Sunday, September 4, 2011

As American as Apple Pie

This blog post contradicts one of the main things your mother told you never to do: have dessert before dinner. The reason why I'm doing this is simple, the dessert I made last night was incredible. Being that apples are coming into season and Fall is upon us, I decided to make the quinticential American dessert, apple pie. Me being me, however, I decided to dress them up a bit. Instead of one big pie, I made individual, single-crust pies in ramekins.
Local apples here in Georgia are just starting to come into fruition. Back home in New York on the other hand, the crop is in full swing. I used Jersey Mac (a Macintosh hybrid) and Granny Smiths. I used an apple slicer to cut the apples, then cut each individual segment into thin slices. 

The next step will make the house smell like a friggin' candle shop and your mouth will water in anticipation!
I sauteed the slices in a (massive) pan with about half a stick of butter. From the seasoning department, something familiar, something not. Cinnamon and nutmeg were the primary traditional spices. I also used some sugar and a tiny bit of lemon juice to brighten things up. The interesting thing I decided to try was about a 1/4 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. It gave the sweet and tart apples an extra depth of warmth not provided by cinnamon. I can't wait to experiment with this more! Right before I took the apples off the heat, in went a pint of fresh blackberries. I wanted the blackberries to keep their shape in the oven, so I didn't want to cook them too much in the pan.

Speaking of oven, that's the next step. I made my pie crust in the food processor (with plenty of butter) and rolled it out on a chilled marble slab. In the search for a cutter, Sofi found a plastic cup in the cabinet that was just larger than the size of the ramekins. It worked out quite well and required minimal effort for such an elegant presentation! Sofi and I made little leaves out of scraps of the pie crust to put on top for that little extra touch. Egg wash, four vents slit on the top, and into the oven they went. They came out bubbling and looking delicious!
All I can say is wow. That cayenne adds such a depth, not to mention the apples were so sweet and so fresh. I want to make this in full on pie form around Thanksgiving. It's a wonderful celebration of Autumn and all the beautiful ingredients it has to offer!

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