With the holiday season now in full swing, I will share with you the two apple pies that I made for Thanksgiving. You could make them for a winter potluck, Christmas, your birthday if it’s coming up… or for any other reason, really. The first one is a more traditional, double crusted apple pie and the second is a Tarte Tatin – a French open-faced caramelized apple tart. I sent the more traditional pie with Matt to his family and apparently it went over quite well. I brought the Tarte Tatin to my friend Elysse’s family’s celebration. Despite being well received, there was so much left over food that I took a lot of it home with me and ate it for breakfast and snacks until it was gone – delish!

I have double labeled this post as IncrEDIBLE and Test Kitchen because I have never been head chef for the apple pies I have made in the past. So, despite having baked them, I never paid all that much attention to the details. Also, I substituted the types of apples and spices.

(MOSTLY) TRADITIONAL DOUBLE-CRUSTED APPLE PIE
2 large granny smith apples
1 large pink lady apple
3 large golden delicious apples
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp honey (optional)
fresh juice from one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 – 2 tbsp flour
sweet crust recipe, chilled (pate sucree)
butter, to brush
egg white, to glaze

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Peel, core and cut the apples into chunks. The pink lady and granny smith chunks should be smaller than the golden delicious chunks. Put all of the apples into a large bowl with the lemon juice, spices, flour, sugar and/ or honey. Set aside.

Divide the crust dough in half. Roll out each half on a cool, lightly floured baking surface with a chilled rolling pin. Gently pick up the first half of the dough and drape it into a deep pie plate. Arrange it so that it lays smoothly against the pan. Brush the bottom of the crust with a little bit of egg white or butter and poke it a few times with a fork (but do not pierce the crust all the way through).

Scoop the apples into the bottom crust, leaving excess liquid in the bowl. Make sure that the apples do not have too much space between them and that they form an attractive mound. Then, drape the top crust over the pie filling. Crimp the edges together with a fork or pie crimper and trim the excess crust. Cut a few vents in the top so that hot air can escape.

Brush the top with egg white and bake until the crust is golden and the apples are done. You can test the apples by inserting a knife through one of the vents. They should be soft, but not mushy.

TARTE TATIN
Try to find pretty looking, evenly rounded apples for this recipe, as part of the allure of this pie comes from its attractively arranged (and highly visible) apple slices. When it is finished, it is very sweet, so I recommend serving it in small slices with fresh, unsweet or very lightly sweetened whipped cream.

8 tbsp European style butter
turbidano or light brown sugar
3 large golden delicious apples
2 large pink lady apples
fresh lemon juice
unsweet crust recipe, chilled (pate brisee)

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Roll out your crust into a 12″ round, slide it onto a cookie sheet and slip it into your fridge to chill.

Peel, core and slice the apples into 6ths, lenthwise. This is an ideal job for an apple corer/ slicer. After that, cut the pink lady slices in half (so that they are 12ths). For ease in the next step, separate the golden delicious and pink lady slices into different bowls.

Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom and stir frequently. When it has begun to dissolve, arrange the apple slices in a circle around the outside edge of the pan, alternating one golden delicious and two pink ladies. The two apples cook at different rates, which is why the extra slicing and alternating is important. Fill the center with more apples. You may have a few slices left over.

Turn the heat up to high and cook until the apple juices mingling with the sugar and butter turn to a deep amber color. This should take 10-15 minutes. At this point, take the pan off the heat and flip the apples with a fork. Put the pan back on the heat and cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat (this time you can turn off the stove) and top the apples with your chilled crust. Tuck the edges of the crust into the pan, being careful not to burn your fingers.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is browned.  Allow the tart to cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Then (and this is the exciting part) loosen the edges with a knife and in one decisive action, flip the tart out onto the serving plate. I found that the best way to do this was to hold the plate to the pan with a couple of potholders and flip them together. If any apples stick to the pan, put them back into the tart where they should be and serve warm or at room temperature.

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