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Apple Pie, Big-Chunk in Cheese Crust (D)
Source: "Cookwise," by Shirley O. Corriher
Serves: 8

1-3/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Wondra flour [Archivists' Note: or potato starch]
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoons very cold shortening in tablespoon-size pieces
8 ounces sour cream
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons cold whole milk if needed
4 double graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
2 large eggs, each beaten in a separate bowl
Nonstick cooking spray
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar

2-1/2 cups chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds, divided use
9 tablespoons lightly salted butter, divided use
1 teaspoon salt, divided use
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water, divided use
12-14 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cut into 8 to 12 wedges
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 fine cake or bread crumbs

Make Crust:
Stir together both flours, the salt and the butter lumps in a medium mixing bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

When the flour-butter mixture is cold, dump it out onto a clean counter. Roll over the mixture with a rolling pin to flatten the butter and coat it with flour. Some butter will stick to the pin. Scrape it off and scrape the mixture together. Roll over the mixture again. Rapidly continue rolling and scraping together three times.

Scrape back into the bowl and place in the freezer for 5 minutes. Dump back out, roll and scrape together one more time. The mixture should look like paint flakes that have fallen off a wall. Add the pieces of shortening to the mixture and roll in, scraping and re-rolling twice. Scrape the mixture back in the bowl and return to the freezer for 10 minutes.

If the butter becomes very soft at any time during the rolling, immediately return the mixture to the freezer for 5 minutes.

Gently stir the sour cream into the flour-fat mixture. Stir in Parmesan, cayenne and nutmeg. Add milk only if needed to get the mixture wet enough to hold together.

Pull the dough together into a round, wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or several hours or overnight).

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 6" to 8" chunk about 3/4" thick. Refrigerate one half for later use.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly flour the counter; place the remaining disk on the counter. Sprinkle lightly with flour and roll out evenly, placing the rolling pin in the center of the dough disk, rolling forward and back (take care not to roll off the dough, which thins the edges). Rotate the dough 45 degrees, and roll again. Keep a little flour on the counter to one side. If the dough tends to stick when rotating, drag it through the flour. When the dough is nearing the desired thickness, place rulers on either side of the dough, rest the rolling pin on the two rulers and roll it across the dough.

Place the dough for the crust in a 9" pie pan. Flute the edges, chill and, before placing the crust in the oven, place pie weights across the surface to prevent bubbling or lifting. Attach pie shield. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights. Glaze with a beaten egg and rebake 3 minutes to set and dry glaze.

Remove the remaining dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out according to the same instructions given for the bottom crust. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut out a 12" circle.

Turn an 8" to 9" round-bottom metal bowl upside down and spray the bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the dough circle on it. From scraps, cut out leaves and press vein patterns into each leaf with a toothpick. Make 3 or 4 branches about 10" long and several small branches by rolling strips of dough between your palm and the counter, then twisting them.

Stick the leaves and branches on the dough circle by dampening them with a few drops of water and pressing. Arrange branches, curving them in artistic patterns. Twist or curl up the edges of the leaves so that they stand up and have a three-dimensional effect. Have some stuck-on branches curl over themselves and cross on top or under stuck-on leaves. Carefully place the bowl and decorated dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.

To bake, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake on the upside down bowl for 15 to 20 minutes until deep golden brown.

Make Filling and Assemble:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roast the nuts on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes. While they are hot, stir in 3 tablespoons butter and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Place dates in boiling water and stir in soda.

Stir cornstarch into 1/4 cup cool water.

Sauté the apple chunks in 6 tablespoons of butter in a very large, heavy skillet or large casserole (or 2 skillets if necessary) for about 2 minutes, turning gently with a large spatula.

Stir vanilla extract into 1/2 cup water in a cup, then add to apples. Simmer, uncovered, 1 minute. Restir cornstarch/water mixture and stir into apple mixture. Add the sugars, 3/4 teaspoon salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer over low to medium heat. Simmer until the liquid in the skillet is thick and bubbly.

Add 1-1/2 cups roasted nuts. Drain dates and add. Toss gently until the apples, dates and nuts are well coated with the sugar mixture.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup nuts and the cake crumbs over the pre-baked cheese crust. Spoon in the apple mixture with a slotted spoon. If any liquid left in the skillet is thick, pour it over the apples. If thin, boil to thicken to a syrup, then spoon it over the apples. Cover the filling with the leaf-pattern top crust.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Poster's Notes: This recipe takes some time. Corriher recommends preparing the crust dough and filling a day in advance; then all you have to do it bake it.

Posted by Susan Greene

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A