After various mishaps in the past, from deep within my stomach, i remind myself "people exaggerate". The most delicious steak is not the "most" delicious steak. The tastiest soup are probably too tasty for human beings. And the most buttery cake would probably be butter itself with a tablespoon of flour. So, as i search for THAT "best apple pie" recipe once again, I had to admit, I was full of doubt and distrust.
I google'd "Flaky pie crust recipe" and when the results popped up, my mind was chanting "people exaggerate, people exaggerate, people exaggerate". I was proven wrong. Aside from the 5% reviews commenting on the difficulty of working with the dough, everyone else described it as the perfect flaky pie crust. The pictures, unfortunately, weren't convincing. I choose to group myself with the unfortunate 5%, and put the recipe aside.
Boom ba da Boom. Look at how each piece of the crust separates itself from the other? That's "flaky". So, you ask, which recipe did you end up using? Moving on from that recipe, I went on to search more "pie crust" tips. I ended up clicking to my all time favourite food blogger, Smitten Kitchen's Pie Crust Tips and remember her cute little apple pie cookies? Coincidentally, that was the same pie crust recipe!
That was it, I was meant to use this recipe.
Butter Flaky Pie Crust
Note: "Butter Flaky Pie Crust" not because it tastes buttery but because it only uses butter. Many pie crust recipes includes shortening as a must, in order to build that "flakiness". Professional bakers would then explain that, shortening doesn't taste that..good. However, the key to a flaky pie crust is not in the ingredients used. It's all in the technique. Trust me, I was not calm being challenged with technique, especially when blaming the ingredients are always much easier.
If I were to describe this pie crust, it is "sinless", almost like puff pastry, yet less oily.
Keep everything cold! As long as something begins to melt or separate, chill it!
Forgive me for missing out on the pictures of preparing the crust. I was... not calm, let's leave it at that.
Onto the filling, my experience tells me that even after baking, the apples stayed too crunchy, flavour of the herbs did not soak into the apples and the sauce was too runny. Hence, I decided to pre-cook the filling.
6 large, peeled, cored, and cute in 1cm cubes
80 grams granulated white sugar
35 grams light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
15 grams cornstarch(corn flour)
1. Following Rose Levy's method, mix all the ingredients together (except cornstarch). Let apples sit in the sugar mixture for a few hours. The apples will, then, let out its juice and this will ensure that there will be no gap between the crust and its filling.
2. Heat the apples along with the juice until it starts to boil. Add the cornstarch and turn off the heat while mixing vigorously.
Baking (Pre-heat at 220 celsius)
1. Depending on the size of the pie, twist and cut off a portion of the very-chilled dough. Roll out quickly, making sure dough stays cold. When the dough starts to stick to your hand or the rolling pin, chill the dough again.
2. Scoop enough apple filling into the centre, fold and seal as you wish. To have the golden brown top, brush top with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
3. Immediately pop it into the oven or into the fridge. Bake for 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown.
4. Let rest for 5 minutes before digging in.
Note: Baking at a high temperature will ensure that the top crust be sealed and crisped whilst the middle layers continue to let out its steam to create separate layers, thus, its flakiness.