Listening to: I’d Rather Dance With You by Kings of Convenience
Pie. The simple monosyllabic word can be polarizing, indeed. For some, it may bring happy memories of flaky bits of tender crust stuck on their chin. For others, it might cause post-traumatic flashbacks of that awful sickly-sweet store-bought cherry pie someone brought to the Fourth of July party. That’s not to say that all store-bought pies are atrocious, but you are certainly taking a gamble when you grab the pie on sale for $2.99 at your local gas station.
What we’re trying to say here is that there is really nothing more comforting than a slice of homemade pie, especially with the arrival of crisp autumn weather. We’ve upped the ante a bit by throwing in some booze and cheese, because booze + cheese + pie = happy campers everywhere.
- 12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch slabs
- 1 cup loosely packed Prairie Breeze Cheddar (about a 1/4 lb), finely grated
- 7 tbsp ice cold water, and some extra just in case
- Dollop of pastry prowess, lightly whipped until soft peaks of chutzpah form
- Place 2/3 of the flour, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse the ingredients a couple of times to ensure they are properly incorporated. Evenly distribute the butter slabs and pulse about 25 times until small balls begin to form. Sprinkle in the cheddar and remaining flour. Pulse 5 more times to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle in water. Using a rubber spatula (not hands!) gently fold dough, pressing down after each fold until it starts to just stick together. If it’s really not staying together add another tbsp of water. Divide dough in half (hands permitted, but don’t get too touchy) and form each half into 4 inch disks. The dough will be on the dry side, so expect to press it together a little bit for everything to solidify. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Play it cool, man. And by cool, we mean keep everything cold. Cold like the glance you’d shoot the random guy in the street spouting unsolicited advice about how you would look so much prettier if you would just smile more. That kind of cold. Keep the butter in the fridge until you need it, let the water mingle with some ice, and keep your warm, lovely hands to yourself until it’s time for some rollin’.
Feel free to spice up your
life crust if that’s what you’re into. Some cinnamon, nutmeg, or coriander would make tasty additions. Furthermore, Prairie Breeze is a lovely, slightly sweet cheddar made by Mennonite farmers at Milton Creamery out in Iowa. If you can’t find it at your local cheese shop, ask your favorite cheesemonger if they have anything that might be comparable!
*Our recipe is adapted from the very cool Kenji at Serious Eats; borrowing some measurements and techniques. However, this is still a different dough and has a different consistency should you decide to cross reference.
- Plenty of bourbon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- dash of salt
- 6.5 cups sliced Macintosh apples
- Pre-slice about two cups of the apples the night before baking and let them soak overnight in a boozy bourbon bath in the fridge in an air-tight container
- 1 tbsp butter
- Pre-heat oven to 425F
- Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.
- Peel and slice apples (not too thin) into large bowl, gradually sprinkling in your mixture to keep the apples from turning brown. When done slicing, mix in the remaining sugary goodness and drunken apples until combined. (Be sure to strain out the bourbon so that the filling isn’t too wet and so you can then consume it.)
(Ingredient amounts are for an 8-inch pie pan)
For 9-inch pie pan:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- dash of salt
- 8 cups sliced Macintosh apples
- 2 tbsp butter
For 10-inch pie pan:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- dash of salt
- 10 cups sliced Macintosh apples
- 3 tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly flour a flat working surface and roll out dough disks with a rolling pin to about 12 inches in diameter. They may be a little difficult to handle at first, but they will flatten out…eventually.
- Transfer one dough circle to the pie pan and gently/quickly make sure it is flush to the pie pan. Add filling, taking care not to dump the extra juices into the pan. Using a pairing knife or pizza cutter, cut thick strips, about 1.5 inches wide, from the remaining circle. Arrange strips over pie filling in a rustic, mummy-like fashion . The spaces in between strips will act as natural vents and food porn windows when the pie comes out of the oven to greet you with hot, bubbling juice and bourbon sizzles. Finally, crimp the edges of the crust uniformly all the way around. Using thin strips of aluminum foil, cover just the edges of the pie. This will keep them from browning too much.
- Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil for the last 10-15 minutes. Let the pie rest for 2 hours on a wire rack. Get yourself a drink and have some warm apple pie.
Some variations that are also fun to put in your mouth:
- Sprinkle some salt flakes (Maldon is awesome) onto the crust before baking to get a nice salty/sweet combo.
- Freshly grated nutmeg and cardamom make some nice additions to the pie filling, but use with caution, as they can easily become a dominating presence.
What you should be sipping:
If you haven’t already, enjoy the fruits of your labor with a glass of leftover apple bourbon on the rocks. Done.
If reaching for some fermented frolic, it’s that time of year for an Oktoberfest! While apple pie may encourage an after dinner imperial stout, we felt this particular recipe lined up well with the much loved märzen. Traditionally, this style was brewed in March (hence, märzen) and hung out in caves until tapped in the fall for harvest festivals. Created about 50 years after the first Oktoberfest event, the märzen eventually became associated with the great festival and still shares a name today. Pairing wise, we thought this combo rocked because who doesn’t enjoy a crisp, toasty lager with the changing leaves, and because the malty flavor is perfect with our lightly browned crust. It’s a total Maillard^2 moment and you’re eating pie. Math, man.
When picking an Oktoberfest/märzen our pairing aims for the darker, amber colored beers; something close to the original, caramel-like style. Over the years a lighter, golden version has been developed using different malts. While tasty, these versions sometimes labeled “festbier” are closer to a strong helles than the märzen style. We suggest Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Oktoberfest which uses imported Munich malts, Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen which has history with the creation of the style and is available year round, and Great Lakes Oktoberfest. There are many great examples of this style, so if there’s one that’s particularly festive to you, grab a bottle and resurrect your most hefty beer stein. Pour yourself a noble brew and take a bite of one of the best comforts fall has to to offer.
Yours in crisp fall days and warm bourbon nights,