Hello from Portland, dears! I’m here, moved, in one piece, and I’m happy to say that all of my kitchen-related items survived the journey. Whoever the patron saint of fragile glass dishes and 12-hour journeys in giant rental trucks is… Thank you. And also, you don’t get nearly enough credit, in my opinion. (I mean, St. Anthony who? What has that guy done for us lately?)
…I was supposed to be Catholic, so I’m allowed to say things like that. Not that I should, but. PIE.
This was the last thing I made in the good old kitchen numero 10. It’s the most bittersweet fruit pie I’ve ever had–but it probably won’t be the case for you if you make it. It will just be sweet, full of soft, bubbly fall fruit, and just a hint of booze and herbs, because that’s how it goes around here.
You might notice that the crust is a little whole-grainy-looking. That’s because I was about to move and only had about a cup of all-purpose flour left, so the rest was whole wheat pastry flour. I wouldn’t normally recommend putting whole grain into a pie crust–because pie crusts are at their best when they’re as white, refined, buttery, and flaky as we can make them. That said, this was still great. What you lose in “whiteness” you gain in nutty, toasty flavor.
Sometimes you can’t choose what kind of brandy goes into your pie (spoiler alert: you can’t really taste a difference–it’s pie, not a cocktail). Still, have a tasting party of one, if you must. I did.
… And this is the best way I’ve found yet for cutting perfectly even lattice strips.
An egg wash and a sprinkling of coarse sugar are the most essential of optional steps I’ve ever written into a recipe. Just… Do it.
It’ll give your pie a tan and make it sparkly. This is beauty-pageant level pie.
Not that you were holding your breath or anything (ha), but I do apologize for how long it took me to get a post up. Things will pick up once I find my groove again… Just like Stella, minus Taye Diggs (who finally followed me on Twitter), plus a bunch of flour-dusted yoga pants. It’ll be great fun.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
- A cup of ice water (you won't use it all, but have it handy)
- Egg yolk, for egg wash
- Coarse sugar, such as turbinado, for sprinkling on top (optional but nice)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tart, firm (Granny Smith or something similar) apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
- 3 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- Pinch of salt
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple times until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine meal.
- Add 1/4 cup of ice water and pulse until mixture starts to come together. Add more water, up to another 1/4 cup, one tablespoon at a time (that's 4 tablespoons max), until dough is soft and pliable.
- Turn out onto floured surface and finish gathering into a ball. Divide in half, shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in large bowl, then add apples, pears, thyme, lemon juice, brandy, and salt. Set mixture aside while you roll out the dough.
- Roll out one dough disk on a floured surface until big enough to hang over edges of your pie pan, about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer to pie pan.
- Pour off excess moisture from the apple and pear mixture (just a couple tablespoons or so). Transfer filling into pie crust.
- Roll out the other dough disk and slice into strips for lattice top (alternatively, just place rolled out dough on top of the filling, crimp edges together, and cut a few slits into the top). Arrange strips into a lattice pattern. Trim and crimp edges.
- Make egg wash by whisking egg yolk and two tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Brush top of crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using.
- Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, then cover edges with foil, reduce temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake until filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes more. Cool pie on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.