This is the pie that got me over the divorce hump and into the MasterChef 3 Top 100. There is something mesmerizing about chopping an apple while you’re imaginary fighting with your ex-husband. I can’t recommend it enough as a part of your healing process. This recipe makes 7 cup-pies and takes about two hours.
- Cupcake tin
- Cupcake liners
- Rolling Pin
- Apple Corer
- Chef’s Knife
- Pastry Cutter or Food Processor
- Wooden Spoon
- Deep sauté pan
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour (plus some extra for dusting your work surface)
- ¼ cup plain bleached cake flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces (3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced pea-sized
- 1/8 cup chilled veggie shortening
- ¼ cup ice water (sub 1/8 cup vodka for 1/8 cup water for AMAZING crust)
- ¼cup sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ pinch nutmeg
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 cups thinly sliced apples
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans plus another 1/8 cup for garnish
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Just like revenge, pie crust ingredients are best served COLD. For an amazing crispy crust that flakes more than someone off their meds keep your warm little fingers out of the mix. You should also use ice cold water, chilled butter and chilled shortening. You can sub 1/8 cup chilled vodka for 1/8 cup ice water. The vodka evaporates as you bake the pie and leaves behind the lightest crust ever! CHEF’S NOTE: The vodka is also great for tasting while you cook and… reminisce.
If you’re using a food processor pulse but please don’t blend! Blending is BAD. If you’re using a pastry cutter work as quickly as you can and keep your fingers off the dough! Either way, mix both the flours and the salt thoroughly. Add the butter and pulse five or six times. Add the shortening and pulse five or six times. Add most but not all of the water and pulse briefly. If the dough is massing on the blades of your food processor or cutter you have mixed it too much. START OVER. The dough should be crumbly and lumpy. It will just hold together when pressed between your fingertips. If the dough is too dry add a few drops more of water and pulse. Flatten into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
While your pie dough chills, make the topping. The trick is to mix the dry ingredients first and then add the wet. Take the brown sugar, the flour, and the quick-cooking rolled oats and get those incorporated well. Cut the butter in with a few pulses of your food pro or use a few strokes of your pastry cutter. The mixture should be crumbly. Refrigerate.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Now get ready for THERAPY! Peel and core the apples and slice them a ¼ inch thin. You can use a mandolin but I LOVE the feel of a chef’s knife in my hand. I like to pretend each apple is my ex-husband’s face. OMG! They may not be perfect slices, but the release is amaze balls! Put the apple slices in a large bowl and toss them with the lemon juice. This gives them a nice flavor but most importantly stops the apples from oxidizing and turning brown. Also, if it were really your ex’s face this part would sting A LOT. In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and salt. Sprinkle the apples evenly with this mixture and toss again. Put the coated apples in a deep pan and sauté them on mid low until steam starts to rise from them and they have started to soften. Mix frequently with a wooden spoon during this process.
Take the apples off the heat and let them soak up the sugary goodness while you make a quick caramel sauce and an egg wash. In a small saucepan melt the butter on medium heat until it starts to look foamy but isn’t browning. Add the brown sugar and whisk whisk, whisk, whisk until there are no more sugar crystals. This will take about two minutes. CAREFULLY mix in the whipping cream. It will snap, crackle, pop all over the place so again BE CAREFUL. Whisk whisk whisk til the caramel sauce is nice and creamy. Take off the heat, add your vanilla and mix again. Add the pecans and mix again. For the egg wash crack one egg in a small bowl and whisk in a tablespoon of heavy cream. Put it in the fridge.
AND THE FOURTH THING
Your dough should be seriously chilled by now. Flour your work area lightly and roll out the pie dough. Pretend it’s a clock and roll from the center of the clock out to 11, 12 and 1. Rotate a quarter turn, and roll from the center out again. If the dough cracks, you’re going to have to start the whole thing over. I’m kidding. Simply press it together. Roll the dough out quickly (remember you want to keep it cold!) until it is a ¼ inch thick. If it sticks to the rolling pin dust it with a little more flour. Cut out circles with a four inch biscuit cutter or trim around a flattened cupcake liner with a sharp knife. To construct the cup-pie, first flatten a cupcake liner and press the circle of pie dough onto it. Gently press the dough all the way to the edges of the liner, til the liner is completely covered with dough. Press the pie dough, liner down into one of the cupcake molds. Fill the cup-pie with apples all the way to the top. Make sure to arrange the slices carefully and press down as much as possible so that the cup-pie doesn’t collapse as the apples bake and shrink in size. Top the cup-pie with a few tablespoons of your oatmeal mixture. Pick the ugliest cup-pie to be the runt of the litter. This will be your “test” pie AKA the one you poke at to make sure the crust is cooked through etc.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 375 then lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. The pie is done when the dough is crispy and the topping is bubbly. Take your test cup-pie and slice into it to make sure the apples and dough are cooked through. Let the cup-pies cool for ten or so minutes. Top them with a heaping tablespoon of your crunchy caramel sauce and garnish with about a teaspoon of chopped pecans. TAADAA!!!! You did it!!! Cup-pies make for a great surprise for that very special co-worker you really wish would ask you out or as a fun school snack for your lovely kiddo. File this under brown bag PERFECTION!