The smell in my kitchen right now is insane. Caramelized apples, rum, butter and spices all doing a dance! I donated two of these beauties to our annual Pie in the Park (a Drive By Pie format this year)–it was all I could do to hand them over! Many thanks to Chef Tom Douglas for an absolutely delicious recipe, one that I will make again and again.
Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie
6-8 (3-3/4 lbs or 1.7 kg) sweet-tart firm apples (like Gravenstein, Braeburn, Cameo, Granny Smith or Pink Lady)
1/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (53 g) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (57 g) dark rum
4 T (1/2 stick or 57 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 T plus 1 tsp (9 g) cornstarch
1 tsp (4 g) pure vanilla extract
1 tsp dry pectin or an extra 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
Peel and core the apples and slice them 1/4” to 1/2” thick. You should have about 8 cups of apple slices.
Place two large (at least 10 inch) sauté pans over medium high heat and divide the 1/3 cup granulated sugar evenly between them. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it melts and then caramelizes and turns amber in color, tilting the pans a little to swirl and distribute the color, adjusting the heat as needed. (As soon as the sugar melts, it will quickly start caramelizing, so be ready to add the apples as soon as the color of the sugar turns amber).
Add the apples, dividing them between the two pans and sauté until they are about half cooked and the juices are released. Boil away and reduce until no liquid remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss and stir the apples regularly while they are cooking so they cook evenly on both sides. When the apples are done, they should have some give but should not fall apart when you press one between your fingers.
Transfer the apples to a bowl and allow them to cool completely to room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
When the apples are cooled, add the brown sugar, rum butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract, pectin (if using), spices and salt and toss to combine.
“Flaky but Tender” Pastry Dough for a Double-Crust Pie (can be made a day ahead)
2-2/3 cup (342 g) pastry or cake flour
2/3 cup (86 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T (25 g) sugar
1 T Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, grated and left in the freezer on parchment paper for two hours
1/4 cup (48 g) vegetable shortening, grated and left in the freezer on parchment paper for two hours
1/2 cup (118 g) ice-cold water, or more as needed (An easy way to do this: fill a measuring cup full of ice and water and let it sit in the fridge for five minutes. When ready to use, strain it and measure it.)
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
In the bowl of an electric mixer and using the paddle attachment, combine the flours, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture looks shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find a few bitter chunks, quickly smear them between your fingers.
Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup or small container and stir to combine.
Add the water-vinegar mixture to the flour-fat mixture in the electric mixer on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.
Turn off the mixer and scrape around the sides and the bottom of the mixer bowl to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients, rotating the paddle a few more times if needed, then squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together as a clump. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time and rotate the paddle a few more times.
Remove the dough from the mixer and shape, wrap and chill as directed.
Assembly and Baking
Starch water (1 T of flour or cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup cold water)
Pastry decorations (use the scraps and cut out decorations such as leaf shapes); affix the cut outs to the top crust, they will bake as the pie is baking
2 T heavy cream
2 T granulated sugar
Split the pie dough in half and keep one half wrapped in the fridge while you work with the other. Dust your counter lightly with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 10” round (for a 9” pie plate). Fold it in half and then place it in the pie plate and unfold it.
Put the apple filling in the pastry lined pie plate and place it in the fridge to keep it cold while you roll out the top crust.
Roll out the second pie dough and then place the pastry circle on top of the pie, roll the overhang up and over and seal with starch water. Press or crimp the edge, then use a paring knife to cut a few vents in the top. If using pastry decorations, attach them to the top crust of the pie with starch water. Brush the pie and decorations (if using) with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the 2 T of sugar.
Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Tent the pie with foil and continue to bake for one hour. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the pie is evenly golden brown. (The total baking time is two hours). Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for at least one hour on a wire rack before slicing. The pie will still be warm, or you can cool it to room temperature, then slice and serve.
Recipe by Tom Douglas