Raw Apple Pie Your Way — Play with your food!
When I was younger my credo was to try everything at least twice (in case I got it wrong the first time). Keeping an open mind this way, I learned — and shaped — my preferences. With food, over time, I developed a leaning towards the healthful. Even when cooking with butter, or cream, or sugar, or meat in my mind I work through variations. One fairly new approach I’ve been thinking about is raw food. Interestingly, dehydrating foods under 118 degrees Fahrenheit is still considered raw by many which, as you’ll see, opens up new textures and flavors.
My most visited page is Apple Pie Your Way (which I will redo the photographs for). I stated this blog with the intention to present different ways to make a given dish, to make my recipes customizable with a bend towards healthful, and so over the past two months I’ve used ideas in both Raw Food and Molecular Gastronomy to make alternative versions of my pies and tarts. The results pass my Kid Test — they’ve loved everything I’ve brought to them, which include Strudel, Filo, Baklava, Tarts, and Pies — and my friends and neighbors have enjoy them, too.
The technique for the Apple works for Pears, Nashi, Persimmon.
When you put, say, 50 grams of lemon zest in 25 grams of sugar and leave them alone covered for the day you’ll come back to lemon oil syrup. The sugar pulls the liquid from the rind.
When you put one kilogram of peeled, cored, sliced apples in 500 grams of sugar, cover and leave alone, you’ll come back to an apple juice/syrup and slightly dehydrated apples. Gently stir and leave it alone for a few days and you’ll get more of this juice.
To keep the color white you’ll need to dip the apple slices in water with citric acid, lemon juice, or vinegar.
Taste the apples at any point when they’re in the syrup. The texture changes. They are no longer as crisp and the flavors are bright. At this point, you can turn the syrup/juice into jelly and dip the apple slices into it. When set you can create your dessert — but lets take it a bit further.
Take the apples from the syrup and put them in a dehydrator. Follow the raw food trend and dehydrate at, say, 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 – 12 hours tasting every hour until they reach a point you like. For me that’s four to five hours. Dip them in the jelly and use them when set, or soak them in rum overnight and then dip them.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can place them on a rack on the counter for a few days to air dry. The process is slower. This works best when the slices have been dipped in water with an acid like lemon juice or citric acid.
We can take this even further by dehydrating the slices all the way and rehydrating them in either the sugar syrup or rum, dipping them in jelly and using them when dry.
Dipping in jelly is optional, but it adds a nice sheen, gives you creativity to add different flavors, and prevents the apple slices from drying out. You can do this by adding gelatin to the apple syrup and dipping the slices in the solution before it sets, or melt store bought jelly and dip into that.
Raw Apple Pie Your Way!
tier one (you must use)
- 3 – 6 apples
- Juice of 1 -3 lemons or 1 teaspoon citric acid or a tablespoon vinegar (to prevent browning)
- 1 cup of water
- Pre-baked tart shell or pastry
- Sugar at least 1/4 cup per apple
tier two (suggested)
- Alcohol of your choice (rum, calvados, orange liqueur, brandy) to soak the finished apples, or as flavoring in the syrup
- Jelly (apple, apricot, orange)
tier three (optional)
- 1 Vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla (to flavor the syrup)
- Rum soaked raisins (to finish the dessert)
- Candied orange zest or peels (to finish the dessert)
- Pastry cream, whipped cream, mousse to line the shell
Method: Add the lemon juice, acid, or vinegar to the water in a small bowl. Peel the apples and dip in the water. Slice them in half and core then dip them in the water again. Cut the halves again (into 1/4) then again (into 1/8). If 1/8 is thick enough for you dip them in water and set them aside in a different bowl, or slice them in half again (1/16), dip them, and set them aside.
Weigh the apple slices you have and add half the amount of sugar. If you have 500 grams of sliced apples, use 250 grams of sugar. If you don’t have a scale, use 1/4 cup sugar per apple. Pour the sugar over the apples and as best you can coat the apples with the sugar. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave it alone for half a day then unwrap and stir with a rubber spatula to help dissolve the sugar. Taste a slice. Add the vanilla or alcohol, if using and keep tightly wrapped until ready to use. The apple slices will continue to exude juice for a day or so.
Remove the apple slice to a rack and pat dry with paper towels. Melt the jelly and flavor with alcohol. When the melted jelly is cool enough for you to dip your fingers into add several slices of apple and coat with the jelly and remove slice by slice to set on a wire rack. Continue until all apples are coated.
If you’re using pastry cream or another filling add it to your tart or pie shell and decorate with the apple slices, raisins, orange peel.
This is unlike any pie or tart you’ve eaten. Removing the water with sugar (candying the fruit) changes the texture and flavor in palate pleasing ways. The area between partial and complete dehydration provides you with a variety of textures and soaking of any kind brings out different flavors and levels of juiciness. I highly recommend tasting the apples through the process and taking note at what pleases you. These techniques will expand what you can do in the kitchen by quite a lot.