This is one of those desserts I wasn’t sure if I actually liked or not. I don’t ever remember having a slice of French Apple Pie before, but for some reason I associated it with being an overly sweet dessert.
One day, I had a friend of mine ask me to make him a French apple pie. Of course I immediately said yes. Then I dug in to do some research.
How was the world making French apple pie? To the Google Machine I went.
After a few minutes reading over some recipes and French apple pie history, I came up with a plan. I had several days before my friend needed his pie, so it only made sense to give it a test run on Sunday night dinner.
I wrote up a recipe using my favorite pie crust, a combination of my apple pop tart filing and apple pie filling then added raisins. I started to gather my ingredients. No MILK! How was I going to make my favorite pie crust without milk? I did have buttermilk on hand. Eh, why not, let’s see what buttermilk will do to my crust. If it doesn’t work out, I still have a few days before I need to make my friends pie and plenty time to get milk.
Guess what though? Buttermilk instead of whole milk was successful and made for a delicious crust that balanced the sweetness of the pie.
BUTTERMILK PIE CRUST:
1 3/4 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and cut into 16 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of buttermilk
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, mix together the flour, sugar and salt for 15 seconds.
Scatter the butter over top of the flour and mix on low for 1-11/2 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and the buttermilk. Add this to the flour mixture and turn the mixer on low for about 30 seconds or until the dough comes together.
Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface and pile it high like a mountain.
Using the palm of your hand slide a layer of dough down the mountain and into the valley. Continue to do this until all the dough is spread across the surface and you see streaks of butter. Then pile the dough back into a mountain. Repeat this process 2-3 more times.
Pat the dough into a 1 inch thick circle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. At this point you can also freeze the dough for up to a month.
When you are ready to roll out the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut off 1/3 of the dough and recover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator. You will use this to cover the top of your pie. Roll the remaining 2/3 of the dough into a 10 inch circle on a well floured surface.
Transfer the dough into a pie pan. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the crust for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is light brown. Remove the beans and set the pie crust aside.
FRENCH APPLE PIE FILLING:
6-7 Gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup of raisins
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup of confectioners sugar
11/2-2 tablespoons of water
In a large saucepan over high heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and raisins, cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the brown sugar and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool for 20-30 minutes. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, flour, and salt and mix thoroughly.
Roll the 1/3 portion of the dough into about a 9 inch circle on a well floured surface. Cut out a fancy design, I choose a bell. Fill the par baked pie crust with the apple filling, then cover with the top of the dough. Mix together 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the mixture over the top of the crust.
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the pie is nice golden brown. If you notice the edges are browning faster than the center, simply cover with aluminum foil for the remainder of the baking time. Mix together the cup of confectioners sugar and water. Drizzle the glaze over top of the crust.
Aren’t those layers gorgeous?!!
Let the pie cool for at least 1 hour. Store the pie on the counter top at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap for up to 2 days.