"Basic" Apple Pie


 
Basic Apple Pie - Sweet and tart apples are finely sliced, tossed with some flour and vanilla bean paste, then nestled inside a super easy pie crust and topped with a lattice and baked to perfection. This is the perfect fall pie, with a pie crust that is very quick and very easy to make - it is basically foolproof. #applepie #easyapplepie
Basic Apple Pie - Sweet and tart apples are finely sliced, tossed with some flour and vanilla bean paste, then nestled inside a super easy pie crust and topped with a lattice and baked to perfection. This is the perfect fall pie, with a pie crust that is very quick and very easy to make - it is basically foolproof. #applepie #easyapplepie
Basic Apple Pie - Sweet and tart apples are finely sliced, tossed with some flour and vanilla bean paste, then nestled inside a super easy pie crust and topped with a lattice and baked to perfection. This is the perfect fall pie, with a pie crust that is very quick and very easy to make - it is basically foolproof. #applepie #easyapplepie
Basic Apple Pie - Sweet and tart apples are finely sliced, tossed with some flour and vanilla bean paste, then nestled inside a super easy pie crust and topped with a lattice and baked to perfection. This is the perfect fall pie, with a pie crust that is very quick and very easy to make - it is basically foolproof. #applepie #easyapplepie

Hi hi! Happy Sunday! Things are finally kicking into Autumn here, which means it’s absolutely apple pie season (It’s always apple pie season IMO though). I had a some super fun visitors yesterday to my tiny wee NYC apartment, and we whipped this guy up, so I wanted to pop the recipe here for you!

Nz Chef Josh Emett and his lovely wife Helen are here in NYC at the moment, promoting Josh’s new book, ‘The Recipe’ (watch this space for a recipe from it coming your way v soon). It’s a collection of recipes from top chefs around the world - all the recipes look incredible, and the photography is so, so beautiful. Josh has some amazing restaurants back home in NZ, and does an incredible cooking segment on his IG stories, so we decided to join forces and make something together - an epic apple pie! My teeny NYC kitchen is a far cry from Josh’s insane kitchen back in Auckland, but we made it work!

We kept it simple and made a ‘basic’ apple pie - I say basic because we let the ingredients speak for themselves. I have a couple of other apple pie recipes here on the site, with caramel, cardamom, etc, but didn’t have just a plain old apple pie, so it was a great time to remedy that. We picked up some apples from the farmer’s market, then headed back to my apartment to make the pie. You really can’t go past a good apple pie and this one is just that - flaky pastry, and a packed apple filling. We went a little fancy on the lattice topping, which I love to make, but also love how it increases the ratio of the pastry to the filling, because as far as I’m concerned, the more crispy pastry the better. Enjoy! x

A few wee tips:

  • I love to use a mixture of apples to make apple pie. We used three - Mutsu, Honeycrisp and another green variety. The variation in flavour and texture makes for a super delicious pie - go for something a little sweeter, and something a little more tart. If you’re in NZ, a mixture of Braeburn and Gala would be great. Braeburn hold their shape nicely in the oven and provide the tartness, and gala is more sweet.

  • I made the pie dough for this the morning that we made the pie, but the night before works well too. You can also make it and freeze it for up to 3 months - defrost overnight before using.

  • I like using a wee tip that my friend Erin taught me to make the pie dough nice and smooth and easy to work with. I make the dough, shape it into two rectangles, rest it in the fridge wrapped for about an hour, then remove it and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. I then give it a letter fold (as you would a letter), roll out to a rectangle, letter fold again, then roll out slightly, and shape into a disc. I then re-wrap it, and leave it to rest overnight. This makes the dough more homogenous without compromising the flaky texture that you want in the pie dough, and it makes it a total dream to work with. For me, it’s a game changer.

  • I like to divide the pie dough into 1/3 and 2/3 - shape the smaller one into a disc as it will be your bottom crust, and shape the top into a rectangle so it’s the right shape when it comes to cutting out lattices.

  • We used pie stamps to cut out the shapes for the edge of the pie - I have collected a whole bunch over the years - I have this set and this set of leaves, and then this set is where the flowers are from. I think I also have this set!

  • You want to ‘shingle’ in the apples when you are adding them to the pie, in order to have as few gaps as possible. Apples cook down in the oven, so layering them tightly ensures that they bake evenly.

