October 2011 will go down as one of the greatest months of my life. It was all so good. I’ll share more soon, but for now let’s get right back into baking.
Traveling at the start of Autumn had me in constant awe of the bounty of food at the markets in Europe and happy(ish) to return to my kitchen and actually make something. I missed cooking! I returned to a pile of magazines, many with turkeys on the cover.
As soon as cool air flows into town, I start thinking about Thanksgiving. I use October and November as recipe testing time. Everything I try is an audition for a spot at the Thanksgiving table. Auditions have begun.
The recipe that most needed me to make it was this apple cider cream pie from the November issue of Food & Wine. It sounded like the apple sour cream tart that I used to love from Fox & Obel, a gourmet market in Chicago. I haven’t seen the tart for a while so I was hopeful this pie, which contains apple cider and sour cream, might be a good substitute—you know me and sour cream.
I was trying to do a million other things while I made this and as a result overcooked the crust, didn’t whisk the custard enough, or wait for the pie to cool completely before piling on the whip cream. Despite all of my mistakes, this was one of the most enjoyable pies ever. The custard is pleasantly sour and the cinnamon scented whipped cream is perfect. I love it.
This recipe is a real keeper, and will very likely end up on my Thanksgiving table (unless some Susan Boyle of a recipe comes along and steals the show). You should make this now.
[One more thing! While I was gone, one of you sent me a great email about thanksgiving recipe ideas, and I accidentally deleted it. Can you resend?! I really wanted to respond!]
Apple Cider Cream Pie (Recipe by Allison Kave via Food & Wine, November 2011)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
- 3 tablespoons cold milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Filling and Topping
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine the milk and vinegar and drizzle it on top of the flour mixture. Pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface, roll the dough into an 11-inch round, a scant 1/4 inch thick; ease it into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Crimp decoratively and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is barely set. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil and bake for about 10- 15 minutes longer, until the crust is just set but not browned. Press the bottom of the crust lightly to deflate it as it puffs; let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
In a medium saucepan, boil the cider until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Whisk in 3/4 cup of the sugar, the sour cream and salt, then whisk in the eggs.
Pour the custard into the pie shell without removing the foil strips. Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard is set around the edge but the center is slightly jiggly. Let the pie cool completely.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon until firmly whipped. Mound the whipped cream on the pie, cut into wedges and serve.
The pie is best eaten the day it is made, but it will keep for up to two days in the fridge. If you plan on making it in advance, do not top with the whipped cream until you are ready to serve.