It’s definitely apple season and that means one thing: apple pie!
A lot of trouble? Maybe, but maybe not as much as you’d think. Impossible without Crisco? Definitely not! Whether you simply hanker for the taste of autumn, or are gearing up for the great Thanksgiving bake-off, here is a recipe that gets rid of all the possible stumbling blocks making apple pie in Russia might present in one fell swoop:
Thanks to a handy trick from those geniuses at America’s Test Kitchen, the filling is not a bathtub of juice.
Using Russia’s second most important natural resource, sour cream, no need to scour Moscow for shortening!
Thanks to some Moscovore inspiration at the impressive dried fruit department of Danilovsky Rynok, and a few cups of Bacardi Dark, this pie is anything but bland! The Moscovore has spiked it up with some unusual flavors!
You’ll need a few pieces of cooking kit that may not be lurking in your pantry:
225 g (16 Tbl or 2 conventional American sticks) of butter cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes.
5 ml (1 tsp) of salt
15 ml (1 Tbl) of sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
45 ml (3 Tbl) of sour cream
75 ml (1/3 cup) of ice water
For The Filling
1 kg (2 ¼ pounds) of tart or green apples
1 kg (2 ¼ pounds) of sweet or red apples
500 ml of Bacardi Dark or Cognac
50 g (2 oz) of raisins
50 g (2 oz) of dried cherries
50 g (2 oz) of dried apple rings
50 g (2 oz) of crystallized ginger
125 ml (1/2 cup) of white sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) of packed brown sugar
1 ml (1/4 tsp) of salt
15 ml of fresh lemon or orange juice
2 ml (1/2 tsp) of cinnamon
2 ml (1/2 tsp) of ground cloves
2 ml (1/2 tsp) of allspice (if you have it hanging around)
Instructions for the Pastry:
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon together in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 3-4 times to combine.
Mix the sour cream and ice water together.
Add half of the sour cream/water combination to the flour and butter and pulse 3 times. Repeat with the remainder of the mixture.
Pinch the dough with your fingers, if it is too dry, add up to 30 ml (2 Tbl) of ice water until the dough forms large clumps, pulsing for up to five 1 second pulses.
Turn the dough out onto a cool work surface. Form the dough into two disks, then wrap each disk in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1-½ hours (up to 24).
Instructions for the Filling:
Place the dried fruit and Bacardi into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for at least 20 minutes so that the fruit absorbs the rum. Set aside.
Peel and slice the apples into ½ cm (1/4 inch) slices and place in a large mixing bowl.
Toss the apple slices with the sugar, brown sugar, spices, salt and citrus zest.
Place the apples into a heavy-bottomed casserole or Dutch Oven and cook, covered, over medium heat until the apples are tender, but still holding their shape. Begin to test after 12 minutes, and do not cook longer than 20 minutes.
Transfer the apples onto a baking sheet and allow to come to room temperature (at least 30 minutes.)
Once the apples have cooled, strain them through a large colander set over the sink or a bowl. Try to get as much juice out of the apples as possible by either shaking the colander or using a wooden spoon to gently toss the apples.
Assembling and Cooking the Pie:
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (425 F) and place the oven rack at the lowest level. Place a metal cookie sheet, pizza stone or roasting pan on top of the rack.
Take one dough disk from the refrigerator and allow it 2-3 minutes to come to room temperature. Then roll each disk to approximately 30 cm (12 inches) and a thickness of 3 mm (1/8 inch). Work as quickly as you can, sprinkling a bit of flour onto the surface and the top of the dough to help you. If the dough becomes too sticky or pliant, put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Place the dough into a 22 cm (9 inch) pie pan, easing it down into the plate and pressing lightly. There should be excess dough hanging over the lid of the pie plate. Return the plate to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Roll the remaining disk out to a 30 cm (12 inches) on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and return to the refrigerator.
Strain the rum-infused fruit pieces and discard any remaining juice.
Chop the crystallized ginger into 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces.
Toss the rum-infused fruit pieces and the crystallized ginger with the cooked and drained apples.
Remove the pie dish with the rolled out dough from the refrigerator. Pile the filling into the pie dish. Peel the remaining dough off of the parchment paper and lay over the pie dish.
Use a pair of clean scissors to trim the excess dough, leaving a 2 cm (3/4 inch) over hang.
Fold the dough under itself, aligning the fold of the dough with the edge of the pie plate.
Seal the pie by crimping the edges. Note (this recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Deep Dish Apple Pie recipe. If you need help on handling pie dough, here is the link to their excellent online video step-by-step tutorial.)
Slice four slits in the top of the dough to allow the steam to escape.
Brush the top of the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar (Demerara if you have it). Go over the slits again with the knife to ensure that they are open.
Place the pie dish on the baking sheet, pizza stone, or roasting pan you have heated up in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Keep a sharp eye on it after 35 minutes to ensure you don’t over cook the crust.
Remove from the oven and cool for at least 2 hours on a wire rack
Most of the technique involved here is from America’s Test Kitchen.
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