Thursday, December 27, 2012

Apple Pie - Flower Style

On Christmas Eve we had some friends over for Christmas dinner. At my parents' house, we usually don't do turkey on Christmas as it was just done a month prior for Thanksgiving. Usually we do a ham. If I've returned home for the holidays, however, my mom usually does both since I LOVE turkey.

For our dinner I roasted a turkey, made mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing (which much to my guests' dismay was not actually stuffed into the turkey), carrots with cashews, cauliflower with prosciutto, green bean casserole (made from scratch since we don't have any of those canned goodies here), applesauce with cranberries, rolls, and of course dessert - apple pie and pecan chocolate chip pie.

I posted about an apple pie last month, and used the exact same recipe - only making the crust slightly smaller, 300 grams flour, 200 grams butter and about 100 grams water, plus a bit of sugar. The recipe for the apple mixture wasn't changed at all, but the process is slightly more involved than just peeling, slicing, mixing, then carelessly putting it in the pie crust.

First you start with your apples. I used six. For this pie it is better to have too much than not enough. Also, try to make sure they are nice and firm. If not, when you are mixing them with the cinnamon sugar deal, they will fall apart and you will be very sad. Peel them.

Then slice them in half from top to bottom and core them. If you have an apple corer (I don't) you would definitely want to use this as cutting with a knife is a tad tedious. If you are using a knife, be really careful that you don't cut too far into the flesh. If you do, the apples will break and you will have a difficult time making the flower.

Next horizontally slice your apples into fairly thin pieces. If they are too thick, they will not bend with the round shape of the pie pan. If they are too thin, they will be too bendy and won't hold the flower shape well. You do, however, want a few that are on the too thin side for the very middle part of the flower.

Next CAREFULLY mix your slices with the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg concoction. Be super gentle as you want to keep as many apples whole as possible. Some will break, and that is okay, but you need nice, big slices to form most of the petals. It is a bit difficult to stir them up really well, so I usually do my best and then let them sit for a while so some of the juices can seep out of the apples, making them a bit softer.

While they are resting, I usually roll out my pie crust. Roll out as usual and stick it in the pie pan. Save any leftovers for decorations for the top of the pie. Give your apples a few more stirs. It should be much easier and the flour/sugar situation will turn to a beautiful liquid. Yum.

Then start layering them into the pie crust. Start at the outside and overlap each "petal" a bit. Then just keep going around and around until you get to the middle. When you are putting the pieces in, try to place any super thin, pliable ones aside and use them to your adantage in the middle.

Once the flower shape comes together, you might find that you have a TON of apples left over. That is great! The apples will get smaller as you bake the pie, so you really need to fill the pie to capacity so that you are left with a beautiful flower at the end of baking, instead of some sad, half-flower thing.

Just shove petals in between other petals until you have used up all of the slices. Your flower should look really full at this point.

You will likely have some liquid left over. Just pour it over the pie in a fairly uniform way so as to distribute juices all over. I know this picture and the one above look really similar, but if you look closely, the petals in this one are all shiny because of the liquid.

Then roll out your extra dough to about the same thickness as the pie crust itself and cut it into some shape. I usually do leaves and then score them to make it look like they have veins, but anything is fine. As it was Christmas, I opted for a little star. Then cover the dough shapes with sugar.

Finally, pop it in your oven, pull it out 50 minutes later and you will have a beautifully baked, delicious smelling, cinnamon gurgling pie. As it cools down, the liquids will settle down as well and leave you with a gorgeous flower. So cute!

I'll hopefully post about the pecan chocolate pie tomorrow night, but it is going to be a bit busy as I have to pack for our New Year's trip. When my friend took a bite of the pie, he started laughing. I was thoroughly confused, but he just kept laughing. He finally explained that it was just "silly good". Stay tuned!

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