My Saturday afternoon was spent making dough… pie dough that is. I heard through the grapevine (or maybe apple branch in this case) that this year’s winner of the state’s pie making competition was won by a lady from Bay City, Michigan who made her crust using vodka in replace of half the water. Whoa. Pretty interesting I thought.
Not wanting to take a special trip into town just for some vodka I decided to grab a bottle of our hard apple cider and use that instead. The idea is the alcohol is able to make a much flakier crust, and who doesn’t want that? The flakier crust I mean. :)
Replacing some of the water with spirits inhibits gluten formation, which makes for a less chewy crust. And alcohol evaporates much faster than water, giving you a lighter, flakier crust.
Hard apple cider does not have nearly as much alcohol as vodka, but I thought what the hec, try it anyways… I’d be adding a bit of apple flavor to the crust as well which I didn’t think would hurt.
Combine the butter and shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter.
Use Hard Apple Cider to form dough into a ball. Cut ball in half; one for the bottom crust and the other for the top of the pie. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least 45 minutes.
Evenly distribute sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt over the apples.
Roll dough out to fit 9-inch pie plate with a little overhang.
Dump apples in and roll out second ball of dough for the top.
Place pie (or pies in this case) into an oven preheated to 475°. Let pies bake for about 25 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove and wash with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Place back in oven and reduce heat to 350° and bake for an hour or until dark golden brown and apples are bubbling with goodness.
Pie is done when a lovely dark golden brown. No need to let cool, just dig right in!
A dollop of whipped cream is always a nice touch! :)
So I think this experiment was a good one, and has made me want to, all the more, run to town and grab that bottle of vodka. I thought it was a bit too “flakey” for me to run into town for it just for a pie, but now I think it definitely would be flakey and flakey is good.
As for the hard apple cider pie? My pie came out very nicely! Hearing only good things about it from the family. I do think the apple cider added something special and made the crust a bit flakier than previous crusts I’ve made without alcohol. And what happened to the leftover cider? Well, of course, I had an hour of baking time to kill so bottoms up!