Cooking with Alison

Apple Pie Recipe (using bacon fat in the crust… or not)

In Pies & Tarts on January 8, 2011 at am

Apple pie is one of my favourite desserts, but since even most store bought and restaurant apple pies disappoint me, I spared myself the time and money that would surely be wasted on testing homemade apple pie recipes.  I’ve always settled for making apple crisps and tarts (recipe here) instead.  But when Bob Blumer won third place in a pie baking contest after never having made a pie before, I knew that his recipe would be well worth the effort.  (Check out his Food Network show, Glutton for Punishment.)  I made this for Christmas and everyone loved it.  Even my dad, who doesn’t like pie, asked for seconds.

Bob Blumer suggests using bacon fat in the pie crust.  I was so excited about this fantastic use for bacon, but I substituted it for butter since I was making a healthy meal for my family.  I will update this post when I make it again properly (I can’t wait!).  I love using bacon in interesting ways and I plan on making bacon cupcakes and chocolate covered bacon some day.  See my bacon jam recipe here – it’s Delicious!  The only combination that I don’t like is bacon mints.

Apple Pie Recipe

adapted from Bob Blumer’s (Almost) Award Winning Pie

for the crust:

1/4 cup bacon fat, chilled until solid (rendered from pan frying approximately 1/2 pound of bacon and filtered through paper coffee filters or cheesecloth) or substitute with 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter that has been cut into cubes and frozen

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter that has been cut into cubes and frozen

2 cups all-purpose flour

pinch salt (if not using bacon fat)

7 – 9 tablespoons ice water

for the filling:

8 large McIntosh apples

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup + 1/8 cup granulated white sugar

1/4 cup + 1/8 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature + more for greasing

egg wash made from 1 egg whisked with 3 tablespoons milk

to make the crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, mix together the flour and salt.  Add the cold bacon fat and butter and pulse until the fat is the size of small peas.  With the food processor running, add 4 tablespoons of ice water.  Add more ice water as necessary until a handful of dough comes together when squeezed.  Do not overwork dough.  You should still be able to see small pieces of butter in your dough.  Form your dough into a flat disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it until chilled through, about 4 hours.  (According to Bob Blumer, you can chill the dough for as little as 30 minutes.)

to make the filling:

Peel, core and slice apples about 1/4 inch thick.  (Note that Bob Blumer suggests 1/8 inch thick apple slices.)  In a large bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, nutmeg, white and brown sugars, flour, and cornstarch.  Toss the apples in the mixture until well coated.

to construct and bake the pie:

Preheat the oven to 450 F with a pizza stone set on the rack one below the highest slot.  (Using the pizza stone gives you a beautifully crispy bottom crust.  If you don’t have one, Bob Blumer suggests moving the oven rack down one setting.)

Butter your pie plate.  Remove the chilled pie dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half.  Form each half into a disk and keep the second half wrapped and in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Very lightly dust your rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into an 11 inch diameter circle on a silpat (silicone) mat.  Roll from the center out and rotate 90 degrees regularly.  Transfer the dough to the pie plate.  Then roll out the second ball of dough.  Add the apple filling to the bottom pie crust in an even layer.  Using your fingers, break up the 2 tablespoons of softened butter and disperse it over the apple filling.  Then drape over the top pie crust.  Trim off the excess with kitchen shears and press down and crimp the edges together to seal it all the way around.  Use a sharp knife to cut out 4 to 6 vents in the top crust.  Use the blade to ease the vents open slightly to ensure that they do not seal shut during baking.  Brush the top of the pie with egg wash.  Use a pie crust protector or make one using a long, thin piece of aluminum foil and cover the edge of the pie crust.

Bake the pie on the preheated pizza stone for 12 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove the crust protector and bake for 20 more minutes.  The crust will be golden and the apples will give to a sharp knife when checked through a vent.  Cool for at least one hour before serving.  Serve with vanilla or maple ice cream.

  1. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

  2. You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

  3. […] fresh apples and frozen puff pastry on hand, so I made apple turnovers.  (See my apple pie recipe here.) These were quick and easy to make and tasted much better than store bought turnovers.  We Loved […]

  4. Can I made the dough a day before? I’d think that would be fine. If so…refrigerator or freezer?

    • Hi Sue, Yes you can make the dough a day in advance and refrigerate it. I find that defrosting home-made, pre-baked dough changes the wetness of the dough. Sorry I took so long to reply!

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