Friday, May 10, 2013

Strawberry Pink Lady Apple Pie

This past SXSW festival I was determined to get out and see as many free shows as my sleep-deprived body could handle. This was the year, I told myself, to finally take part in Austin's famous, internationally-renowned event. My friend Spike and I hopped on our bikes and slowly made our way through downtown crowds, first to enjoy a light bike ride, then to hit the clubs for some shows. I found the amount of people daunting, reminding myself I hate, hate, large crowds, yet reminding myself further that I was determined to take in SXSW; Spike and I rode along. We stopped at Club DeVille and as approached the door Spike admitted, you know, I am just not feeling this. I replied, hey, want to go make some pie? And that was SXSW 2013 for me.

Yet another recipe form Ken Haedrich, this pie has a delicate floral flavor due to the inclusion of both strawberries and rose water. Ken list the rose water as optional but I find it essential in complementing the berries, especially if you live in area where perfectly ripe strawberries are difficult to find. I do not know how frozen berries would do in this pie but you would definitely want to cut the amount by at least half (their flavor being more concentrated) and increase the flour. Please allow the pie to cook before cutting into it. We did not and while the first slice was amazing, the second one, after the juices had cooled and mingled, was divine.

Strawberry Pink Lady Apple Pie
Apple Pie Perfect

1 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought, your preference)


6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced Pink Lady apples (or other firm, slightly tart apple)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t rose water
1 qt strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
3-4 T AP flour

Cream Crumb Topping

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup plus 2 T cold heavy cream

1. Combine apples, granulated sugar, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl; toss well. Blend the lemon juice and rose water, and pour over apples; toss again. Mix in the strawberries. Shake the flour over the fruit - using the greater amount if the berries are very juicy - and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Turn filling into pie shell. Smooth the filling with your hands to even it our. Place the pie directly on the center oven rack and back for 30 minutes.

3. While pie bakes, makes cream topping. Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl; combine well with a fork or whisk. Slowly add cream, lightly stirring with fork to combine the mixture into clumps. Be careful to avoid over-mixing; for the most part it should be loose and granular-looking. Refrigerate.

4. After 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven and place it on a large, dark baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F. Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading them evenly over the surface with your hands. Pat the crumbs gently to compact them. Place the pie on the baking sheet back in the oven and bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, another 40-45 minutes. The juices may not bubble as thickly as they do with some pies because the strawberries make this pie juicier than most. If the topping starts to get too dark, cover the pie with loosely tented aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes.

5. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing. It may be rather runny if you cut it much before that.

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