With sincere apolgies to mom, it is the best apple pie ever

1) what can you say, but OMG!

Last night was the “Final Four” college basketball games (as an aside, it’s Kansas against Memphis tomorrow night). We decided to make homemade pizzas (I just couldn’t face more wings!) and try an apple pie recipe I saw Alton Brown make on his show Good Eats. With nods to both Aaron and Robert, Alton remains one of the few good things coming out of America these days and this recipe is a winner, lemme tell you. You can get the recipe here.

With all due respect to both my mom and, god bless her, Grandma Gladys, it was the best apple pie ever. It’s a chore to make, sure, but worth it.

The Filling

2) golden delicious, granny smith and fiji; 3) peel and core them (this contraption helps tons!)

DSCF0068 DSCF0070
4) sugar the apples and let them sit and drain for 2 hours; 5) clockwise from top: apple jelly, salt, sugar, tapioca flour and lime and apple juice

6) grains of paradise from the Spice Trader on Queen Street West; 7) ground up grains

Now, before last week I had never heard of grains of paradise, let alone where one could purchase them in Toronto. In medieval times, scrupulous traders replaced black pepper – which was infinitely more expensive back then – with grains of paradise. Those same traders, in a effort to increase their market price, came up with the name claiming the wee grains came directly from the Garden of Eden after being fished out of of the rivers heading out of Paradise. Good marketing angle that. The grains are actually not grains at all, but the seeds the melegueta pepper from the Western African coast, and today they are more pricey then black pepper by far. This small tin cost $12.00 (thanks Blee for purchasing these). They go absolutely perfectly with apples and have a peppery taste with coriander and cardamom undertones.

I bought an organic steak today and will try encrusting the steak with the grains this week as a sort of steak au poivre. Stay tuned. But back to the pie.

8) Blee took over at this point and stirred in the filling ingredients; 9) mmmmm

10) nothing better than hands for mixing, I always say; 11) mmmmmmmm

The pastry

G is the wunderkid when it comes to pastry dough and took charge of this after I did sous chef duties and prepped the ingredients.

12) flour, Strongbow, butter, lard, sugar and salt; 13) into the KitchenAid

14) mix until small peas appear and the dough holds together, wrap at this point and put in the fridge for an hour or so; 15) preparing to roll

16) a perfect pie crust

Putting it together

Now, it’s just a matter of putting it all together. Lay the pastry in, pop in your pie bird and then build the apples around it. Lay the top crust on, glaze with the reduced apple juice from the apples, and bake for 40 or so minutes at 425°.

17) G lays the bottom (hmmmm, that came out wrong?!); 18) the pie bird with apples

19) stuffed; 20) glazing

21) the gorgeous pie now sits for 5 hours to congeal all up; 22) the (way-too-expensive) French tart pan does make a difference when it comes to removing the pie

23) apple pie perfection!

For dinner, we made a homemade pizza parlour sauce and dough. The sauce is easy, just saute some onions and garlic, toss in gobs of plum tomatoes, a tiny tin of tomato paste and two tablespoons of dried oregano. Let this simmer for 30 minutes and you’re done!

24) saute onions and garlic till soft and just starting to colour; 25) add in plum tomatoes and a tin of paste

26) simmer for 30 minutes

27) G made the dough and after sitting in a warmish oven for an hour; 28) Blee did the honours of knocking it down

29) Blee also tossed it up after knocking it down; 30) pizza dough perfection

We made two pizzas: a double smoked bacon, pepperoni, roasted portobello mushroom and french nociose olives one; and a bocconcini, fresh basil, roma tomato, yellow pepper and olive one. Both were excellent.

31) before; and, 32) after baking

33) before; and, 35) after baking

36) the margherita pizza up close and personal

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8 Responses to With sincere apolgies to mom, it is the best apple pie ever

  1. christao408 says:

    Those look fantastic!  I always enjoy doing homemade pizza – so easy and so enjoyable.

  2. m3galomaniac says:

    Ahhh…apple pie looks realllly great!!

  3. CurryPuffy says:

    Very nice home cooking indeed! Good grief! I’m such a glutton for evil punishment!

  4. I love Good Eats! You should watch the one where he makes pizza dough. It’s INSANE. It takes like four days or something. Heh.

  5. Nice work of art. In that sense, too bad you have to eat it :)

  6. kunhuo42 says:

    wow, that looks delicious! that pie sounds like a lot of work (i’ve never heard of grains of paradise before either!), but i’ll bet it must have tasted so good. after all that, my stomach has decided it’s time to start cooking dinner hahaha.

  7. brooklyn2028 says:

    Hehe I agree with Matt. Pure evil punishment! The pizza looks absolutely divine. I could seriously go for some now. ^_^

  8. ElusiveWords says:

    This is cruel and unusual punishment. I just had to check and see what you updated and of course, it’s FOOD!!!! The Spice Trader store is in my neighborhood with a wonderful olive oil store (run by the parents I think) downstairs. By the way, what does that pie bird do?

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