I recently took a day trip to the King Arthur Flour company located in Norwich, Vermont. Their beautiful building is located just over the Connecticut River from Hanover, NH and boasts a state-of-the-art cooking school, an amazing bakery and store. The day I visited, I lucked out and was able to snag the last seat in the Winter Pies and Tarts class which was a four hour class on making the perfect pie crust and an elegant chocolate tart. I learned a few tips and tricks to help make my pie crusts flakier and walked out with a 9 inch apple pie and chocolate tart. Dinner for us that night was warm apple pie followed by a slice of chocolate tart!
I managed to take time to snap a picture of the pie before it disappeared! By the way, the yummy pie is sitting on top of one of Matt Mead’s lovely European style table runners. My mom, sister and I attended Matt’s Holiday Open House in Concord and purchased some beautiful items from his personal collection as well as the table runner. Stop by his blog for inspiration, great recipes, and to pre-order his new book, Recycled Style. Shop local when you can!
King Arthur Apple Pie
5 firm medium apples
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon(King Arthur used a Vietnamese Cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pastry for one 9-inch double crust pie
Peel, core and slice apples and place them in a medium bowl.
Sprinkle the sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt over the apples and toss lightly until the apples are completely coated.
Roll out half the pastry dough and place in a 9-inch pie plate.
Spoon filling into pastry shell
Roll out the remaining dough and place it over the apples. Seal and crimp the crust and vent the top of the pie.
Bake the pie in a pre-heated 375 degree oven, until it is golden brown and bubbly, about an hour.
Pie Pastry Recipe
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and divided in half
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl
Cut in half the chilled butter using a pastry blender or your fingers. For a tender result, the fat particles should be worked in quickly and remain about the size of currants.
Cut in the remaining butter, this time leaving larger shards, about the size of dried cranberries
Sprinkle about three tablespoons of the ice water over the flour/fat mixture and mix just until the dough begins to mass. You may need to add the additional tablespoon of ice water for this to occur
Remove the dough mass to a work surface, divide into two equal portions and press into flattened rounds about six inches in diameter. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 hour.
Try a 50/50 ratio of all-purpose flour and pastry flour for a softer crust
Roll dough from center out and use the plastic wrap on top of dough so it will not stick to the roller
To add sweetness to the dough, add 4 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar to dry ingredients and 1 teaspoon of vanilla with the water