Saturday, November 10, 2012
Apple Pear Pie in a Cast Iron Skillet (or two)
And the chef challenge continues.
First was Tyler Florence's Chicken Francese
Second was Ann Burrell's Braised Chicken with Tomatillos and Jalapenos
This week...Ina Garten.
I saw where someone had baked a pie in a cast iron skillet (thought that was totally cool!). Then I watched something about pie's on one of the cooking channels. By then pie was totally on the brain. Not only did I want to bake a pie...but I wanted to try my hand at making a lattice crust. A little research, a couple demos and I was ready to go.
Not trusting my pie crust skills (especially with the lattice experimenting)...instead of making one pie, I decided to make 2 small pies. One with a lattice top and the other just regular.
Safety net thing..ya know? In case the lattice top was a total fail, I'd still have one that looked...edible.
I have these two cute little cast iron skillets. They're about 5". Perfect for my two pies.
Well, guess what? I had so much fun with the lattice top, I ended up making them both the same
I went with the All American Apple Pie. Only...I didn't have enough apples. So I added pears. Plus, if I didn't use up my pears, they were going to go to waste. That was the only alteration I did to Ina's Deep Dish Apple Pie recipe.
The best thing about this recipe of hers is the crust! I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED the crust. (which is saying a hell of a lot cuz I'm not really into pie crust). Ina uses both butter and shortening. Plus she adds a bit of sugar. And....because of her....I now know how to make a crust, using my food processor. Homemade crust in a snap!
The pie itself is very good! However....I will make a few changes next time. Ina's a big fan of zest. I am too. It's just that....with the use of lemon and orange zest in the pie, it was a bit much. The apple and spice flavors were forced into the background. (pear isn't a strong flavor anyway....it was just a nice texture addition). I think a little less zest...or even none at all (but keep the orange juice)...would be a nice balance.
Or maybe the apples I used just weren't tart enough to carry the citrus flavors?
Apple Pear Pie in a Cast Iron Skillet
Perfect Pie Crust
12 TB very cold unsalted butter, diced
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 TB sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 - 8 TB ice water
Apple Pear Pie filling
2 lbs apples (I used honeycrisp) peeled, cored and chopped into chunks (or quarter or sliced)
2 lbs Bosc Pears (or some other type of firm pear), peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
2 TB lemon juice
1 TB orange juice
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling the top
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 egg, whisked with 1 TB of water for the egg wash
Preheat the oven to 400' F
No prep-work needed for the cast iron skillets.
Note: I put my food processor bowl and blade in the refrigerator and chilled before using. The less opportunity your butter and shortening have to warm up, the better the crust.
Place the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor. Pulse a few times to mix it all up. Add the butter and shortening and pulse 8 - 12 times, until the butter is pea sized. While pulsing the machine, add in the ice water through the feed tube until the dough forms into a ball.
Turn the dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a ball. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Just before the dough is done chilling, prepare your filling by combining the apples, pears, lemon and orange zest and juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
Take one half of the dough out (leaving the other in the fridge until you're ready to use). Because I used 2 small skillets, half of this dough will be for one little 5" pie, top and bottom crust. If I had used a 9" or 10" skillet, it would've been just the bottom crust.
Divide in half (set half aside for the top) and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and drape it over the skillet. Gently fit the dough into bottom and sides of the pan and allow the dough to extend 1/2" over the edge, trimming the dough away as needed.
If you notice that your filling is very wet and moist, don't be afraid to sprinkle some corn starch on the bottom crust before adding the filling
Fill the pie with half of your apple mixture. Brush the edges of the dough with an egg wash.
With the other half that you just set aside, roll and place on top of the pie, trimming the edges to about 1" over the edge. Tuck and pinch and crimp the the two edges together. Make a couple of slits on top.
Or....Cut into 1" strips, laying them on top of the pie and weaving to make a lattice top. Here's a great demo on How to make a lattice pie crust
Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Brush the tops of your pies with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Take strips of aluminum foil and cover the edges of your crust (so they don't brown and burn too quickly). Place the pie on a foil line baking sheet (this will catch the messy juices that will bubble over).
Bake for about 45 minutes (if you made one large 9" or 10" pie, you will need to bake it for 1 to 1 1/4 hours), until the tops are brown and the juices in the pie begin to bubble out.
Serve warm, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What we have here is a nice flaky crust with a hint of sweet...firm yet tender apples, contrasting with the soft pears....and yes. I want to make these little pies again. And again.
I may never bake another full sized pie. They are the perfect size for sharing...and keeping, without being too committed to one flavor.