the parchment paper underneath? that’s why!). It’s easier to correct weaving mistakes this way and your dough strips aren’t getting wet and slippery from the filling, but I find it quite hard to position the top exactly right on the filling afterwards so there is something to be said for either way.
Now that you’ve topped your pie with a crust, it’s time to preheat the oven to 425F / 220 C (or 200 convection). Meanwhile trim both crusts, leaving a 2cm/3/4 inch overhang. Roll the overhang under itself to provide a high edge that rests on top of the plate rim. Pinch crimp the edge using your thumb and forefinger of one hand on the outside while you push your other forefinger on the inside to make a dent. Brush with milk.
Bake for about 55 minutes until the crust is golden and the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. I had to top my pie with some foil because it started to brown a bit quickly.