Sunday, September 16, 2012

Victory is Savory

My Savory Austrian Apple Pie won second place! The New England Apple Pie, sadly, was white noise among the other exotic offerings. There were more than 20 contest entries. I am convinced, though, that the New England Apple came out great. I went through two tries with the crust, and the second attempt was spot on. It was a flaky masterpiece. I do regret my overzealous heaping of the apple filling though, and my attempts at creative aesthetics for that one. I tried to do a little ring of apple cutouts around the center of the top crust. After baking, they looked like sloppy holes. Add that to the fact that the apples really cooked down during baking, leaving a vacuous cavern of crust to stare into. Suffice to say, it was a bit lacking in the aesthetics department but still on par with most of the other entries on the table.

The savory pie, on the other hand, was the only savory pie in the contest, and it had it all. The apple slices cooperated with being arranged in an artful spiral and the beautifully caramelized shallots and browned Gruyere cheese really tied it all together. And yes, I was "that guy" (or gal) who bought a slice of her own winning pie to know definitively how it came out. It was exquisite. It was so rich that one of the judges was even convinced there was bacon in it. Another hinted that I was robbed of first place because of a slight gender divide among the judges. Apparently, men have more of a sweet tooth. So what did I win, you ask. Second prize was a nice reusable farmer's market bag and $15 in farmer's market tokens. And you can look for my photo in the local paper! More info about the contest can be found on the farmers market Facebook page. I feel very validated in my pie efforts. There is one downside though - my deep Chantal pie dish that the New England Apple was in was broken by one of the staff during the clean-up process. I am being reimbursed, but it is still a bummer. Well, enough about all that. Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Savory Austrian Apple Pie
pastry dough for one pie crust
about 6 tart apples, peeled, cored, & sliced (I used Ginger Gold)
4oz. creme fraiche
1/3c. whole milk
3 eggs
1t. salt
1/2t. pepper
a pinch of chili powder
1/4lb. shallots, sliced into thin rings
2T. butter
1/4c. apple cider
1/4lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded

Roll out bottom crust and place in pie dish. Piece with a fork. Freeze 10 min while oven preheats to 375F. Remove crust from freezer, fill with pie weights, and bake for 12 min. Remove pie weights and bake an additional 12-15 min at the same temperature, until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool at least 20 min. Mix the creme fraiche, milk, eggs, salt, pepper, and chili powder in a large bowl. Heat 2T of butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add shallots and cook until caramelized. Remove from heat and add cider to shallots in skillet. Pour a small amount of filling mixture into cooked pie crust. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese. Layer apple slices over to fill crust. Top with remaining filling, shallots, and cheese. Bake at 400F for 25 min, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 20 min, until top is nicely browned. Guten Appetit!

Current Pie Tally: 98

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