What exactly caught my eye on this recipe was the fact that it called for cream cheese for the crust. As far as I am concerned, people normally use either vegetable shortening or butter. But cream cheese? This is surprisingly interesting, something new and rare to me. Apparently, it was said that the cream cheese was the main thing that made the pie so very crispy and crusty. And for this particular reason, I was dying to give this dessert a shot.
All in all, it was a pretty easy bake. Straightforward. Nothing complicated. As both me and my wife are never an apple pie fan and knowingly that none of my kids has actually tried this dessert, I dared not take the risk and wisely halved all the ingredients, otherwise (if the bake didn't turn out right), I would have my three meals stuffed with only apple pies. As such, I made a cutie 6-inch pie. No pie pan used, just laid it on the baking tray.
Well, I was somehow lucky that I made the correct decision - making a mini version. Reason? The pie did not turn out to be what I had expected. I did not seal the crust well. The juice from the apples leaked while baking and as a result the pie was a little on the dry side. I had expected the filling to be a little slushy. How I wished that when I slit cut the pie, the apple sauce just immediately sloshed out. Don't you think that's heavenly? Well, other than these minor hiccups, the rest was just perfect. The apple slices were baked to perfection, they are soft tender. The crust was creamy and flavourful. Since the pie was a little dry, I complemented it with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. Aaah.......sinfully blissful!
Wanna try? Here's the secret........
(Yield: one 12" pie)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder, optional*(I omitted this)
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 10 tablespoons cold butter
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
- 1/2 cup Baker's Cinnamon Filling mixed with 2 tablespoons water*
- 3 medium-to-large fresh apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- dash of salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut in small cubes
- *Substitute 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon for the Baker's Cinnamon Filling and water, if desired. If you use sugar and cinnamon, DO NOT ADD THE WATER.
- 2 tablespoons coarse sparkling white sugar
- To make the crust: Put the flour in a bowl, or in the work bowl of a food processor. Add the cream cheese, salt, and buttermilk powder. Mix together until everything is evenly crumbly. If you're using a food processor, just a few quick pulses are all you'll need.
- Cut the cold butter into pieces and work it into the flour, leaving some visible pieces.
- Sprinkle the dough with the cold water and toss. Squeeze the dough to determine if it holds together. If it's too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, using just enough so the dough will hold together.
- Divide the dough in two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. if you have a scale, one piece should be about 9 ounces; the other about 10 ounces. Flatten each piece of dough into a disk, wrap well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
- Remove the larger piece of dough from the refrigerator, and roll it into a 13" circle. Place it in a 12" shallow pizza pan, or onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. The parchment is there to catch any spills and simplify cleanup; if you don't have it, there's no need to grease your pan.
- Spread the Baker's Cinnamon Filling mixture atop the crust. If you're using sugar and cinnamon, simply sprinkle it evenly atop the crust.
- Arrange the apples in concentric rings atop the filling. Or, if you don't feel like being that fussy, simply spread the apples over the crust.
- Sprinkle the apples with a dash of salt, and drizzle with the lemon juice. Scatter the bits of butter over all.
- Remove the other piece of dough from the refrigerator, and roll it into a 12" circle. Place it atop the apples. Bring the edge of the bottom crust up over the top, pressing to seal.
- Brush the crust with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired. Cut a dime-sized hole in the middle; or cut several 1" slits across the top, for steam to escape.
- Bake the pie in the preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F, and continue to bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and you can see some filling bubbling through the slits in the top.
- Remove the pie from the oven, and wait about an hour before cutting into wedges and serving.