The Gourmet Touch: Apple and cinnamon — A timeless combination
by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star
Feb 20, 2013 | 1843 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When you think of spices, which one comes to mind most often? For most cooks, it’s cinnamon, which is one of the most popular spices used in baking, especially in the South.

For desserts made with apples or peaches, a hint of cinnamon certainly adds a flavorful boost. The purpose of adding a spice should be to enhance the flavor and never overpower the main ingredient.

I have been served a beautiful slice of apple pie, but when I took the first bite, all I could taste was cinnamon. I like to taste the apples.

The following old-fashioned apple pie is a good example of the blending of a small amount of cinnamon with the delightful taste of fresh apples. Of course, if you prefer a little more cinnamon, you can add another half teaspoon and still get the wonderful flavor of the Granny Smith apples.

You will notice that I have added a little baking powder to the crust. This might seem like an unusual ingredient but I have learned that adding a little baking powder tends to make a flaky but more compact crust. This is especially good for moist fruit fillings.

Of course, if you don’t like making homemade pastry, you might opt to use the refrigerated (not frozen) pie crusts. There are two in the box, which is perfect for a double crust pie such as this.

Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

Double Crust Pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chilled shortening
1 stick (½ cup) chilled butter
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

1 cup sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples (5 or 6 apples)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse two or three times to mix. Add the shortening and butter. Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal with just a few lumps about the size of peas. Add ice water gradually and process until mixture forms a ball. Remove from bowl and shape into two disks. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

To make the filling, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Mix well. Sprinkle over apples and stir to coat. (The butter and cream will be used later).

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out each portion of pastry to a circle about an inch larger than a 9-inch pie pan. Fit one crust in pan, trim edges and fill with the apples. Dot with butter. Wet the rim of the bottom crust with a little water. Place remaining crust on top. Trim and seal to the bottom crust by pressing around the edges with a fork. Brush top with cream to give it a delicately browned crust. Stick a fork into top crust several times or cut small slits to allow steam to escape during baking.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. To prevent crust from browning too fast, cover the top loosely with a piece of foil for last 10 minutes of baking. Allow to cool before slicing.
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The Gourmet Touch: Apple and cinnamon — A timeless combination by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star

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