A shortbread crust. Creamy filling. Flowers made out of apples? Yep!
Usually for the holidays I try to make something just a little fancy. So I happened upon a recipe for this fancy pie covered with apple roses! It looked like a challenge, but it was so pretty I had to make it. To make it a little more challenging, the recipe was in another language. Unfortunately the translator didn’t translate very well, and I am far from a master pastry chef, so I took the idea for the roses, and found crust and filling recipes elsewhere, made my own little tweaks, and a pie was born. It was a gorgeous addition to the Thanksgiving feast this year.
My one complaint about this pie is that when I cut into it, it kind of fell apart. I would have loved to have a perfect little wedge but it didn’t happen. I think next time I make it I’ll use ramekins and make individual little pies so I don’t have to mess up my fancy flowers!
The Fanciest Apple Cream Pie
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. corn starch
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. grand marnier (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. apricot preserves
Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse almonds and sugar until finely ground, being careful to stop before they turn into nut butter. Add flour and salt and pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. With motor running, add egg, egg yolk, and orange zest and whirl until dough comes together. Press dough firmly into tart pan or pie pan. Refrigerate while you make the pastry cream.
To make the pastry cream, in a medium saucepan mix 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 3 tablespoons flour, and a pinch salt. Whisk in 2 1/2 cups whole milk, then add 1 large egg and 2 large egg yolks. Whisk until smooth. Place over high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture boils and becomes quite thick, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla and Grand Marnier, and 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Pour mixture into a medium bowl; set bowl in ice water and stir often until pastry cream is cool, about 12 minutes. Pour into crust. Keep chilled.
Using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife (I had better luck with the knife), cut thin strips from the apples, keeping an edge of peel on them. The thinner the strips the easier they are to wrap into shapes.
Roll and wrap apple pieces around each other to make flowers and place on pastry cream, pressing down a bit to hold in place.
Continue until entire top of pie is covered with apple roses. Put apricot preserves in a small bowl and microwave until it melts into liquid. Brush over the top of apples.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack and then chill until ready to serve. Serve cold.