Hard Cider Apple Pie

What screams "America!" more than alcoholic apple pie?  This delicious recipe is from my favorite cookbook, The Boozy Baker.  The combination of tart green apples, molasses-y dark brown sugar, and hard apple cider is irresistible!

Hard Cider Apple Pie
From The Boozy Baker

Ingredients for the Crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon vodka
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon raw sugar (optional)

Ingredients for the Pie:
2 1/2 pounds (about 5 medium) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 3/4-inch slices
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons hard cider, divided
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Zest of 1 lemon

1.  To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor.  Give it a few good pulses to combine.  Add the cubes of butter, a few at a time, and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand.  Add the vodka and then the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together in large clumps.  
2.  Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.  Flatten each half into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 to 60 minutes.

3.  To make the filling, combine the apple slices, 2/3 cup hard cider, the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved and the apples are thickly coated, about 5 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons hard cider with the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and boil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid is thick and clear.  Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest, and allow mixture to cool for 30 minutes.

5.  Remove both halves of the pie dough from the refrigerator.  On a clean, well-floured work surface, roll one disk of the dough into a 12-inch circle.  Transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate.  Pour the apple mixture into the crust.

6.  Roll the second half of the dough into a 12-inch circle and transfer it to the top of the pie.  Pinch the edges of the top and bottom crusts together.  Trim any excess dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang.  Crimp the edges decoratively with a fork and cut three 2-inch vents in the center of the top crust.  Transfer the pie to the freezer and chill for 1 hour, or until it is very cold and the crust is firm to the touch.

7.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and arrange a rack in the lower third.  Brush the top of the pie with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the raw sugar, if using.  Bake the pie 20 minutes.  Then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake another 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.  (If the edges of the pie brown too quickly, tent them with aluminum foil.)

8.  Cool the pie on a wire rack before serving.  Enjoy warm, or a la mode!

This is the third recipe in my series of refreshing and luscious summer desserts.  Click these links for St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake and Hummingbird Cake.


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