Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Old Apples Make Good

I'm not sure what possessed me when I bought a good sized brown bag of Jonagold apples that had been marked down at the market. There were about 10 large apples in the bag and I guess I had a hankering for fresh apples to eat. The sad thing is that once I tried one I found that it was mealy and a bit dry and not terribly good for eating fresh. The bag sat in the crisper for a week until I had time to figure out what to do with it, so those poor old apples became even older. There is probably a parable in all of this, but haven't figured out what it is.

Finally I decided that the thing to do was to make chunky apple sauce with them. The best thing about chunky apple sauce is that I don't peel the apple, just cut them away from the core and cut them into small chunks. With the addition of some slow cooking, a little water, a little brown sugar and lots of cinnamon and Penzey's Cake Spice, those poor old apples became delicious apple sauce.

Now for the fun part. I made a quiche for Sweetie the other day and had another single crust in the fridge. Tonight as I was making dinner I realized that I had the makings of a quick and delicious dessert for my pie loving hubby. I turned on the oven to pre-heat and took the crust out of the fridge to warm up a bit, then kept going with the rice dish I was making for dinner. Eventually the rice was ready to just simmer for a while, so I toasted some pecans in the oven, cooled them a few minutes, chopped them fine and took the applesauce out of the fridge.

After lining a baking pan with parchment it was the work of moments to roll out the crust, put it on the parchment, ladle on the applesauce over half the crust, leaving a good inch uncovered at the outer edge of the crust, sprinkle on the pecans with a generous hand, swab some cold water along that free edge, fold one half over the other, press the edges together, crimp with a fork along that edge, smear on some soy creamer and sprinkle on some sanding sugar, poke a few steam holes in the top and...voila...pop the slab half pie into the oven. It baked for about 20 minutes until golden and was done before we sat down to dinner.

The crust was flaky and delicious, the apples warm and sweet and spicy, the nuts lent a good deal of chewiness and overall it was an excellent dessert. It was so good that I didn't even get a photo of the cut pie. As you can see, I'm having a bit of gluten now and then, but still no dairy. The soy creamer worked just as well as half and half for helping the crust brown and the sugar stick.

Applesauce Slab Pie

1 rolled out pie crust (I used Pillsbury pre-rolled crust)
1/3 cup toasted pecans
about 1 cup chunky applesauce, homemade if possible (drain off excess liquid)
soy creamer or half and half - about 1 teaspoon
sanding sugar - about 1 tablespoon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Have the oven rack at the mid-point of the oven.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the rolled out crust in the center.
Chop the toasted pecans to very small pieces.
Spread the applesauce over half the crust, leaving about an inch uncovered at the outer edge of the crust. Sprinkle the nuts evenly over the applesauce.
Using your finger or a pastry brush, skim a very thin coat of water over the uncovered edge of crust.

Fold the half the crust with no applesauce over the half with applesauce, having the edges meet. Seal the edges by pushing down with your fingers. Use a fork to crimp the edges together. You will have a filled half circle of crimped dough.
Use your finger or a pastry brush to lightly coat the top of that half circle with soy creamer or half and half. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut three small slashed in the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Place pan on a cooling rack.
Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
Refrigerate any leftovers.

1 comment :

  1. Old apples this year have been my nemesis. I went on a brief Honeycrisp kick, but my usual Pink Lady apples weren't around as much, so I flirted with a few new kinds of apple -- and wow, some of them go mealy quickly. I am the queen of that kind of applesauce; I don't sweeten it at all, which I should maybe begin doing so it caramelizes a bit more into apple butter, but I love adding cloves to it - so tasty. I almost always end up cooking with it, but in quick breads -- never thought of putting applesauce into a crust! This has now become a "must do!"

    I, too, am moving a little away from so many nut-based crusts; the sheer convenience of having a crust from the store every once in awhile motivates me!