The last week of August, I noticed that some trees in my area have their leaves starting to turn already. We've had very cool mornings and only had few 90°F days all summer which explains the early autumn feel. And, of course, at the first whiff of autumn airs, apple pie had to be baked although officially autumn doesn't start until September 22.
The filling has a small amount of apple cider reduction or concentrate which I happen to have in the refrigerator. I made the concentrate by boiling a gallon of apple cider until reduced to a thick sauce. Its sweet sour flavor is so good with roast pork loin or even chicken, and of course apple desserts.
boiled apple cider concentrate
recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup very cold unsalted butter, cubed
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced baking apples
2 tablespoons apple cider reduction
6 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1½ tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and salt. Work in the butter with fingers, then sprinkle the water (I used 5 tablespoons) until dough is cohesive. Divide into 2 rectangles, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Roll one piece of pastry into a 16 x 6 inch rectangle and trim edges. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, then brush all over with egg wash. Roll the second pastry into a 17 x 7 inch rectangle; set aside. Gently combine filling ingredients and spread on top of egg-washed piece, leaving a ¾ inch border. Place the larger pastry on top. Fold the edges of the bottom pastry over the edges of top pastry, press together, then using the tines of a fork, crimp to seal. Brush with egg wash. Cut several vents.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and bake for another 20 minutes or until top is golden. Serve with salted caramel sauce or apple cider reduction if you prefer extra tartness like I do.
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
¾ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon crushed gray sea salt or fine sea salt
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat; stir with a rubber spatula and heat until sugar dissolves. Cover and let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil, without stirring. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes until mixture is deep amber color. Turn heat off and carefully whisk in heavy cream; the mixture will bubble. Stir in butter and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and let cool.