Apple Cider Cream Pie

One of my favorite pies is a good old fashioned, mile high apple pie. I love the natural sweetness of the fruit paired with the bite of cinnamon; it's a match made in heaven. Per the previous post, I was tasked with making an apple pie for round two of Thanksgiving. My thoughts drifted to recipes past, like the awesome Cranberry Ribbon Apple pie, when it hit me. 

Apple Cider Cream Pie. I had the recipe marked on my "to make" board on Pinterest and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. The idea was pitched to Mike for quality control and passed inspection as a "technical" apple pie. Game on!

After reading reviews for this recipe via Lottie + Doof as well as its originator, Food & Wine, I was a little apprehensive of the crust. Either you love this crust or you hate it. I was not a fan of working with the dough because it was stubborn and refused to bake pretty. As it came out of the oven, I growled at the loss of the pretty crimped edges.Should you make this, I recommend using a fork to crimp and leaving it at that.  In terms of taste, however, the crust had the husband swooning! It's flakey and light- the poster child of flavor. 

The filling is sort of like a custard. Take two cups of apple cider reduced to half a cup and mix in some sour cream, eggs, and sugar. The key ingredient here is the cider! The brand that I selected, Martinelli's, was very mild in flavor and was a light gold shade. For this recipe, go for the dark ciders- you can even sneak a pinch of applie pie spice into the mix.

And of course, the cherry to the figurative sundae is a layer of freshly made whipped cream with just a touch of cinnamon. That little bit of spice goes a long way and Mike was highly pleased with the subtle nuisance it provided. It's amazing how such minor details make a difference. This was the Thanksgiving winner for the hubby and, in this case, I'm pretty sure he actually did eat half of the pie!

Apple Cider Cream Pie 
by Allison Kave via Food & Wine, November 2011

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
3 tablespoons cold milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling and Topping
2 cups apple cider- the dark variety, not juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If you don't have a food processor (mines too small), the good old fashioned way with a pastry cutter works! Combine the milk and vinegar and drizzle it on top of the flour mixture. Pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough into an 11-inch round, a scant 1/4 inch thick; ease it into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Crimp decoratively and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is barely set. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil and bake for about 10- 15 minutes longer, until the crust is just set but not browned. Remove from oven. Press the bottom of the crust lightly to deflate it as it puffs; let cool. 

Lower the oven temperature to 350°.

In a medium saucepan, boil the cider until it’s reduced to only 1/2 cup, about 10-20minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Whisk in 3/4 cup of the sugar, the sour cream and salt, then whisk in the eggs.

Pour the custard into the pie shell without removing the foil strips. Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard is set around the edge but the center is slightly jiggly. Let the pie cool completely.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon until firmly whipped. Mound the whipped cream on the pie, cut into wedges and serve.

The pie is best eaten the day it is made, but it will keep for up to two days in the fridge. If you plan on making it in advance, do not top with the whipped cream until you are ready to serve.