November 5, 2017

Dutch Apple Pie

If you've made apple pies before then you've probably encountered the same issues that I have after they're baked.  The dreaded air pocket between the filling and the top crust.  This normally happens because the apple filling shrinks as the pie cools.  Don't get me wrong, it doesn't impact the taste in the least, but the Virgo in me (aka perfectionist), is chagrined.

Dutch Apple Pie is the solution!  Don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.  It's perfect because there's no top crust to contend with, therefore no air pocket.  And who doesn't love the buttery crumb topping?  Genius!

If you were following my InstaStories then you know that this pie was actually my second attempt at making Dutch apple.  In the initial recipe I tested the filling came out too watery and the crust was a bit too gummy.  I went back to the drawing board and mashed up a few components from different recipes to get to this beauty you see here before you.

Without a doubt my favorite pie crust of all time is the foolproof one from Cook's Illustrated that contains vodka.  It is seriously no fail and bakes up crispy and flaky every single time.   For the filling I piggybacked off my Honeycrisp Apple Pie but tweaked it ever so slightly.   Everyone knows Dutch apple pie is all about the crumb topping and Cook's Country has the best version around.   

When combined, all three components were culinary magic.  I'll definitely be making this pie again for Thanksgiving.  I recommend you do too!

Dutch Apple Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter,  cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut in to 2 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, chilled
2 tablespoons cold water

3 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon tapioca starch
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt

Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no un-coated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
For the topping, stir all ingredients in bowl until no dry spots remain and mixture forms clumps. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove the dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate.  Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate.  Flute dough or press tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate.  Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes, while you make the filling.
Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick wedges.  Place apples in a large bowl and mix with flour, tapioca starch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and lemon. Fill the dough-lined pan with the apple mixture, packing apple slices as tightly as possible.  Break topping (it will harden in refrigerator) into pea-size crumbs and distribute evenly over apple mixture. Pat topping lightly to adhere.
Place pie on the preheated rimmed baking sheet and bake until the crust begins to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate sheet, move to center rack, and reduce oven to 350°F. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown and you can see the thickened juices bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes more. 
Let cool completely (at least 4 hours) before slicing and serving.



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