by Judy Kim
Apple Cardamom Cable Knit Pie
Yield: 1 (9-inch) Pie
Happy Pie season! Between the Autumn air (sadly few and far between) and the Holidays upon us, it puts me in the mood for pie. I wanted a classic pie recipe with a little something special, and that something special is cardamom. I received some cardamom pods from my good friend's Lisa Seon and Andrew Black after their trip to India, plus I brought some back from Africa earlier this year. I'm going to have to do a lot more with cardamom the year. Not sure if grinding them fresh from the pod (which was kinda a pain, but smelled amazing) made a difference compared to buying ground cardamom, but it made me happy to have this spice brought from the other side of the world in my pie. It brings such a fragrance to a classic apple pie. I'm a very nostalgic person and I wanted to bring something unique to the Julie & Dan Resnick's FeedFeed x Simply Organic Friendsgiving at The Kitchen Table. A great night to be together with some of the wonderful local NYC food community, full of old and new friends.
Some of you know I get carried away with pie designs, hope you like this one. The Irish Cable Knit design was inspired by Aran Irish Sweaters. The origins go back many generations, each clan had a stitch that represented their family. They are the fisherman and farmers of the Aran Islands, just off the West coast of Ireland. This design I referenced is called Mahoney in case you're interested. It all stems from a little joke that the details on a birthday cake I made for my bestie Lola Gusman looked like a cross between Kate Moss' English Garden Wedding and an Irish Cable Sweater. Thus began the research of the Aran Irish Sweater history. We'll see if I can come up with several designs from different clans to turn this into a series. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile if you want to try and make a cable knit design pie, I've listed instructions below. Otherwise a classic full covered pie with a simple crimp will do, just don't forget to cut a few slits for steam.
I'm always trying to improve pie technique. Therefore I just recently re-wrote my Vodka Pie Crust recipe with some additional tips to make it fool-proof. The next improvement I wanted was the texture of the pastry. I heard from my friend Andris Lagsdin, owner of Baking Steel had he used his to bake pie in comparison to the traditional pizza. Something about making a crisper pastry, so I tried using the Baking Steel to bake a custard pie without blind baking with good results. But after some experimentation I loved how crisp the crust turns out by placing the pie dish directly on the steel for general baking. Note: I've only tested this with a pyrex dish, keep in mind it will be at resting on a steel holding 500 degrees F temperature, so just throwing out a bit of caution. I hope you'll try this cool science experiement. I'm going to try cast iron soon. It also helps reduce baking time a bit.
1 tbsp heavy cream
3 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling pastry
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen sea salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 (about 3 1/2 lbs) medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced on mandolin
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes and frozen
- Place Baking Steel in the middle rack of your oven. Preheat oven 500 degrees F. Preferably preheat for 30 to 60 minutes. In a small bowl beat egg with heavy cream; set aside.
- Prepare the vodka pie crust recipe, cut in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Shape one half into a flat round disk and shape other half into a narrow flat rectangle. Let dough rest 20 minutes or overnight in refridgerator. Note: If you plan to make a similar cable knit design, you may need additional dough.
- Let the dough come to room temperature for 5 minutes before rolling out to prevent cracking. On a lightly floured surface, roll out round disk to thickness between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch. Keep dough moving and apply flour as needed to prevent it from sticking. Gently roll onto rolling pin and transfer to pie dish. Trim with scissors or a knife along the rim leaving a 1/2-inch border. Note: Be careful not to stretch the dough or it will just shrink back.
- Cut second rectangular pie dough in half lengthwise. Roll one half of dough (A) to 9-inches in length and 1/4-inch thick. Roll remaining dough (B) to 9-inches in length and 1/8-inch thickness. Work quickly to prevent the dough from getting warm. If needed, place them in the fridge to firm up during the process.
- Dough A: Use a ruler or flexible cutting board to cut long even strips. For a square edge braid, cut into 1/4-inch strips with a sharp paring knife. Braid together keeping both ends loose; transfer to a sheet pan. Cut dough into six 1/4-inch strips and roll against floured board to round edges. Repeat braiding technique and transfer to the sheet pan, keep in the fridge while you roll the remaining dough. Dough B: Cut four 1-inch strips. Loosely twist 2 pieces together to create a cable knit effect and repeat; transfer to the same sheet pan. Cut three diamonds from any leftover dough and score with a knife in a diagonal direction. Roll four balls of dough and flatten slightly to create 4 small buttons; score with a curved fork to mimic a leather football button. Fashion was my background if you couldn't tell. Transfer sheet pan back to the fridge. NOTE: If you are having trouble with the dough breaking while braiding, it might mean the butter pieces are too large or dough is too warm. But even if the pastry is made properly unfortunately sometimes butter will create a weak point. As I mention, you may need more dough to execute this exact design. I tossed a few pieces along the way. Besides, practice makes perfect.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine zest of 2 Meyer lemons, 3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice, sugar, sea salt, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Fold in apples until well coated; sprinkle 3 tbsp flour and toss again. Transfer apple mixture into pie dish, try to keep the mixture even. Scatter frozen butter cubes evenly all over the apples.
- Remove sheet pan with pastry from the fridge. Start in the middle and place cable knit pieces tightly next to each other. I find having too many gaps prevents the pie from cooking evenly. Trim pieces to fit within the pie dish. Fold edge of pie inward neatly and crimp together by pinching. Brush evenly with light coating of egg wash. Adjust oven to 400 degrees F, gently place pie dish directly onto Baking Steel and bake until golden brown, about 1 hour. If necessary, rotate the pie for even baking. For best results, let pie cool for 4 to 6 hours before serving.
Do not use the convection setting on your oven for pies. It can cause over browning and dry out the crust.
You can use leftover dough for decorative cut outs. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Dip pie cutters or cookie cutters in flour and cut out shapes. Lay them evenly on a quarter sheet pan and layer using parchment paper. I didn't use any cut outs for this cable knit design, but you can keep these in the freezer for a future use. Highly suggest baking them off and adding them to a bowl of ice cream or berries and cream.