Upside Down Apple Pie for my Dad

6 Oct

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!

I’m sure he’s out at a nice fancy dinner as I write this, enjoying some dark beer…which makes me think I should have made a stout cake or ice cream.  But I made pie!

Not just any pie…

It’s UPSIDE DOWN APPLE PIE!!

I have a terrible confession: I don’t like apple pie…actually, I don’t like most fruit pies.  That whole soggy fruit in goop thing is just not for me, and pie crust just seems so much more boring than like…brownies.  Mmm, brownies…

But I could hardly let Fall go by without making an apple pie…that would be un-American!  Plus, I’ve been making apple pies for the past few years for my dad for his birthday since it’s one of his favorite desserts…and I’ve been meaning to try out this particular one for a long time.

So even though my dad is about a three hour car ride away and won’t get to taste any of this pie, I was thinking of him when I decided on this as a dessert for the big family dinner ❤

I like the looks of this pie for several reasons…1) caramel.  Duh.  2) It looks impressive!  3) the pie crust doesn’t really need to look or taste great…it’s not the star of this pie, and it will be covered up by a beautiful layer of caramel and a bunch of apples.  Which means you can either get some practice making pie crusts, or you can use store bought!

—-

Obviously I went for the ‘get some practice making pie crust’ option.

I’m going to tell you a little about pie crust now.  Pie crust is easy in theory…flour, fat, salt and water.  That’s all that’s in a pie crust.  Easy, right?  Incorrect.

As someone who has made many a pie crust with very few successes, here’s what I’ve learned:

1)      Keep everything COLD. Period.

2)      Try to handle it as little as possible (your body heat will kill a pie crust)

3)      Crisco is key.  Or lard, I’ve read.

I started by looking at Alton Brown’s recipe for pie crust.  Alton Brown has fantastic, basic, usually fool proof recipes, so anything by him is a good place to start.  I also remember my mom making fantastic pie crusts using butter flavored Crisco (no real butter, I don’t think).

So I kind of combined the two…four tablespoons of butter (for flavor), four tablespoons of Crisco (for flakiness).  I’ve also heard that sugar makes a flaky crust, so I threw in a tablespoon of that too…the end result was the best pie crust I’ve ever produced.  Did the sugar make a difference? No idea.  I will be including it in my crusts from now on though.

 —-

Here’s how you start:  Four Tablespoons of butter and four tablespoons of shortening.  Cut your butter into smaller pieces…frozen butter is too hard to cut easily and softened butter doesn’t cut well either.  So take out some of that butter from the fridge, and cut up four tablespoons into small pieces and measure out shortening.  Put that into the freezer for 15 minutes so it’s ice cold.

While that chills, measure your flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor and then pulse to combine.

Also get a bowl of ice water ready. Ice water…you want it very cold.

Now pull out your chilled fats, and pulse in the butter…just pulse it a couple of times (mine still just looked like flour)

Then add in your shortening and pulse it a couple of times again.  Should be looking a bit more crumbly now.

Now start incorporating your ice water.  I added in 4 tsp then gave it a few pulses, then 4 more tsp and a few more pulses and it really started to come together in a thick dough.

Pull that out of the food processor and pack it together (but don’t handle it too much!) and put it into a floured Ziploc bag (shake a tablespoon or so of flour in a gallon sized Ziploc to coat, then pour out the excess) and flatten slightly.  Then into the fridge for an hour

You’ll need two crusts for this recipe, so don’t forget to repeat!  You can also make crusts with a pastry cutter (do people still own these?) or use two knifes to cut everything in together.  Folks, a food processor is your friend though and you should get one.

—-

Once your crusts have been in the fridge for about an hour, start on the filling.  First cut up all of your apples.  This is the easiest and quickest way to do that:

Cut off the top and bottom of your apple.  Then just carefully slice the skin off with a knife.

You could use a potato peeler, but I find the round shape of green apples and the thick peel make them especially uncooperative.

Then, I swear to you, I cut up three apples like an idiot (cut it in quarters, cut out the core, curse at how there must be an easier way) before I remembered that there is an easier way!  I meant to tell you about it when I made caramel apple blondies, but here’s what you do (after cutting the top and bottom and skin off):

Now you have nice, flat surfaces to easily cut the apple into even sized pieces.  Brilliant, right?

