My husband and I recently spent a weekend with friends at their new log cabin -- a cabin meant for hunters. It was like no other cabin I have ever been to... I loved it.
We wanted to take a cabin house-warming gift. My husband had been to the cabin this past fall to hunt deer, and had been talking for weeks about buying our friends a stuffed squirrel (ebay is full of them). I just couldn't get on-board with his idea -- not at all in fact. But after visiting I am now sorry I was so against the little taxidermied sciuridae. It would have been perfect, I think.
I did however want to incorporate squirrels into the weekend -- somehow. The double crust apple pie I made and took along for our dessert that night at the cabin, had two very small squirrels cut from leftover pastry on top. Little did I know I should have also been looking for a mountain lion cookie cutter. I'll work on that for our next visit, which I'm hoping won't be too far off (hint, hint).
NOTE: I made a slight adjustment to this recipe. I could not get the butter-cornstarch-whiskey mixture to thicken, so when done, I removed the apples to a bowl, so not to over-cook, and added additional cornstarch to total 1 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon was called for in the recipe). I then cooked the mixture until it was the thick, perfect constancy it should be.
• Classic Pie Dough (recipe follows)
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch (see NOTE above)
• 1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
• 7 medium Granny Smith apples
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon whiskey
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 tablespoon raw sugar
1. Dust work surface lightly with flour. Unwrap one of the balls of chilled dough and place on the work surface. Roll into a 12-inch round. Transfer dough to a pie plate and carefully work it into the dish, folding any overhang under and crimping the edge as you go. Wrap and freeze the crust until firm, about 2 hours, and up to 3 months.
2. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the brown sugar, Peel and core the Granny Smith apples; cut them into 1/8-inch wedges.
3. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Swirl the saucepan occasionally until the butter begins to brown. As soon as the butter is evenly browned, add half of the apple wedges and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, or until apples are softened.
4. Add the remaining apples and the cornstarch-sugar mixture. Mix until the sugar has melted, then add the vanilla, whiskey, and cinnamon to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes. See the NOTE above -- I found it necessary to remove the apples and continue cooking the sauce on its own until thickened.. Remove from heat, stir in the reserved apples and let cool slightly.
5. Prepare the work surface with a dusting of flour. Roll the remaining ball of chilled pie dough into a 12-inch round.
6. Pour the apple filling into the frozen pie crust, and top with the second dough round. Trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Crimp the edges together, brush with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Cut 3 steam vents into the top crust. With left-over dough, cut out shapes to place on the top crust (brushed with beaten egg to adhere), if desired.
7. Bake the pie until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool the pie on a rack for 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla bean ice cream
Classic Pie Dough
• 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup ice cold water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together.
2. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture. Pulse in short bursts until the pieces of butter are the size of hazelnuts.
3. While pulsing in quick, 4-second bursts, drizzle the ice water into the food processor through the feed tube.
4. As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, remove from the food processor and divide it into two equal balls. Flatten each into a disk and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for about an hour.
• adapted from a recipe in BAKED by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
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