Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food Styling and Photos by Kelly Hong © 8-8-2016 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
August marks the beginning of apple season.
Beautiful fresh apples, perfect or misshapen, practically beg to be baked in a pie.
We created this pie to celebrate the new apple crop, and Autumn, which will soon call the kids back to school, and the sweaters out of our closets.
Precooking the apples for the filling helps prevent the pie's bottom from becoming soggy.
It's because I have found that premade pie crusts take longer to cook on their bottoms, perhaps from excess sugar or moisture, or from being rolled thicker
No worries about artificial food coloring with this pie, because we discovered a new brand of plant-based food coloring, TruColor. After much testing, we found that it yields bright and intense color and it is very easy to work with.
We want to help prevent food waste and show you ways to use what we call misshapen or ugly produce.
PIES AND TARTS RECIPE HELP
1 recipe Kelly’s Perfect Food Processor Pie Dough, double crust; make ahead and chill - This pie dough can be made 2 to 3 days in advance and refrigerated or frozen for up to a month. Thaw in refrigerator before use.
4 to 5 pounds Gravenstein and Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges; can use Golden Delicious apples
2/3 cup sugar or 1/3 cup sugar or 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1.5-inch leaf cutter, for leaves
2-inch round cutter, for apples|
Pastry cutting wheel
3 whole cloves for decorating the pie
Items needed to paint the pie:
TruColor Gel Paste Food Color (The dyes are made from natural plant based ingredients, such as turmeric, spirulina extract, beets, vegetable and fruit juice, citric acid, and vegetable and plant based gums.)
plastic painters palette; PERFECT for rehydrating the powdered food color.
Vodka, to thin the colors; NOTE: Using vodka to thin the color is preferable to water, because the alcohol will evaporate more easily than water, leaving a better finish.
Several small food-safe paint brushes
2 small bowls; You will need one small bowl for water, which is used to rehydrate the powdered food color; You will need another small bowl for the vodka, which will be used to THIN the rehydrated color.
STEP I: MAKE THE APPLE PIE FILLING
NOTES: Here's a fast and easy way I cut my apples; I do not core them!
After peeling my apples, I cut 4 slabs of apple, staying well away from the core, and then I simply cut the 4 slabs into slices. It's a lot faster, and easier than using an apple corer.
1. In a large bowl, toss the apple wedges with lemon juice.
2. Toss the apples with sugar.
3. Melt butter in an 11-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the apples.
4. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are barely tender. Transfer to a 7- x 11-inch pan to cool.
5. In a small bowl, combine the flour and cinnamon, allspice and cloves; sprinkle evenly over the cooked apples.
Combine gingerly with a large spoon. You do not want to break up the apple slices and turn them into applesauce.
6. Cover and refrigerate to cool.
STEP II: HEAT THE OVEN. ROLL THE CHILLED PIE DOUGH. FILL THE PIE PAN. PLACE A TOP CRUST AND CRIMP.
1. Position an oven shelf to the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Roll out one half of the dough fairly thinly, about 1/8-inch thick, then fit it into a pie pan.
Wrap and place the other dough half in the refrigerator.
2. Put the cooled pre-cooked and cooled apple pie filling into the fitted pie dough bottom.
3. Roll out the other portion of dough 1/8-inch thick and place it over the filling.
Press the edges together, then trim the excess dough, leaving about 1/4-inch overhang.
Then fold the edge under, and crimp the edge.
4. Gather the dough scraps together, and press them down into a disk.
Wrap with plastic wrap and pop them into the freezer for 15 minutes, to firm them up.
Place the pie into the refrigerator while you wait.
STEP II: DECORATE THE TOP PIE CRUST WITH A DESIGN. BAKE.
We used this as a design guide for the top crust:
1. Remove disk of scrap dough from the freezer and cut it in half.
Place half in the refrigerator, and roll out the other half into a rectangle.
The dough should be quite thin.
Using a rotary pastry cutter, cut out an abstracted branch shape.
Gather the scraps, wrap them and put them in the refrigerator.
2. Roll out the second half of the dough scraps and cut out three rounds.
Use the tip of the leaf cutter to cut out notches in the top and bottom of the circle to give it an apple shape.
Use your fingers to define the shape even further.
Wrap the scraps and place them in the refrigerator.
3. Carefully flip over cut branch, and brush the back with a little water.
Flip it back over and carefully fit it to the top of the pie.
Then, brush the backs of the apples and place them along the branch.
4. Cut little stem shapes to attach the apples to the branch.
Brush with water, and gently press into place.
5. Remove the rest of the dough scraps from the refrigerator and cut out as many leaf shapes as you can.
Again, the dough should be thin.
Use a metal cake tester, or a toothpick, to impress veins into the leaves.
This may look tedious, but it goes very quickly, once you get the hang of it.
6. Arrange the leaves along the branch, brushing the back of each one with a little water, to adhere it to the crust.
You can bend a few leaves up, here and there, to give them more dimensionality.
7. Cut half the stem off of three whole cloves.
Dampen the blossom end of apples, then press in the stem end of a clove into each apple.
8. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet.
Cut small steam vents around the perimeter of the pie, avoiding the branch elements.
Do NOT brush with egg wash or sprinkle with sugar.
9. Bake the pie for about an hour, or until the crust is light golden brown.
If the edge or decorations on the top of the pie start to brown too much, cover the pie loosely with foil.
Place the finished pie on a rack to cool, for about one hour.
STEP III: PAINT THE BAKED AND COOLED PIE
1. Gather your painting tools. It is really important to be organized when you do a project like this.
2. Place 1/4 teaspoon of each of the listed colors in a small bowl, or in the sections of a plastic painter’s palette.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of water to each color, and mix with a toothpick, or a chopstick.
3. Mix the color for the tree branch.
Dip a brush into the “leaf green” color and place a large dollop on a ceramic plate.
Add a smaller dollop of the “sunset yellow” and mix the two colors together.
Add a small drop of the “super red” and mix.
This should give you a medium golden brown color.
Test the color by brushing it onto a sheet of white paper.
Dip a brush into the vodka and thin the color to watercolor consistency.
Paint the branch and apple stems with the brown food color.
4. For the leaves, gather a large dollop of the “leaf green” and a slightly smaller dollop of the “spring green” and mix them together.
I decided to add a small touch of the “sunset yellow” as well.
Thin the color with vodka, to watercolor consistency, and paint the leaves.
5. Take a dollop of “spring green” and mix it with a small dollop of yellow to make a pale bright green, similar to the color of a Granny Smith apple.
Thin to watercolor consistency with vodka.
Use an apple as a model, and paint splotches of green on each apple, being careful to make the splotches random, so each apple is different.
Let the green dry completely, before painting the red.
This should take about 15 minutes.
6. The TruColor “super red” is a very concentrated color.
Take a large dollop out, on a brush and mix it with a smaller dollop of the “sunset yellow”.
Thin to watercolor consistency with vodka.
Carefully paint around the green on each apple, forming natural looking streaks through the green.
Using an apple as a model is a huge help.
As soon as the colors are dry, the pie is ready to serve.
You can paint the pie 2-3 days ahead, storing the pie under a cake dome, at room temperature.
Unbaked and unpainted pies can be frozen for a month or more. No need to thaw before baking.