Pie is heaven in a crust. Pie is the pinnacle of desserts. Pie is love. Pie can be fruits, creamy, spicy, or crunchy. It can be all of those things at once. Pie is one of the greatest accomplishments of western civilization. Anyone can bake a basic cake, but it takes real love and dedication to make a homemade pie.
So that settles it. I must have pie. I would bake one. I decided on apple because on a cold winter night, apple pie just sounds like comfort food.
I think I've been too heavily influenced by Top Chef lately. Maybe it's not just Top Chef, but the hope of the coming srping. I didn't want an ordinary spiced pie. I wanted something fresher tasting. I wanted to experiment with an apple pie flavored with herbs. It would be a radical departure from my regular apple pie, and I didn't know how much my husband and friends could deal with it, but I just had to try it.
I started with a crush made with lemon zest and thyme. Here is a photo of the crust as it's being rolled out. You can see the flecks of herbs in it. Unfortunately, the crust-making went down hill from here and I had some issues and my bottom crust did not end up with a great consistency.
I went in a new direction with the apples too. Rather than use cinnamon and spice, I decided to use rosemary.
I love this little device. It makes apple pie baking that much more pleasant when you're not peeling and coring and slicing apple after apple.
One problem I often have with apple pie is runny juice. For the filling I took some advice I found online and macerated (I said MACERATE) the apples in sugar, lemon and rosemary, strained out the juice, and cooked it with corn starch the rosemary infused into it. I put this in the pie shell with the apples.
Not bad. The filling had a nice sweet-tartness from the lemon. The rosemary was unexpected and a little strong at times. You have to like the flavor of rosemary to like this pie. The apples were still a bit runny. I think I will have to get some of those gel sheets or starch thickeners from the King Arthur Flour Company.
I was disappointed in the crust. Even though I had sugar and lemon zest in there, it tasted sort of like a cracker. Maybe the next time I'll use more sugar.
Herbaceous Apple Pie
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter cold and cut into pieces
6 or so tablespoons ice water
3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cups sugar
Juice of 1.5 lemons
1 Tablespoon corn starch
In a food processor pulse together flour, salt, sugar, thyme and lemon zest until mixed and thyme is broken up in tiny pieces.
Add shortening and butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
Add in water one tablespon at a time until the mixture begins to hold together. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge while you prep the apples.
Mix apple slices together with sugar, lemon, and rosemary. Let sit in the fridge about 10-15 minutes until the apples begin to give off a lot of liquid. Strain as much liquid as you can into a pan. Pull out as much of the rosemary as you can and add that to the liquid. Mix cornstarch with water to form a slurry and add to the juices. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thickened slightly.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out bottom crust and lay in pie plate. Add apples and the syrup. You can remove the rosemary leaves out. Roll out the top crust and lay it on top. Cut some slits for ventiliation. Bake for 30 minutes. Redcue oven temp to 350 and bake another 35 minutes or until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife and the crust is golden.