The sunny yellow color of this First Prize Pie seems at first to be some kind of citrus. One bite and you'll see that it isn't; the flavor comes primarily from apple cider and sour cream, which combine to make a tart and tangy, sweet and creamy pie. It's especially good with dollops of sweetened cinnamon whipped cream.
Excerpted from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave. Copyright (c) 2013. Photographs by Tina Rupp. Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books. All rights reserved.
- Yield:Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) pie
- Active time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Total time:overnight, if making pie crust
- Classic Pie Crust (for one double-crust 9-inch pie)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/170 g) unsalted European-style cultured butter
- 1/4 cup (55 g) rendered leaf lard OR additional butter
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or any light colored, mild vinegar)
- 12 ounces (340 g/ approximately 3 cups) unbleached all purpose flour (chilled)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) apple cider
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Making the crust:Prepare the butter and lard, if using. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes (a bench scraper is perfect for this, but a sharp knife works well too), and cut the lard into small pieces. Return them to the fridge or freezer to cool.
In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the milk and vinegar. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to use. On a clean flat surface or in a large shallow bowl, toss the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt together lightly to blend. Add the butter and lard (if using) to the dry ingredients and, using the tool of your choice, cut the fat into the flour with speed and patience, until the fat has been reduced to small pea-sized chunks. Try to use a straight up-and-down motion, avoiding twisting your wrists, as the more you press on the flour the more tough gluten will develop in the dough. Avoid using your fingers, as the heat from your hands will melt the fat and further encourage gluten development. Unlike with pasta or bread, gluten is the enemy of pie dough, so be gentle, and be quick!
Once your fat has been cut down to size, spread your mixture out gently to expose as much surface area as possible. Gently drizzle about half of your milk mixture over the flour, trying to cover as wide an area as you can. Using bench scrapers or a large spoon, toss the flour over the liquid (don’t stir; just lightly toss), spread everything out again, and repeat the process with the second half of the liquid. You should now have a dough that will just hold together when pressed against the bowl, with visible little chunks of butter. If you need to add more liquid to bind it, do so with more cold milk, adding a tablespoon at a time until you reach the right texture. It’s not an exact science, as everything from the humidity in the air to the dryness of your flour will affect the consistency of your dough.
Once you’ve reached your goal, cover the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week, well wrapped, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remember, this pie will use only half that dough, since it's a single-crust pie.
Assembling the pie: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Roll out the dough into a circle about 11 inches (28 cm) in diameter. Transfer it to a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan or pie plate, tuck the overhang under, and crimp decoratively. Blind-bake the crust until partially baked (fill with weights and bake for 10-15 mins); set it aside to cool. Lower the oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
Make the filling: In a small saucepan over high heat, boil the cider until it has reduced down to 3/4 cup (180 ml), 15 to 20 minutes. Let it cool. (This step can be done ahead. The reduced cider will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge, or 2 months in the freezer.) In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, sour cream, and salt until fully blended. Slowly drizzle in the reduced cider and whisk to fully incorporate. Put the pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling has just set and is still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour.
Make the topping: In a stand mixer, with a hand mixer, or by hand with a whisk, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and cinnamon until soft peaks form. Pile the whipped cream on top of the fully cooled pie and serve. This pie can be made ahead, without the topping, and refrigerated for up to 1 week, covered in plastic wrap. Add the topping just before serving.