  • Don’t be afraid to bake this until it is a deep golden brown colour - I do 20 mins at 425°f / 220°c and then at least 40 mins at 375°f / 190 °c, but check it as you are going and take it as far as you like. Golden pastry is my fave, but this will also help avoid a soggy bottom on the pie and make sure that the pastry is cooked through.

 

 

"Basic" Apple Pie

- Makes one 9” pie, serves 8 -

Pie Dough
540g All-purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
1 Tbsp (13g) sugar
345g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
60g (1/4 cup) Apple cider vinegar

Filling
1.5kg apples, peeled and thinly sliced (yields about 1200g sliced apple)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
45g all-purpose flour
85g raw sugar (increase this to taste if needed)
big pinch of salt

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Raw sugar to finish

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Mix to combine. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, but add slowly) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Divide the dough into two - I like to do a 1/3 to 2/3 split. Shape the smaller portion into a disc and the larger into a rectangle. If desired, roll out and perform letter folds after an hour of resting (see notes - I do this every time now and it makes such a difference). Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

On a lightly floured surface, roll the disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line a 9" pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice.

Roll out the second piece of dough (the rectangle) into a rough rectangle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut strips for your lattice. If you would like to make a braid, roll a piece of pie dough into a long thin rectangle, cut thin strips, and braid. Place your strips and braids onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and store in the fridge until ready to use. Press together the scraps and re-roll, these are good for extra lattice strips or for using pie stamps to cut out for the border - freeze for 10 minutes or so before stamping out to help the stamps hold their shape.

Place the sliced apples in a large bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, then add to the apples and toss well to combine. Transfer the filling to the lined pie dish a little at a time, packing the slices of apple in tightly, and mounding in the middle. Remember that it will bake down a little, so it is ok for the pie to seem a bit full.

Arrange the strips of pie dough on the top of the pie, weaving into your desired lattice. If you are adding stamps, trim any overlapping pie dough and lattice strips so that they are flush with the edge of the pie dish, then glue on the stamps with a little egg wash. If you are crimping, trim the crust with a little overhang and then crimp as desired.

Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425°f/ 220°c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven. 

Brush the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375°f / 190°c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, ideally with a scoop of ice cream.

Store leftovers wrapped in foil at room temperature and re-warm slightly when serving.

Basic Apple Pie - Sweet and tart apples are finely sliced, tossed with some flour and vanilla bean paste, then nestled inside a super easy pie crust and topped with a lattice and baked to perfection. This is the perfect fall pie, with a pie crust that is very quick and very easy to make - it is basically foolproof. #applepie #easyapplepie

Spiced Brown Sugar Cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream


 

Thank you so much to ALDI for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own - thank you for supporting the businesses that keep Cloudy Kitchen going!

Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake
Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake

Hi hi! Today is the first day that it finally, finally feels like autumn here in NYC. It’s been gross and hot for the longest time. I finally spied some fallen leaves yesterday, and our CSA pickups have been full of apples, so I think it’s just around the corner.

That of course means that it’s time to kick off autumn inspired baking! I’ve teamed up with my friends at ALDI to bring you this epic autumn inspired cake. ALDI is my go-to for baking staples - they are not only great quality, but extremely well priced, and they always have everything that I need. I got all the ingredients I needed for this cake - ALDI delivers on Instacart (if it’s your first time you can use the code ALDICK to get $10 off your first three orders of $35 or more), so it all showed up at my house just when I needed it! Not having to leave the house for groceries is the best thing ever.

I wanted to inject as much autumn as possible into this cake. There’s a few layers of a spiced brown sugar cake, with all the usual suspects - cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, all the cozy warming spices. The cake is made using the reverse creaming method, which is not only super easy, but also makes a cake that is the perfect texture for stacking. I snuck a little sour cream in there too, just to help up the moisture a teeny bit - this cake is perfectly fluffy, and I love the spices in there so much.

I went all out autumn with the filling and buttercream too - using Gala apples, cooked down with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, until nice and tender, and paired with a maple caramel buttercream, which might be my new favourite thing ever. I made a caramel by cooking down some maple syrup, then cutting it with butter and cream, the way a traditional caramel is made. The caramel is a little looser than a sugar based caramel, but has the most amazing maple flavour. I doubled up on the maple in the buttercream by making a pastry cream base using the maple, which I turned into a German Buttercream, and then whipped in some of the cooled maple caramel to make a super silky, smooth, maple caramel buttercream, that complimented the warm spices in the cake and the spiced apple filling so perfectly.

