Food's Rising Stars Share Apple Pie Recipes

Like the changing leaves, apple picking is a quintessential sign of fall.

Families can head to an orchard, enjoy the crisp autumn air and fun activities like hayrides and then return home with a bushel to bake a fresh apple pie.

Even city dwellers can find apple orchards and farms just a short drive away.

Masker Orchards, about 90 minutes from Manhattan in Warwick, N.Y., is a 200-acre apple orchard with many varieties, including Granny Smith, Macintosh, Jonagolds, Romes and many more. You can check the orchard's Web site to find out when your favorite varieties are ripe.

The trees are not very tall, so even your littlest can pick fruit. Many families break for lunch by setting up a picnic right in the middle of the orchard, or you can head to a country store to pick up a quick bite.

Ripe apple trees at Masker Orchards in New York. Photo by Eleanor Hong

It's best to go in the morning to avoid crowds and get first pick at the best apples. By midafternoon, you may find yourself stuck in a human traffic jam between rows of tress.

Before you leave, you can stop by a small market, with a country store and bakery stand and a pumpkin patch. A generously filled bag of apples costs about $20, and a half bag costs about $10. But don't be surprised if you're asked to pop your trunk, as it seems some visitors have been known to stow away a few extra bushels there.

Other apple orchards close to the city are:
Lyman Orchards, Middlefield, Conn.
Dressel Farms, New Paltz, N.Y.
Stone Ridge Orchard, Stone Ridge, N.Y.

You can find out about apple orchards all over the country at www.allaboutapples.com.

Go to the next page for apple pie recipes from celebrity chefs!

Apple Pie Recipes

After your day at the orchard, there's no choice but to whip up an apple pie, cobbler or crisp.

Depending on your taste buds, opt for sour Granny Smiths, sweet Golden Delicious or any combination of fresh apples in between.

Below are four recipes from chefs who appear on the Food Network.

The Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie
*Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence, host of Food Network's "Tyler's Ultimate" on Saturdays at 9 a.m.


Courtesy of the Food Network

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes
Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

The Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
2 eggs separated (yolk for the pastry, white for the glaze)
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

Caramel Apples:
1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the top
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 lemon, halved
8 apples (recommended: Granny Smith and Gala)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cinnamon stick, freshly grated
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Directions:

To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the chunks of cold butter with a pastry blender, a little at a time, until the dough resembles cornmeal. Add the egg yolk and the ice water, and blend for a second just to pull the dough together and moisten. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

To make the caramel sauce: place the sugar and water in a small pot and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the sugar has melted and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the burner and add the cream and wine slowly. It may bubble and spit, so be careful. When the sauce has calmed down, return it to the flame, add the vanilla bean and heat it slowly, until the wine and caramel are smooth and continue to slowly cook until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and cool until thickened.

Fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze in the lemon juice. Peel the apples with a paring knife, cut them in half, and remove the core with a melon baller. Put the apple halves in the lemon-water (this will keep them from going brown). Toss the apples with the flour and cinnamon.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap the plastic, and cut the ball in half. Rewrap and return 1 of the balls to the refrigerator, until ready for the top crust. Let the dough rest on the counter for 15 minutes so it will be pliable enough to roll out. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin and lay it inside a 10-inch glass pie pan. Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice a couple of the apples at a time using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. The apples need to be thinly sliced so that as the pie bakes, they collapse on top of each other with no air pockets. This makes a dense, meaty apple pie. Cover the bottom of the pastry with a layer of apples, shingling the slices so there are no gaps. Ladle about 2 ounces of the cooled red wine caramel sauce evenly over the apple slices. Repeat the layers, until the pie is slightly overfilled and domed on the top; the apples will shrink down as the pie cooks. Top the apples with pieces of the butter.

Now, roll out the other ball of dough just as you did the first. Brush the bottom lip of the pie pastry with a little beaten egg white to form a seal. Place the pastry circle on top of the pie, and using some kitchen scissors, trim off the overhanging excess from around the pie. Crimp the edges of dough together with your fingers to make a tight seal. Cut slits in the top of the pie so steam can escape while baking. Place the pie on a sheet tray and tent it with a piece of aluminum foil, so the crust does not cook faster than the apples.

Bake the caramel apple pie for 25 minutes on the middle rack. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the freshly grated cinnamon. Remove the foil from the pie and brush the top with the remaining egg white. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar and return to the oven. Continue to bake for another 25 minutes, until the pie is golden and bubbling. Let the apple pie rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour to allow the fruit pectin to gel and set; otherwise the pie will fall apart when you cut into it.

Apple Crisp


*Recipe courtesy the Neelys, hosts of "Down Home With the Neelys" on Saturdays at 11 a.m.


Courtesy of the Food Network

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ease of preparation: intermediate

Ingredients:

Filling:
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped small
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Filling:
Mix all the ingredients together. Place into 7- to 8-ounce ramekins.

For topping:
Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans and sprinkle over filling.

Bake crisps for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Crustless Apple Pie With Vanilla Ice Cream


*Recipe courtesy Danny Boome, host of Food Network's "Rescue Chef" on Sundays at 11 a.m.


Courtesy of the Food Network

Yield: about 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, cut into 16ths
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 orange, juiced
Vanilla ice cream

Directions:

In a medium heated skillet add the butter then add the apples. Cook for about 2 to 5 minutes then add the cinnamon, brown sugar and orange juice. Swirl the apples around to make sure they all get coated. Cook another 5 minutes until apples are soft and caramelized. Serve warm with scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So Maybe You Didn't Go to the Apple Orchard...

To save a little money, and a big mess, you can also try using apple filling instead. Sandra Lee, host of the Food Network's "Semi-Homemade Cooking," recommends Comstock More Fruit.

"The trip to the supermarket, combined with the additional prep time needed to wash, peel and mix apples is time that we all don't have to spare. … I enjoy experimenting with scratch ingredients and ready-made products, until I find the perfect blend," said Lee.

For a healthier spin on any recipe, Lee recommends replacing the butter or shortening that can be found in both the crust and filling of most apple pies, with a low-cal spread. "You can still have dessert and keep your peace of mind, just temper your servings," she added.

Sandy's Apple Crumble Pie
*Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee, host of "Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee" on Sundays at noon



Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

Ingredients:

1 (9-inch) frozen deep-dish pie shell, thawed, Marie Callendar's®
12 pecan shortbread cookies, Pecan Sandies®
6 tablespoons pecan pieces, Planters®
1/4 cup packed brown sugar, C&H®
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, McCormick®
5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 ½ cans (21 ounces each) apple pie filling, Comstock® More Fruit
Vanilla bean ice cream

Directions:

Move oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Using a fork, poke holes in bottom of the pie shell; bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

In a food processor, combine shortbread cookies, pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cover and process until mixture is fine crumbs. Add butter; pulse about 10 seconds or until mixture looks crumbly.

Pour apple pie filling into cooled crust. Pour pecan mixture evenly over apples. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Serve warm or cooled to room temperature. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

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