As a baker, I’m always looking for exciting new recipes and fun ideas, which is why my collection of dessert oriented cookbooks is rapidly growing. Some books are pretty good, some aren’t as good and then there are the rare few that have terrific recipes and also teach the reader exactly how to put them together. Sarabeth’s Bakery – From My Hands to Yours by Sarabeth Levine is that type of cookbook. Sarabeth is a New York City award-winning pastry chef who has several successful businesses. She got her start by making a secret family recipe of jams which are sold in thousands of stores around the world.
With lengthy chapter introductions, baker’s notes, stunning photographs and in-depth instructions, you almost feel as if Sarabeth is in the kitchen with you as you attempt her mouth-watering recipes. Keep reading for a chance to win this fabulous cookbook! But first, let me share this wonderful recipe of hers that I baked today.
While everything Sarabeth makes looks amazing, I found myself drawn to her Rustic Apple Streusel Pie. Be sure to have a good block of time available as there are three parts to this recipe: the dough, the apple filling and the streusel. What follows is Sarabeth’s recipe, which can also be found on her Goddess of Bakedom blog here.
First, I assembled the ingredients for the Tender Pie Dough. Since this is a rustic pie, rather than a traditional one, only half of the dough recipe is used. I actually halved the recipe and only made one disk of dough. I don’t recommend this though, as the small amount of ingredients were hard to work with in my electric stand mixer. What follows is the full recipe. Prepare as it is written and divide the dough in half, wrap one half well for the freezer and wrap the other in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator so it chills while you prepare the apples.
Ingredients for Tender Pie Dough
Tender Pie Dough Recipe adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery
14 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1/3 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at high speed until the butter is smooth, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add the milk, occasionally stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula. The butter mixture should be fluffy, smooth, and shiny, like a buttercream frosting.
2. Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. With the mixer speed on low, gradually add the flour mixture and incorporate just until the dough forms a mass on the paddle and the sides of the bowl are clean.(While this did not happen for me, I pinched the dough together to form one large mass.) Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times until it is smooth and supple. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into a disk, about 1 inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. See below for freezing instructions for extra disk of dough.
3. Refrigerate until chilled but not hard, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 1 day but it will be very hard, and should stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling out. The dough can also be frozen, double wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.)
Ingredients for Apple Filling
Rustic Apple Streusel Pie adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery
1 disk from Tender Pie Dough recipe
4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (I used 3 pounds of Macouns and had plenty left over for a second pie or other recipe.)
2/3 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B (I found this at Whole Foods)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Seeds from 3/4 Plumped Vanilla Bean or 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used Pure Vanilla Bean Paste)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure to place your baking rack at the bottom third of the oven before pre-heating.
2. Peel apples, cut in half, then slice apples into thin, 1/4 inch slices. See photos below.
3. Combine sugar, flour, maple syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl. Add apples and toss gently. (I used my hands for this step so the apples didn’t break.)
From Sarabeth’s baker’s note, I learned an easy way and sleek way to core and cut the apples for the filling. After they are peeled, slice the apples in half, through the core.
Then, lay the apple flat on the cutting board and begin to slice thin, 1/4 inch slices. Make neat, half-moons by cutting off apple sections that have pieces of the core on them.
After tossing apples with the mixture, they should look like this:
Assembling the pie
1. Lightly flour a work surface, such as a Silpat or baking mat. Unwrap the dough and rap the disk’s outer edge on the mat. Dust the top with flour. Roll out into a 15 inch round. (I ran into trouble here as my round was only about 11 inches and the dough split at the outer edges. Since this is a rustic style pie, it does not need to be perfect. I continued to follow the directions and all ended well!)
2. Transfer the dough carefully to a 9 inch pie pan, letting excess dough hang over the edges. Pour the apples into the crust, making them higher in the center of the pie. Bring up the edges of the dough and pleat or pinch them together, all the way around to form an edge of crust. (See below.)
3. Brush the exposed crust with a hand beaten egg.
4. Place the streusel over the exposed apples to cover, then sprinkle any remaining streusel over the crust. (See streusel recipe below.)
5. Place the pie on a half-sheet pan that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake pie about 30 minutes, then rotate the pan. Total baking time is about 50 minutes to one hour, until crust is golden brown and any juices that escape are thick. If crust is browning too quickly, tent it with parchment paper. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for one hour. Serve warm or at room temperature. (For further decadence, add a scoop of Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream to each warm slice when serving.)
Streusel adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery ( I doubled this recipe for the pie I made. This came in handy because as you can see, my pie crust didn’t cover much of the apples. Thankfully, the streusel covered it all.)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. To make streusel, combine flour, superfine sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
2. Stir the melted butter and vanilla together in another small bowl.
3. Gradually stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture, just until evenly moistened (you may not need all the butter, but I did).
4. Squeeze the mixture in your hands until thoroughly combined. (I skipped this step as well as the next.)
5. Crumble the mixture in the bowl to make fine crumbs with some small lumps. (I preferred larger lumps throughout the streusel. See photo below.)
The end result…
Here’s a slice so you can see how pretty the thinly sliced apples look.
Can't stop at "just a bite" on this one!
This pie received 10 thumbs up from the 5 who sampled it throughout the day. This is one cookbook every baker should have! Here’s your chance to win one free from Just a Bite Desserts!
Enter up to 3 times by leaving a SEPARATE COMMENT on this blog post each time you do one of the following:
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Entries will be taken through Wednesday, November 2nd at 12 midnight and a winner will be chosen using Random.org, on Wednesday morning. Good Luck! (Offer available to U.S. residents only.)