February 21, 2008

My first "Sugar High Friday"

If you don't often read food blogs you might want to go here to learn what a "Sugar High Friday" is.

This month's theme is Pies That Evoke Your Dreams.
Sound delicious? Make a contribution to a non-profit helping to transform the world of food through pie- Pie Ranch. Please specify "Pie Ranch/Green Oaks Fund” in the "Designation" field of the online donation form (Pie Ranch is fiscally sponsored by the Rudolph Steiner Foundation) at: http://tinyurl.com/3bmn4c
You can also see all the other pie contributions at the round-up which will be published on February 29th at vampituity.blogspot.com.

I decided to play around with a variation on apple pie. I found a recipe for apple custard pie that used brown sugar flavored corn syrup. I thought Lyle's Golden Syrup would be a good change. (Alex loves golden syrup on his pancakes!) Then I added seeds from a vanilla bean to give the custard a strong vanilla taste. The result is a VERY rich pie similar to a butter tart with apples. (Butter tarts are deliciously evil, sweet, corn syrup, egg and butter concoctions found primarily in Canada). Improvements I would make are: I think it would have made individual tarts and added walnuts or pecans. I also would have made sure to press the top layer of apples into the custard, I pressed a little but not enough.

Apple Custard Pie
Makes 1 pie, crust recipe follows.
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn starch
Seeds from one vanilla bean
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter OR margarine, melted (I used Earth Balance tub)
3/4 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup milk (I used Silk soymilk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large cooking apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust*
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, optional
1.Preheat oven to 375°F.
2.Combine sugar and corn starch and vanilla seeds in medium bowl.
3.Whisk in eggs. Stir in butter, golden syrup, milk and vanilla.
4. Fold in half of apples. Pour into pie crust.
5. Place remaining apples in overlapping circle on top of pie. Press down gently until custard covers the top layer of apples a little. Sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.
6. Bake for 50 minutes or until center of pie is set. Check and cover crust edges with foil if they get too golden.
7. Cool on wire rack. Eat. Refrigerate leftovers.

The Crust:
Enough for a double-crust pie or two single-crust pies. You could halve this recipe if you have no use for the extra dough.
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) Earth Balance Buttery Spread*
3 cups all-purpose flour**I used White Lily AP Flour which is still softer than most
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water
*The stick Earth Balance seems to work a lot better in pie crust than the tub version. I suspect it has more palm oil due to a slightly higher saturated fat content.
**I used White Lily AP Flour which is still softer than most AP brands.

1. Dice the fats and place them in the freezer while you prepare the flour mixture. (But not more than 3-4 minutes)
2. Place the flour, salt, and sugar the food processor pulse to mix.
3. Add the chilled fats and pulse 8 to 12 times, until the largest piece of fat is the size of a pea.
4. Simultaneously, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Cut the dough in half. Roll one half on a floured board into a circle and place in a pie pan. Chill the dough in the pie pan for 30 minutes.