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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Breton Apple Pie for "Pi" Day!

Pi Day is held on March 14 to celebrate the mathematical constant π (pi) (because pi is roughly equal to 3.14... get it?). Anyway, I know pi and pie are two different things, but I'll accept any excuse to bake! Gala apples were REALLY cheap a few days ago, and I bought a few pounds. I didn't want to make a plain 'ole apple pie, so I looked in a cookbook I've had since Christmas but never used, The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri. I found a recipe for Breton Apple Pie. I was intrigued by it because he describes it as more of a cake-like crust with a cooked apple filling. And it was like a sign from up above that the recipe called for 4 egg yolks, and magically I happened to have 4 egg yolks sitting in the fridge! It was destiny!

How'd it taste?? The pie was... different. On the first day, I didn't like it too much because the crust was crunchier than I expected. However, when I ate a microwaved slice the next day, the crust reminded me of a scone. Mind you I've never eaten a scone, but I've heard that they're like a sweet version of a biscuit. That's what the crust reminded me of. Much better reheated the second day with a scoop of ice cream and some caramel sauce!


He says the apple filling will be like a chunky applesauce. I was glad mine didn't turn out that way. My apples stayed in tact while I cooked them, probably because I used Gala instead of Golden Delicious. Gotta love a press-in pie crust!
I couldn't get the lattice pattern on my top crust before baking because the fork was just pulling up the dough, so mine looked like this when it was baked...
And it came out a little shorter than Mr. Malgieri's! Oops...?
Breton Apple Pie (from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri)
Makes one 10-inch pie, about 12 servings

For the filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious (or Gala) apples, peeled, cut in half and cored; cut each half into 6 wedges
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the dough
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the cake pan
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks, plus an egg wash of 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt
2 3/4 cups flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)

For the filling: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan that has a tight-fitting cover, such as an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. Add the apples and sprinkle them with the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, checking them and stirring occasionally, until they are swimming in liquid. Uncover and cook for about 10 minutes, so the liquid evaporates; stir occasionally to keep the apples from sticking or scorching. (Most of the apples will disintegrate while the filling is cooking, making it like a chunky applesauce.) Remove from the heat and let cool while you make the dough.

For the dough: Set an oven rack on the lowest level of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Use a little butter to grease a 10-inch round cake pan. Cut a round of parchment or wax paper to fit in the bottom, then butter the paper. Have ready two 10-inch cardboard rounds or tart bottoms.

Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer. Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is very light and aerated. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to incorporate the flour.

Place half of the dough in the bottom of the prepared pan. Use your fingertips to press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Spread the cooled filling over the dough (My filling was still very warm, but it didn't make a difference).

Flour the remaining dough lightly on both sides and press it into a 10-inch disk (use a cardboard or tart pan bottom as a guide). Run a long-bladed knife or spatula under the dough to keep it from sticking. Invert the dough onto a separate floured cardboard and slide it onto the filling.

Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash. Use the tines of a fork to trace a lattice pattern on the top. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the dough is nicely colored and baked through. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert, unmold and turn right side up again (it's good to use one of the cardboard disks or tart bottom for this). Let cool completely.

To serve, slide the Breton pie onto a platter and cut it into wedges at the table. (I need to get a cute cake stand!)

26 comments:

Iqphantom said...

Very nice indeed...
I love apple pies.
Of all the pies they are my favourite.

Congrats!!! I think this one is a keeper.

P.S. It would look great on a cute cake stand.

Steph said...

I like the cake like crust. I think I'd probably enjoy it more than normal crust. It seems a little easier to make too.. gotta love those press ins!

The Food Librarian said...

Looks great! Love when you have the exact 4 yolks in the refrig! :) Happy Pi Day!

veggievixen said...

it should totally be "pie" day anyway.

Dani said...

i am not normally a pie kinda gal. but this might convert me :)

Daniëlle said...

I loooove 'Bretons' cakes!!!

Hendria said...

This looks delicious.... :) I will have to add it to my list of to trys...


I have also tagged you :)

Sara said...

Looks yummy! Happy Pi Day!

Elyse said...

This apple pie looks so unique and delicious! I like the idea of a scone-type crust. I'm glad it aged well--that's what really counts in a dessert. I've been eying modern baker for a while...do you think the book is worth buying?

Christina said...

This sounds really good, and a great recipe for days when you don't have a crust or don't have time to make it.

gourmandelise said...

Quelle merveille cette apple pie!! Je me régale des yeux!!

A. Fiercehair said...

Pi Day. :) Who knew?

I keep meaning to pay more attn to your list of holidays on the left.

Jude said...

I like your line of thinking. Any excuses to nake is good enough for me, too :)

apparentlyjessy said...

Yum, looks delicious, I am totally in the mood for apple pie now, as the weather is starting to cool down here is Australia. Hurrah for Pie day!

Lanny said...

no way, you've never eaten a scone?

I cannot imagine making an apple pie with anything resembling a golden delicious, not only does it turn to mush you wouldn't really know you were eating something with apple in it, way too mild. So very good in changing up the apple. Yes, the Gala is a cross of the GD but the Kidd's Orange Red get's it out of the tepid slump, next time try an even bolder apple.

Sorry, I'm from Washington and I'm very picky about which apples to use for what.

Happy cook said...

Looks so delicious.
You know i have never ever made a pie at home.
I always think it is so difficult to make a pie.

CookiePie said...

You can't go wrong with apple pie -- yours looks great!

ARLENE said...

MMmm! I think I would like this; I'm not much for regular apple pie. It looks really rustic.

Ingrid said...

Great save on adding ice cream and heating it up to make it better.

Btw, I've actually found a couple of nice cake stands at Ross.
~ingrid

Selba said...

This looks so good!!!

Btw, after all this time, my cupcakes were sinking, I finally made no sinking cupcakes but in a silly way, hehehe...

Lanny said...

Glad you came over to chat. Granny Smith are not a bad apple and they are certainly available easily enough. Some of my favorite apples are hard to come by if your only options are the local supermarkets. Braburn are a good apple, related to the Granny Smith, the other parent brings more complexity to the flavor. Gravenstein, Jonathan, Pippins, Winesaps are top pie apples. One of the things that determines a good apple for a pie for me is the nature of the juice, some may hold their shape and flavor but give off too much juice and need too much flour or whatever you choose for a thickener thus altering the fresh bright flavor. Some have very little juice and that is a bummer.

Next fall or late summer, as the new crop begins, try comparing a few, charts are a good start but I find some of them incorrect or perhaps they like something I do not.

Happy baking, what is going to be you first selection from Sky High? And I will be trying your spumoni cupcakes soon.

♥Rosie♥ said...

Definitely one gorgeous apple pie...

Apple pie has to be my favourite dessert pie. This really looks a lovely recipe!

Eliana said...

Everytime I go to the bookstore I thumb through The Modern Baker. do you think it's worth buying?

dessertobsessed said...

your pie is so pretty! i love the perfect crust!

Karen said...

Hi there,
I absolutely love your blog!.
your cup cakes look yummy!!
i've added you onto my blog roll. hope you dont mind.

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

It was very good. In fact all the food that night was so good, it was well worth the tummy ache.