Baking continues. Sometimes I almost have a thought that’s worth sharing, or I almost manage to write something, but those moments blip past pretty quickly. So here’s a recipe.
For the pastry, I’m giving you volume (cups) and weight measures. Scales are cheap and weighing ingredients is so much quicker, easier, etc., but you do you! The crumble topping ingredients are much less precise – I’ve made tasty apple crisps with “a couple of heaping spoonfuls” of each ingredient plus “the rest of that stick of butter.”
Also, I have this weird convention where I capitalize Tablespoon and lowercase teaspoon, because it’s so easy to mix them up. (Was that supposed to be a big spoonful of sugar or a small one? Crap…) The big-T thing helps.
If you’re really scared of pastry, just make an apple crumble – omit the pie crust, follow the rest of the directions.
- 1 1/4 cup / 185 g King Arthur gluten free flour
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, but if you want to get some, it might be near the gluten free flour)
- 3/4 stick / 6 Tablespoons / 85 g butter
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 3 pounds (8 medium) baking apples, like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup gluten free flour
- 1/2 cup quick-cook oatmeal (NOT steel cut!)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 stick butter
- Pinch salt
For the crust:
Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together. Cut in cold butter til crumbly, with some pea sized chunks remaining. Whisk the egg and vinegar together til smooth, then stir in to flour mixture. The dough should barely hold together in a ball. Add cold water a few drops at a time if necessary. Form dough into a flat disk, wrap or bag in a quart bag, and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Do not cheat!
When you’re ready to bake:
Preheat the oven to 425. Put a cookie sheet on the lowest rack.
Most recipes call for 2 1/2 lbs of apples but apples come in 3 lb bags, so just use the whole bag. Peel, core, halve, and slice 1/4″ thick. Toss in a large bowl with lemon juice, sugars, salt, and spices.
Let dough warm on countertop about fifteen minutes before you’re ready to roll it. Roll on a well floured piece of parchment paper or silpat, checking to make sure it doesn’t stick. If it does, slide the whole thing in the freezer to firm up before you peel the paper off. When you’ve got a big enough circle of dough flop it into your pie dish and stick in the freezer while you deal with apples. Don’t bother trimming the edges of the dough.
Carefully pour the juices off of the apple slices into a nonstick pan or skillet. Add the butter and bring to a boil over medium heat. While the juice is reducing, toss the apple slices with the corn starch. Add any extras – dried cherries are nice – and pour the apples into the pie shell. When the juice and butter has gotten slightly syrupy, pour it in too.
The filling is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s apple pie recipe, and she calls for reducing the juice by half. I’ve tried it that way and ended up with dry pie. I suspect it’s the apples – if you’re using really juicy fresh apples, reduce the liquid more, but if you’re using Granny Smiths in the mesh bag trucked in to your local grocery, just boil the apple liquid for a few minutes.
For the crumble, mix the dry ingredients together, then use your hands to squish the butter in. The topping will just barely hold together when it’s mixed enough. Add it on top of the apples. Fold the rough edges of the pie crust down in an attractive rustic fashion.
Bake at 425, on the lowest rack, until the apples are tender and the juices bubble thickly, about 60-75 minutes. If the topping starts to brown too fast, turn the heat down to 375 after the first 30 minutes.
You can assemble the pie ahead of time. Freeze the whole thing, unbaked, and just bake straight from frozen. It will take a few minutes longer, maybe an hour and a half. The gluten free pastry doesn’t brown as well as the real deal, which works to your advantage with pie.