Apple Pie and Bottoms Up

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.

Apple Pie with Hard Apple Cider Crust

Yield: One 9-inch Pie

Apple Pie with Hard Apple Cider Crust

Ingredients

    Hard Apple Cider Pie Crust:
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks cold butter
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Hard apple cider
  • Filling:
  • 6 medium to large apples of choice. I used Idared.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut up the butter into tablespoons and combine with flour mixture using pastry cutter. Add the shortening and combine using pastry cutter. Butter and flour mixture should resemble large curd cottage cheese.
  2. With the spoon or spatula combine the water with the dough mixture using a folding motion. Add healthy splash of hard apple cider, pressing down on the dough until it sticks together. Keep adding the apple cider until the dough is wet enough to form a ball. You can use your hands, but make sure not to overwork the dough or melt the butter with your hands.
  3. Divide dough into two pieces, roll into balls, flatten slightly and cover in plastic wrap. Place in freezer for about 45 min. I left my dough in there for the time it took me to prepare the filling.
  4. Peel, core, and chop the apples. I used an apple peeler for this job. I evenly distributed the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon over the chopped apples. I set aside and began rolling out the dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 475°. I rolled out one disc of dough that was large enough to fit the 9-inch pie plate with a little over hang. Trim dough as needed.
  6. Dump the apples in and roll out the next ball of dough and place on top. Fold the overhanging dough over on itself and seal with fingers or fork. Use a knife or fork and pierce vent holes on the top of the dough.
  7. Bake pie until just golden brown. Remove and wash with egg whites or milk and then sprinkle sugar on top. Reduce oven temp to 350° and return pies to oven. Bake for an hour or until crust is a dark golden brown and apples are bubbling. Tip: Place a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil underneath the pie to catch the dripping apple juices.
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Combine the butter and shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter.

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.

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.

Peel, core, and chop up the apples. I am using Idared for this pie and I am using an apple peeler.

Evenly distribute sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt over the apples.

Roll dough out to fit 9-inch pie plate with a little overhang.

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.

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!

Pie is done when a lovely dark golden brown. No need to let cool, just dig right in!

A dollup of whipped cream is always a nice touch! :)

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!