Have you ever noticed that whenever a chef decides to show off by making something two ways, one- or both- is completely dismal? Or am I the only armchair coach for Cutthroat Kitchen?
The thing is though, I only think that’s a bad idea if you serve them together. I’m all for experimenting and finding new favorite flavor combinations, even if I don’t do it as often as I should. (If you listen veeeery carefully, you can hear Teddy crying tears of joy that I finally made a roast chicken that wasn’t lemon-thyme chicken. What, it’s my favorite, ok?) So, here’s my apple pie two ways, one savory, one sweet. I think they’re both delicious, but I wouldn’t serve them at the same time. I’m not a show-off.
This recipe was inspired by my roommate Annie’s Mom’s apple dumplings with sausage (one of her family’s favorite traditions). The sausage and dumplings were so unexpectedly perfect together that I started wanting to try it myself. I didn’t want to steal Annie’s idea (plus who wants to compete with a Mom’s recipe? Nobody!) So I cooked down some apples with butter and thyme and made a galette out of it. The best thing about galettes is that they’re pie for lazy people- it looks like they took a lot of effort, but you just roll out dough, plop some filling on top, fold up the edges, and call it a day. I think it’s a great option for the pie-phobic.
For the crust:
½ of Deb Perelman’s All Butter Crust recipe, chilled
For the filling:
2-3 apples (I used one large and one medium Fuji apples), peeled and sliced very thin
3 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of thyme (or more to taste)
2 pinches of salt
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of black pepper
1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk or water
1 tablespoon of grated Gruyere, Parmesan, or sharp Cheddar cheese (optional)
-When the dough is almost done resting in the fridge, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat until it’s barely starting to brown. Add apple slices, thyme, salt, sugar, and pepper, and stir until apples are coated in butter. Cook until apples start to soften (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool while you roll out the crust.
-Take your dough out of the fridge. Generously flour your counter space and rolling pin. Tip: if you have parchment or wax paper, do all your flouring, rolling, and filling on one large piece. With the parchment paper, you can simply dust off any excess flour, fill and shape your galette, and use the wax paper to transfer the galette directly to the pan. This will also keep any juices that leak from burning to your pan. Yay! Do NOT try this with wax paper, which will burn to a crisp if you put it in the oven (not that I would know from personal experience or anything).
-Roll out your dough until it is about 12 inches in diameter. Don’t worry about rushing to get it rolled out as fast as possible; just rotate the dough a quarter turn after a few rolls to keep it from sticking to the counter, and add more flour if you need to. If you’re still nervous, Deb has a great tutorial to set your mind at ease here.
-Once your dough is rolled out, transfer it to your lined baking sheet. Add your (mostly cooled) apples to the center of the dough circle, leaving a 1-inch border– it doesn’t have to look pretty. Starting at the top, make a short fold of dough over the edge of the apples. Take the next spot of dough, and make another short fold, partially overlapping your first fold, so it looks like a pleated skirt. Continue making folds all the way around the circle. Brush your egg wash on the rim of the crust, and sprinkle grated cheese (if using) over the whole galette, but especially the crust.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown (I forgot to use egg wash on mine, so it looks a little pale) and the apples are starting to brown. Serve with another sprinkle of cheese, some chicken sausages, and a nice big salad. And some white wine, if that’s your thing.
Favorite Apple Pie
I have a confession: I almost never follow a recipe for the apple pie filling. I add melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, maybe a little flour if I’m worried about the filling being too juicy, a pinch of cloves, and some nutmeg (freshly grated, if I have it). But now I have a new secret ingredient– a few spoonfuls of boiled apple cider spread in a thin layer on the bottom of the pie crust before you add the apple mixture. It makes the pie insanely delicious, and I don’t think I can go back to making apple pie without it. Feel free to adjust spices to your taste, but do remember that the cider is already sweet and also probably already has spices in it. So you might want to go a little lighter than normal with your spices.
For the crust:
½ (for a galette) or 1 (for a double crust pie) of Deb Perelman’s All Butter Crust, chilled
For the boiled cider “schmear” for the bottom of the crust:
Several spoonfuls of boiled cider (enough for a thin layer)
For the filling:
2-3 apples (for a galette) 3-4 apples* (for a double-crust pie), peeled and sliced very thin
*Note: I used 1 Granny Smith, 2 Ambrosia, and 2 Honeycrisps and had waaay too much, I think 3, maaybe 4, medium apples would have been plenty)
3 tablespoons of melted butter
3 generous pinches of sugar (I used a little vanilla sugar with my regular ole granulated sugar, cause I had it around, but don’t worry if you don’t)
2 generous pinches of cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon of ground clove (or a teeny tiny pinch)
⅛ – ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg (or a bunch of grated bits from a whole nutmeg)
1 tablespoon flour (optional – only if your apple mixture is looking a little soupy)
1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk or water
Extra sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling on top
-When the dough is almost done resting in the fridge, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix your sliced apples with the melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Taste to see if you like the seasoning. If the mixture is looking a little soupy, add the flour. Set aside.
-If making a galette, follow the instructions for the Apple-Thyme Galette (above). If making a double crust pie, take 1 disc of dough (½ of the recipe) out of the fridge. Generously flour your counter space and rolling pin. Tip: if you have parchment or wax paper, do all your flouring and rolling on one large piece. Roll out your dough until it is about 12 inches in diameter. Don’t worry about rushing to get it rolled out as fast as possible; just rotate the dough a quarter turn after every few rolls to keep it from sticking to the counter, and add more flour if you need to. If you’re still nervous, Deb has a great tutorial to set your mind at ease here.
-Once your dough is rolled out, lay it out in your 9″ pie plate with about 1″ of dough hanging over the edge. Spread the boiled cider in a thin layer on the bottom (roughly 3 or 4 tablespoons). Pour apple, butter, and sugar mixture into the pie plate, and pat it into an even layer (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Set aside.
-Roll out your second disc of dough to 12 inches in diameter. Lay dough gently over apples, press edges of dough together, and crimp with a fork, or by pressing your thumb in between the “v” of the thumb and forefinger of your other hand. Or, if you like, you can get fancy with your pie crimping. Take egg and milk/ water mixture and brush a thin layer over the crust to help it nice and golden brown. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. make x’s (or fancier shapes) with a sharp knife in the top, and bake for 40- 45 minutes, or until the juices inside are starting to bubble through the x’s. Serve warm with ice cream and extra boiled cider. Share with others (if you’re feeling generous).
Whew! That was a long post. If you’re still here, you’re a trooper, and you deserve a nice big piece of apple pie. Also, I promise that sometime I will be patient enough to set up some pretty styled shots, instead of taking pictures of the food as quickly as possible so I can eat it. But when it comes to apple pie, I can’t help myself. I want it in my mouth as soon as possible.
11/21/14 UPDATE: If you don’t have boiled apple cider lying around, don’t worry. Joy from Joy The Baker came up with the perfect solution (which makes sense- that girl knows about pie). She has you mix your apples with sugar, spices, and lemon juice, and then you drain the apples. This leaves a spiced apple juice, which can only get better if you add some butter and cook it down before mixing the apples up in it. You can read more about it here. So now it’s even easier to get a ridiculously apple-y apple pie. Do it!