A few wee tips:

  • I finished this two different ways, just to give some options and variations! The first I finished with a caramel drip using some of the leftover maple caramel before I put the blobs on the top of the cake. The caramel is a little more runny than a traditional caramel because it is made with maple rather than regular sugar, so it will be a little drippy. Make sure that your cake is super super cold before you do the drips so that they do not run too much - I was shooting a stop motion when I added my drips so had to do it all in one go and put the drips directly onto a warm cake - they still looked great, but they ran down the sides a little more than most drip cakes.

  • The second way I finished it was just with a quick dust of cinnamon. I left the drip off - there’s maple caramel in the buttercream so the drip is just for a little fancy finish if you like. I just wanted to show you a couple of options!

  • Ideally you can make your pastry cream and maple caramel (and maybe even the apple filling) the day before so that it all has time to cool down and allow the caramel and the pastry cream to thicken up. If I can, I like to make all my components ahead of time (including the cake), so that the day I assemble is easy and there isn’t too much waiting around for things to cool down.

  • I like to divide the batter between the pans by weight. To do this, you zero the scales with one of the empty cake pans on it, then once you have eyeballed your dividing of the batter, you can weigh each pan to ensure that they have the same weight of batter in them. Note that this only works if your cake pans are identical.

  • I developed this recipe in grams, so if you can, use a scale to make it! It increases the accuracy of the recipe, and saves so much time washing dishes!

 

 

Spiced Brown Sugar Cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream

- Makes one three-layer, six inch cake -

Prep time: 60 minutes, plus chill time
Bake time: 30 minutes

Spiced Brown Sugar Cake
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
165g (2/3 cup plus 1 tsp) whole milk, at room temperature
70g (1/3 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
300g (2 cups) Baker’s Corner All Purpose flour
100g (1/2 cup) Baker’s Corner Granulated Sugar
125g (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp) Baker’s Corner Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baker’s Corner Baking Powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Stonemill Ground Nutmeg
3/4 tsp Stonemill Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Stonemill Ground Allspice
1/2 tsp Stonemill Ground Cloves
175g (1/2 cup plus 4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Maple Caramel
480g (1 1/2 cups) Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
110g (1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp) heavy cream
35g (1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp) corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp kosher salt
70g (4 1/2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Spiced Apple Filling
900g Gala Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
100g (1/2 cup) Baker’s Corner Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Maple Caramel German Buttercream
100g (1/3 cup) Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
100g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp) heavy cream
90g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
340g (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g (1 cup) cooled maple caramel (weigh this if you can)

Leftover Caramel to drip on cake, optional
Cinnamon to sprinkle, optional

 

- PROCESS -

SPICED BROWN SUGAR CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease three 6” cake pans, and line with parchment paper on the bottom.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, milk, and sour cream.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Mix briefly to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the butter a cube at a time, until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like sand.

Add half of the wet ingredients into the mixer. Mix until just combined, then add the second half of the wet ingredients. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give a few folds with a rubber spatula to ensure that no dry ingredients remain.

Divide the batter between your three cake tins (I prefer to do this by weight - see notes). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in their pans, then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

MAPLE CARAMEL

Place the maple syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Place the heavy cream, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and heat over low heat just to warm.

Over medium heat, cook the maple syrup, stirring frequently with a whisk, until it registers 250°f / 121°c on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat, and add the butter, whisking to combine, then add the heavy cream mixture, and whisk until incorporated. Transfer to a container and allow to cool, then place in the fridge and allow to cool completely.

SPICED APPLE FILLING

Place the chopped apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla into a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Do not worry if it looks dry to begin with - the apples will release some of their moisture as they start to cook down.

Transfer to a container and allow to cool completely. Store in the fridge.

MAPLE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, egg, egg yolk, corn starch, and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, milk, and vanilla to just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Once all of the butter has been added and the mixture is homogenous, add in the caramel and whip on high speed until incorporated. Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for 2-3 minutes to help remove any air bubbles.

ASSEMBLY

Level off the cake layers. Transfer some of the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip - this will be used to make a buttercream dam to hold in the spiced apple filling.

