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Trials and Tribulations Leading Up to the Bucktown Apple Pie Contest

After a peaceful full nights sleep following last nights La Traviata at Lyric Opera, I awoke yesterday to get started on my pies for tomorrows contest. I planned to make 3 types of crusts after all my friends and families critiques. Rather than my sour cream crust I wanted to use,1737,147173-245200,00.html , I wanted a flakier crust.So I was turning my ignition in my car, and sputter ,splat. The cars check engine light started to flash and car started going dead.So much for the store and contest! And not to mention worry about repair costs. Certain Someone assured me to continue and ask my aunt for a ride the next day to enter (he has golf and will turn up later on ). We got the insurance company to tow the car, and ,he took me to the store with the assurance everything will work out this week. So I got to the tasks of making my crusts. I decided to do a Pate Brisee , which I've done before, based on Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. Only with some modifications based on other research. This contest is intense and I already heard a piece on it on National Public Radio. Some people have been preparing all year. And I, only 1 week.
So I decided to use apple cider vinegar , rather than ice water. As I tripled the recipe for 3 double pie crusts( 2 for the contest, 1 for me) I used shortening with the butter( all very cold). I even put the flour in the freezer. I don't have Kitchen Aide , and I had to work quickly with the hands. I figured it worked with the ancestors, so it will work with me. I added cardamom to the crust and ground almond paste. Here's the gist of Martha's recipe with my changes in blue which doesn't make it Pate Brisse any longer!

Pate Brisee ( Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)
2 1/2 CUPS all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks( 1 cup) unsalted buter cut into cubes(1 Stick butter, 8 tsps shortneing)
1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed (ice cold apple cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 stick of Odense Almond Paste grated

Combine flour,salt(and cardamom). Add butter(and almond paste) and blend until the mixture resemble coarse crumbs. Add ice apple cider vinegar until dough holds together without being sticky or wet. Turn dough out on a work surface and divide in half. Shape into disks and place in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour to overnight. Dough may be frozen up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before using.
* for the flakiest crusts make sure ingredients( even the flour) are cold before you begin.

Because I used my hands and feared over kneading , my dough was fragile . I rolled out my discs in between wax paper, and peeled the layers of crust off the paper and into the pan/ onto the pie. Any holes I patched quickly and baked the pie at 350 degrees. My oven I discovered is tricky,and last week I over baked my pies, resulting in dryness.During the last 15 min I brushed my egg wash over the pie.

I'm calling my pie Spicy, Nutty, Caramel Apple Drizzle. I'm using a combo of apples such as Cortland,Golden Delicious, and Braeborn. Here's the bulk of my filling.

assorted apples
apple cider
instant tapioca for thickening( I ground mine in the coffee grinder)
touch of Black strap molasses
lemon to prevent discoloration
vanilla extract
butter for patting on top before sealing the crust.
egg wash of 1 egg and heavy cream to brush on dough.
caramel for topping after baked
chopped pecans and peanuts( I use salted for contrast)

And here's my result( I baked 3). Wish me luck.Its my first contest. Gale Gand of Tru and Nancy Mathieson of the
American Pie Council will be some of the distinguished judges.

Post Script Sunday October 14, 2007

Auntie Mame arrived early to drive me to the pie drop off. We got there early and the organizers were kind enough to let me check in. What a great group they are. This event is building up momentum over the years and proceeds of the sale of pie benefit the Friends of Holstein Park(in Bucktown). I explained about my car troubles and how I couldn't stay to help . They totally understood and said they would call if I won. Before I went to bed last night I fretted about all the professionals and pros involved as judges and entrants. I feared they would laugh at my entry, etc. Certain Someone said I was a pie freak and told me to got to bed. So I'm at home now while he plays golf. If he's up to it we will try to go back. Other than that I'll wait to see if I get anything prize wise. Nevertheless I'm glad I entered and had the experience. May this be the first of many contests and exploring.

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Deborah said...

This pie sounds AMAZING!! I love the changes you made to the crust. I like to use vinegar in my crusts, as well - I think that it makes it flakier. Whether you win a prize or not, it sounds like you have a winner here!!

The Caked Crusader said...

What a beautiful pie! I've never considered using peanuts with apple before you mention it, I'm intrigued!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That's ever so wonderful! A fantastic pie!