Friday, November 30, 2012


The November 2012 issue of Cooking Light featured their Best Recipes of Our first 25 Years. The featured Recipe Makeover was for one of their very first apple pies with a walnut crust, which to save 300 calories, the Test Kitchen had removed the bottom crust making it more of a cobbler than a pie. For the current issue, they revamped the original recipe by bringing back the bottom crust (as well as a few more calories) but used improved techniques that produced flaky layers of goodness no one could resist. One of those techniques included vodka. Vodka inhibits gluten formation, the culprit for tough crusts. But don't worry, the alcohol vaporizes in the oven leaving no after-taste. Each pie yields 10 serving size wedges at 281 calories per slice. 

Walnut-Crusted Apple Pie
1 pound Pink Lady apples (about 2), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 pound Golden Delicious apples (about 2), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp cold butter, cut in pieces
3 tbsp ice-cold vodka
cooking spray
1 tbsp 2% reduced-fat milk
1 large egg yolk
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients; toss to coat.
  2. Place nuts in a food processor; process until finely ground. Weigh or lightly spoon 6.75 ounces flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt to food processor; pulse 5 times. Add butter; pulse 6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly add vodka through food chute, processing just until combined (do not form a ball.) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 3 to 4 times. Dived dough into 2 equal portions. Gently press each portion into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  4. Unwrap and place 1 dough piece on plastic wrap. Cover with 2 sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 10-inch circle. Place into a 9-inch pie plated coated with cooking spray. Spoon apple mixture into a pie plate. 
  5. Unwrap and place remaining portion of dough on plastic wrap. Cover with 2 sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into 12-inch circle. Place over apple mixture. Press edges of dough together. Fold edges under, flute. Cut slits in top of dough to allow steam to escape. 
  6. Combine milk and egg yolk, stirring with whisk. Gently brush top of dough with milk mixture. Place pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet; bake at 425º for 20 minutes in lower third of oven. Shield edges of pie crust with foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350º (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 30 minutes or until browned. Cool on a wire rack.

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