Secure one of the layers of cake to a cake turntable or cake stand using a little buttercream. Add about 1/3 cup of buttercream onto the first layer of cake, and smooth using an offset spatula. Create a buttercream dam using the buttercream in the piping bag by piping a ring of frosting around the outside edge of the first layer. Fill in the ring with spiced apple filling - strain the filling with your spoon, leaving the liquid behind. Place the second layer of cake onto the first, pressing very lightly to secure, and sealing the joins with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat the layering process - add a 1/3 cup of buttercream, make a dam, fill with apple filling, then top with the third layer of cake - I like to put this one upside down to ensure that the top of the cake is flat. Return the rest of the buttercream in the piping bag to the bowl with the buttercream.

Coat the outside of the cake with a layer of buttercream using an offset spatula, then, using a cake scraper, smooth off the sides, exposing some of the cake for a semi naked finish, or covering the whole cake for a more solid finish (if you do this, I recommend crumb coating the cake, chilling briefly, then adding on another layer of buttercream). Smooth off the top edge of the cake using an offset spatula, wiping between strokes.

Add a caramel drip to the top edge of the cake if desired (see notes about caramel consistency). Transfer some of the remaining buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a French star tip such as an ateco #865. Pipe blobs of buttercream on the top of the cake.

Chill the cake until ready to serve. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge

Spiced Brown Sugar cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling and Maple Caramel German Buttercream. This layer cake screams fall - a cozy brown sugar spice cake is layered with a cinnamon apple filling and a maple caramel german buttercream, then finished with a maple salted caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon. This is the perfect fall inspired layer cake #autumncake #applecake #layercake

Apple Butter Macarons with Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream


 
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron

For the last couple of years, we have been part of a CSA. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” - essentially a farm upstate grows all the produce, then each week drives a truck down to drop off shares to a bunch of different CSAs. You pay at the start of the year, and then get to pick up seasonal veggies for 22 weeks! Each week is slightly different. It’s a great way to meet people, and the produce is always amazingly fresh. I became part of the volunteer group that runs it a few years ago - we each take turns running the pick-ups.

Anyway, where I am going with this is that I ran the pick-up last week, in the middle of a storm. I froze my wee fingers off, but it ended up being incredibly worth it, because due to the storm a bunch of people didn’t pick up, so I came home with a GIANT crate of apples. Like, crate that they use in the orchard. It’s way more apples than I know what to do with, so I’m going to get to it this weekend making some apple butters and pies so that we have them on hand in the freezer.

I popped round to Jase’s yesterday and we made these apple macarons! We filled them with an apple butter, and a swiss meringue buttercream which we spiked with vanilla bean, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. You can’t really get any more autumn than that. Fall AF.

A few wee tips:

  • I have included notes to make apple butter (which is really just reduced apple sauce!) in both the instant pot and the slow cooker. You may or may not have to reduce down the mixture using the slow cooker - it depends on your apples. You are looking for a thick apple puree or sauce consistency. Remember that it will thicken in the fridge slightly!

  • Using the instant pot you will have to reduce it more because the water does not evaporate. You can do this on the saute function, however I find this a little inconsistent in heat delivery, so prefer to switch it to the pot.

  • The Apple butter needs to cool down before it can be used - overnight is ideal. You will be left with extra - but it is amazing on toast or baking!

 

 

Apple Butter Macarons with Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Apple Butter
960g (2 pounds) apples, cored and diced
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Maroon gel food colouring (we used maroon by americolor)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup (123g) egg whites, or 4 large egg whites
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

 

- PROCESS -

APPLE BUTTER

Combine all the ingredients in the pot of an instant pot. Seal and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Blend well using a stick blender or high powered blender, and transfer to a medium sized pot over low heat. Cook down for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently, until the apple butter has reduced to a thick paste (It will thicken slightly in the fridge). Transfer to a covered container and cool in the fridge completely.

Alternatively, to make the apple butter in the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours, until the apples are very soft. Blend either with a stick blender or a high powered blender. If the mixture is still reasonably runny (this will depend on the moisture content of your apples), transfer to a pot over low heat. Cook down, stirring frequently, until the apple butter resembles a thick paste. Transfer to a covered container and cool completely in the fridge.

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add maroon gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. 

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

SPICED SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small french star tip. 

ASSEMBLY

Place the apple butter into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the compote in the middle. Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron