Bunch of Green Apples
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Spago's Old-fashioned Apple Pie



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Green Apples, c.1873
Green Apples, c.1873
Paul Cézanne
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La Belle Cuisine


Old-fashioned Apple Pie

Spago Desserts
by Mary Bergin and Judy Gethers,
1994, Random House


Yes, this recipe is more time-consuming than the average apple pie.
Trust me - this is NOT your average apple pie. It is nothing short of
phenomenal! And, of course, there is not a single calorie in it!

“This apple pie has been on the Spago menu since the restaurant
opened in 1982. Because of the demand, we never take it off the
menu and the recipe has never been changed. Pâte Sucrée or
Basic Pie Dough can be used to make the crust.”

Makes one 9-inch pie
Serves 8

Equipment: Rolling pin, 9-inch pie plate, 2 baking trays,
12-inch skillet or sauté pan, small bowl, pastry brush

1 recipe Pâte Sucrée or Basic Pie Dough
5 pounds (13 to 14 medium) Granny
Smith apples, peeled and cored,
each apple cut into quarters
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon)
unsalted butter
1 1/2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons Calvados or
brandy of your choice
3/4 cup heavy cream plus a little
 extra for brushing over pastry

Cinnamon Sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Roll out the pastry. Butter, or coat with vegetable spray, a 9-inch
pie plate. Divide the pastry into 2 pieces, one a little larger than the
other. On a lightly floured surface, flouring rolling pin as necessary,
roll out the smaller piece of dough to an 11-inch round and fit it into
the pie plate, pressing down with your knuckle to conform to the
shape of the pan. Trim the edges and add scraps to the remaining
piece of dough. Roll out the second piece to a 12-inch circle and
place on a lightly floured baking tray.  Refrigerate until needed.
2. Make the filling: Cut each apple quarter into slices about 1/2 inch
thick. You will be sautéing the apples in three batches. Melt 3
tablespoons butter in a 12-inch skillet. Arrange 1/3 of the apples
in the skillet. Add 1/2 vanilla bean with its scrapings and sprinkle
1/2 cup sugar over the apples. Over medium-high heat, sauté the
apples until lightly caramelized and tender, about 15 minutes,
turning often so that the apples cook as evenly as possible. Pour
in 2 tablespoons Calvados and cook just until the alcohol burns
off. (If the brandy ignites remove pan from heat or place cover
over pan for a few seconds.) Pour in 1/4 cup cream, stir through,
and cook 1 minute longer.  Spread the contents of the skillet onto
a large baking tray to cool while sautéing remaining apples. Wash
and dry the skillet. Repeat the procedure 2 more times with re-
maining butter, apples, vanilla bean, sugar, cream and brandy.
3. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees [F].
4. Make the cinnamon sugar: In a small bowl or cup, combine the
sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Set aside.
5. Remove lined pie plate and circle of pastry from refrigerator. Pile
the cooled apples in the pie plate, mounding apples slightly in
the middle. Roll circle of pastry over rolling pin and unroll over
apples. With a sharp knife, cut away excess dough and gently
pinch together the edges of the pastry. Cut 3 or 4 slits in top of
pastry, brush with cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
6. Bake 15 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees [F] and bake
until crust is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Cool
on rack.
7. To serve: Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of
Cinnamon Ice Cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

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