Apples, Straight from the Source

I decided to play around with the apples a bit in this attempt, making the most of a weeknight burst of energy and a few leftover Pink Ladies in the fridge.

This pie wasn't really created with the intention of achieving perfection, but it provided some solid butter crust practice (less messy this time, better dough to work with), and I switched up my sugars, substituting brown for my lack of white sugar. Problem: I forgot the flour this time around, which resulted in a bit more of a juice, but the flavor received a significant brightness from some experimental orange peel. A very fragrant, fresh filling came through in the end.

As I mentioned, this was more or less a 'practice pie' so I didn't bother with the egg/ milk wash this time around. You can see the difference here. You can also see where I taste-tested the crust a little- hehe.

I do not yet have a photo of my shortening attempt, but I felt the crust was a little too 'pop tart' tasting for my liking. Could use a tweak or two next attempt. Thumbs up for the Pink Ladies in this one. The more the merrier!

And this past weekend, after an expanding waistline required a baking break, (c'mon, it's not like the butter crust is going to eat itself!) my resident taste tester and I took our research on the road to celebrate a perfect fall day at Kuiper's Family Farm apple orchard in Maple Grove. Fantastic day, and some delish Empires were ripe for the pickin'.

So, after receiving tips on the best heirloom, tart, firm, traditional apples (I made my mother solicit advice from our family Thanksgiving pie suppliers, who only use Granny Smiths- 'to better control the level of sweetness' they said).

I welcome recommendations on a reliable filler fruit for the impending contest...what would you pick?

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