Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sometimes the Pie Craving Just Hits You

Maybe I should blame The Blonde Duck. Maybe I should blame the endless winter. Maybe I should just blame the weight I've lost in the past couple of months that is now begging to be found again. I just had to have some pie.

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

For Crust
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
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.


Peter M said...

Oooh, rosemary with apples...that's a combo I must try!

Love your apple peeler...keep an eye on it, I may knick it!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Peter- I think we're simultaneously commenting on each other's blogs today. :-)

Sara said...

This looks so delicious, I love the addition of rosemary!

Sue said...

That looks soooooooooooooo good! You're very brave to use rosemary. I'd just double the cinnamon and call it a day.

noble pig said...

What an interesting pie! I have never heard of rosemary in a pie so just wow!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Rosemary and apples sounds like an interesting combination for a pie. I've mixed them in savoy dishes before, though. It looks beautiful!

The Blonde Duck said...

Because of you, I've decided we should have another pie week. :)

Not Another Omnivore said...

Apple pie making...makes me tired...but this looks fabulous, so maybe I need to get up some energy!


Anonymous said...

Thyme and apples were meant to be together. We've had them in a galette before and it was great. Rosemary is even better because it's so fragrant. Great recipe!

Lucy said...

This combination of rosemary & apples sounds good!

Emily said...

Well it sounds delicious. And the crust is perfectly golden.

I like rosemary with apples. My jus on the show had rosemary, and the sandwich had apples.

Lo said...

I came back because I realized I missed the pie post!

Can't say enough good about the herbs in fruit pies. Absolutely fabulous. And how did you know that rosemary is one of my favorites??

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Sometimes the pie craving hist you? Only somethimes? LOl! I love rosemary in my sweets!

Colloquial Cook said...

Oh dear, *the* pie crave.

I have one right now. Who's fault!?

Talita said...

Delicious! I want apple pie!