Stir in the seasonings and sugar (and then eat some cinnamon sugar apples…I may not like apple pie, but I could eat this whole bowl), then the butter and flour.  That’s all for your filling!  Now onto assembly.

—-

Line a pie pan with parchment paper and give it a non-stick spray.  Don’t do what I did when I made Rugelach Cookies (‘ohhh tin foil will work just fine…’) or what I did when I baked granola bars (before I started the blog… ‘wax paper…that’s pretty much the same thing as parchment paper, right?’ It’s not.).  Parchment paper, got it?

In a small bowl combine melted butter, brown sugar and pecans (or walnuts), then spread that out over the parchment paper.

Roll out your first pie crust on a floured surface.  How do you know when it’s big enough? Overturn your pie pan on the crust and there should be about an inch of overlap on the sides.

Forgive the blue pie pan and the poor picture quality…also, not a great demonstration.  This pie crust would fit a 9 inch pie pan, this one is 9.5.  Bet you didn’t know those even existed.

Here’s one more trick.  I don’t have a rolling pin, so while it is genius to roll your crust onto the pin then unroll it into a pie dish, you can also sprinkle some flour on it and then fold it like so:

And then just unfold it into the dish directly on top of the butter/brown sugar and nuts.

Then fill with your apples (you may notice my crust looks baked…it was.  Long story short, don’t do that. It’s a million times more difficult.  Just use the raw crust).

And top with your final crust.  Don’t forget to poke some holes to let the steam out so your pie doesn’t explode.

Into the oven for a little over an hour, and it will come out looking like…well, apple pie.  Let it cool for five minutes, then cover with a plate larger than your pie dish and (wearing oven mitts or the like), flip!

This did not change my opinion of fruit-goop pies, but everyone else loved it.  So if you want to impress your apple pie loving friends, definitely make this…it’s still an apple pie, just a playful, much needed twist on the classic.  I will say the caramel on top is a good addition.  It pairs well with the apples, and even cold it is chewy and sweet and delicious.  The crust though, initially not supposed to be the star, is a total stand out.  It’s flaky, but not dry…probably the best crust I’ve ever made, even soaked in fruit goop.

—-

Upside Down Apple Pie
Adapted from NoblePig

Crust (makes 1 9inch pie crust)…you’ll need two
4 T unsalted butter (fridge temperature)
4 T Crisco
8-10 tsp ice cold water
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar

  • Pull butter from the fridge and cut into small cubes.  Lay it out on a small parchment paper lined plate with shortening, and put into the freezer for 15 minutes
  • While your fats chill, pulse together flour, salt and sugar in a food processor (or sift together in a bowl), and get a small bowl of ice water ready
  • Pulse your chilled butter in with the flour, then pulse in chilled shortening (it will be slightly crumbly…you can also cut all of this together with a pastry cutter or two knives if you don’t have a food processor)
  • Begin adding ice water a few teaspoons at a time, and pulsing the dough until it comes together in a ball
  • Press into a disk and flour both sides and store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for at least an hour

Filling and Caramel
5-6 large apples
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 T melted butter
1/3 cup flour

4 T melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Peel and cut your apples into even sized slices, then stir in 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, 2 T melted butter, and flour, and set aside
  • Line a 9 inch pie pan with parchment paper and spray with a nonstick spray.  In a small bowl, combine 4 T melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and chopped nuts.  Pour into the pie plate (on the parchment paper)
  • Roll out your crusts and lay one over the brown sugar goo, then pour apples on top.
  • Cover with the second crust, and try to seal the two crusts together.  Poke holes in the top crust.
  • Bake for 1 hour – 1 1/4 hours…until the crust is golden brown
  • Once out of the oven, allow 5 minutes to sit, then (with oven safe gloves on), cover with a plate larger than the pie pan, and flip.  The parchment paper should  come off with ease.
  • This pie is best served warm
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One Response to “Upside Down Apple Pie for my Dad”

  1. Mike October 6, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    Yes you are correct, pretty fancy dinner, some dark beer may or may not have been involved but rest assured there were adult beverages involved but dessert was not particularly good. Not nearly as good as this recipe. We had pumpkin cheesecake and it wasn’t that good, mine is better!

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