Jonathan was hiking the Bruce Trail this weekend near Orangeville for a friend’s bachelor party. Left to my own devices, I decided to bake an apple pie! As per usual, I consulted my Martha Stewart cookbook and found a wonderful recipe. The crust was perfectly flaky and buttery. With the Granny Smith apples I picked up at the grocery store, I went to work. Pies require a lot of commitment because you have to refrigerate or freeze the dough many times to keep it cool. It is the temperature control that helps keep the crust light, buttery, and flakey. You also have to wait for it to bake for about an hour and 15 minutes. After that it must cool completely for approximately 2-3 hours for it to set properly. However, this pie is worth it!
To help me eat the pie, my friend Lauren came over for a cup of tea. It was great to catch up and talk about wedding planning. Lauren is going to be one of my bridesmaids. She also has a wonderful eye for architecture and design, so I was showing her some pictures of the wedding venue for next summer. I really hope to keep the set up simple, play around with lighting, simple elegance, the architecture of the restaurant and the urban Toronto landscape. Jonathan and I are hoping to get some pictures of us with a streetcar in the background, in front of his old subway station (Spadina) and maybe even outside of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) building where he worked the first summer that we started going out for dinners together.
After Lauren and I had been chatting for some time, it was 10:00pm and Jonathan arrived in Aurora looking like he had been hit by a hurricane. He regaled us with tales of the hike, complete with mosquitoes the size of cats and humid temperatures. He was going to drive back to Peterborough that same evening, but I insisted that he stay overnight and drive in the morning. As I said goodnight to a very sleepy and slightly delirious Jonathan, he proposed to me (for a second time, and I said yes for a second time), which he must have done because he felt lucky to have survived the hiking expedition. In the morning I told him about his second proposal with some tea and a big piece of apple pie.
He said it was the best apple pie he’s ever had.
Cream Cheese Pie Crust Dough
Ingredients (double recipe and divide into two disks for top and bottom crust)
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 1 teaspoon cold cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- Combine water and vinegar in a small bowl. Combine flour and salt in another bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter and cream cheese into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining.
- Add water mixture to dough in a slow, steady stream, stirring, until mixture just begins to hold together. (Alternatively, pulse ingredients in a food processor.) Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and wrap. Press dough into a disk using a rolling pin. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. (Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw before using.)
- Roll dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Trim edge, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Turn overhang under so that edge is flush with rim. Flute edge. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Apple Pie Filling
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 2x Cream Cheese Pie Crust Dough
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 3-4 pounds, Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one cream cheese dough disk into a 13-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. With a sharp paring knife, trim dough flush with the rim. Freeze again until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out remaining 2 discs of pate brisee to about 1/8 inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes. Remove from freezer; using a 2 1/4-inch leaf-shaped cutter, cut out about 65 leaves and place them in a single layer on baking sheet. Place in refrigerator until firm.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and heavy cream; set aside. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Remove pie shell from freezer, and fill with apple mixture. Dot with butter.
- Remove leaves from refrigerator, and score with a paring knife to make veins. Lightly brush the edge of the pie shell with water. Brush the bottom of each leaf with water; beginning with the outside edge, arrange leaves in a slightly overlapping ring. Repeat to form another ring slightly overlapping the first. Continue until only a small circle of filling is left uncovered in the center.
- Carefully brush the top of the leaves and pie edge with the reserved egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Freeze or refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Place pie plate on a baking sheet, and bake until crust just begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. If the crust begins to get too dark, drape a piece of aluminum foil over the top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.