In a vain attempt to win a $2.00 trophy for pastry chef bragging rights at work, I have spent a lot of time fussing about the appearance of my pie. Mind you, appearance was only 5 points; I scored the highest for presentation. However, since I took a huge risk in trying a new recipe which calls for stewing apples on stove top, the appearance of the filling would be far from your light chunky apple filling. Also, there’s no doubt about double-crusted pies tasting better!
The rules of the contest are such: spices allowed are cinnamon and nutmeg. You have to use the same kind of tart apples from an apple tree (which is not mine). There were six bakers and six pies:
I also took a huge risk in my pie crust: it was a half butter and a half lard mixture, following exactly the same steps in making my pie puff pastry.
As much as I would have loved to follow the recipe exactly for a Centennial Canadian Apple Pie (a treasury of recipes from Nova Scotia, circa late 1800s), but brandy is a banned ingredient. Thus, I adapted my recipe for the filling below, also using a professional pastry chef textbook as a reference:
Brown Sugar (Demera) — less than a 1/4 cup
Icing Sugar (to thicken the apple sauce)
(As much as I would have loved to add lemon zest, I didnt…!)
- Melt about 1 to 1.5 tablespoon of butter and add apple mixture (apples coated in brown sugar, spices and 1 tbsp of flour)
- Let the apples stew but do not over-cook as they will undergo a 400F oven.
- After a while, the apples would get runny. You can thicken the apple mixture by adding sifted icing sugar.
In effect, I caramelized the sugar to give my apple filling a rich and dark look.
My pie was placed at fourth, but due to a controversial use of all-spice for the 2nd runner up’s pie, I suppose my pie takes 2nd runner up. Since I was going for the looks of the pie, I think I am quite satisfied with how it looks. How it tastes? It’s not too bad — it could have used some orange brandy.