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Ken Haedrich
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 Apple Pie Perfect

 Ken Haedrich
Ken Haedrich

Ken Haedrich is a former Navy Seabee turned pie aficionado. His new book, Apple Pie Perfect has over 100 recipes ranging from skins-on-the-apples in a whole wheat crust to frozen apple and peanut butter mousse.

Order Apple Pie Perfect


 traditional apple

Traditional Pie Apples:
- Northern Spy
- Cox's Orange Pippin
- Wealthy
- Yellow Bellflower
- Rhode Island Greening
- Bramley's Seedling
- Bightigheimer
- Newtown Pippin
- Holstein
- Calville Blanc
- Summer Rambo
- Jonathon
- Duchess
- Grimes Golden
- Gravenstein
- Winesap
- York Imperial
- King David
- Rome Beauty

Newer Pie Apples:
- Macoun
- Jonagold
- Granny Smith
- Ida Red
- Spigold
- Braeburn

For variety, try:
- Golden Russet
- Tolman Sweet
- Tompkins King
- Haralson
- Honeycrisp
- Swiss Gourmet
- Fuji
- Wolf River
- Baldwin

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A Festive Apple Pie for the Holidays
December 2002

A Festive Apple Pie for the Holidays Having immersed myself in the subject of apple pie for the last few years, I've developed something of a blind spot to the usual rhythms of the baking year. I know, for instance, that for the coming days and weeks the fragrance of gingerbread men and sugar-dusted stollen should be emanating from my kitchen. But I just can't seem to get apple pie out of my system. One imagines it would be otherwise - that having spent the last three months promoting my new book, Apple Pie Perfect, that I'd have tired of the subject. But the opposite seems to have occured: the more apple pies I make, and the more I talk about apple pie, the smitten I become.

So just how does an inverterate apple pie maker like myself spin apple pie for the holiday season? With just a few simple touches that you'll probably be able to find in your pantry or pick up at a local store.

The first is dried cranberries or cherries, both of which I love to bake with during the holidays. I recommend either because you might have a regional bias for one or the other. I like the sweetened cranberries, known as Craisins. And the dried tart cherries of the sort I buy at my local Fresh Fields or, on occasion, order by mail straight from the producer. The best tart cherries are grown in northernwestern Michigan and Door county Wisconsin, so try King Orchards or Wood Orchard to order cherries right from the orchard.

Borrowing a page from the fruitcake makers' book, I like to soak that dried fruit in some sort of orange liquer - Grand Marnier or another. If you have the time, let it soak overnight so it really absorbs into the fruit. Then add all of it, fruit and any loose liquer, right to the filling. It will give the pie a heady holiday flavor.

Finally there's the little bit of ground cloves I include. That really says "holidays" and, as a bonus, the smell reminds me of all those gingerbread people I'm NOT baking - absorbed, as I am, with creating yet another variation of America's favorite dessert.

Apple and Dried Cranberry (or Cherry) Pie with Gran Marnier
(from Apple Pie Perfect, Harvard Common Press, c 2002 Ken Haedrich)

1 recipe All-American Double Crust, refrigerated (below)

FILLING

1/2 (one-half) cup dried cranberries or tart dried cherries
1/4 (one-quarter) cup Grand Marnier or other orange liquer
7 to 8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
1/2 (one-half) cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 (one-eighth) teaspoon ground cloves

GLAZE

Milk and sugar

  1. Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and add the liquer. Set aside for at least one hour. If you haven't already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate it until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

  2. On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the larger piece of pastry into a 13 1/2- (thirteen and one-half) inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and let the edge of the pastry drape over the side of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  3. To make the filling, mix the apples, sugar, orange zest, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the cranberries and Grand Marnier. Sprinkle the flour and cloves over the filling and mix well. Turn the filling into the refrigerated pie shell and smooth the top with your hands to even it out.

  4. On another sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the top pastry into an 11 1/2- (eleven and one-half) inch circle. Lightly moisten the edge of the pie shell with a wet fingertip or pastry brush. Invert the top pastry over the filling, center it, and peel off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge. Trim the pastry with scissors, leaving an even 1/2- (one-half) inch overhang all around, then sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge. Poke several steam vents in the top of the pie with a paring knife; put a couple of the vents near the edge of the crust, so you can check the juices there later. Brush the top of the pie with a little milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

  5. Put the pie directly on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a large, dark baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Put the pie on the baking sheet back in the oven and bake until any juices - visible at the steam vents - bubble thickly, another 30 to 40 minutes.

  6. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

All-American Double Crust 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 (three-quarters) teaspoon salt
1 1/2 (one-and-one-half) sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 (one-quarter) cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 (one-half) cup cold water

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss well, by hand, to mix. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients; toss. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour until it is broken into pieces the size of split peas. Add the shortening and continue to cut until all of the fat is cut into small pieces.

  2. Sprinkle half of the water over the dry mixture; toss well with a fork to dampen the mixture. Add the remaining water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue to toss and mix, pulling the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl on the upstroke and gently pressing down on the downstroke. If it seems to need more water in order to cohere, add it no more than 1 tablespoon at a time.

  3. Using your hands, pack the pastry into 2 balls, as you would pack a snowball. Make one ball slightly larger than the other; this will be your bottom crust. Knead each ball once or twice, then flatten the balls into thick disks on a floured work surface. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling.

    Makes enough pastry for one 9-inch deep-dish double-crust pie or two 9-inch deep-dish pie shells

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