First, let me just state that I am not even a huge fan of bacon. Loud-mouthed bacon fanatics actually, really get on my nerves. Once Urban Outfitters started selling all of that bacon paraphernalia is when I began to lose interest…
Photo Credit: Dennis Lee | Serious Eats Chicago
However, after registering as a contestant in the 8th Annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest, I set out to bake a pie with some originality so it would at the very least, stand out. In the fashion of the many great, American, hell-raising women who came before me (Susan B Anthony, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, Madonna, etc.) I am proud to say I raised some much-needed controversy at the sweet-as-apple-pie contest.
I, of course, still wanted to uphold the integrity of a truly wholesome American Apple Pie, so please don’t be turned off by my super-star ingredients: Bacon, Butter and Whiskey – as *ahem* some snobby, judges were…
Here are the ingredients you will need for my TRULY-SPECTACULAR-ASS-KICKING-NO-SISSIES-ALLOWED-PUNK-ROCK apple pie – aptly named, Glutton for Punishment.
Ingredients will make 1 pie. Set aside 2 hours of your life (plus two while your dough chills)
Preheat Oven to 375.
Just a few ingredients, right?
2.5 Cups Flour
1 TBSP Sugar
1 TSP Salt
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter (very cold!)
1 cup very cold, icy water
1 lbs. Maple Bacon (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
3 Granny Smith Apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced.
3 Honeycrisp (or Pink Lady) Apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced.
(you can dunk them in Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice so they don’t start to brown. Rinse in water just before sauteing)
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Pinch of Nutmeg
1 Pinch of Cinnamon (I used fresh, ground cinnamon of the stick variety)
1 Pinch All-Spice
16 Cinnamon Graham Crackers (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1 Stick of Butter
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 Shots of Whiskey (I used Maker’s Mark)
Food Processor, Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice, Dough Cutter, Peeler, Rolling Pin, Clean Surface to roll out your dough, Extra flour for your work surface, 1 raw egg, 1 tbsp water (Egg Wash)
“Time to make the dough”
Cube 2 sticks of cold butter into roughly, 1 inch cubes. Store immediately in the fridge once you have done this.
Crisp your bacon in a skillet and then blot with paper towels to remove the excess grease. You do not want the grease in your buttery crust!
Use a food processor to crumble your cooked bacon. Again, the bacon flavor in the crust is meant to be subtle, not overpowering.
Combine your flour, sugar and salt in your mixing bowl – mix.
Get your butter out of the fridge and sprinkle the cubes into the dry ingredients as you continue to mix.
Slowly add that 1 cup of very cold, icy water as you keep an eye on your butter cubes. You want to see the speck of butter, don’t mix them too well.
Slowly add your crumbled bacon bits and make sure they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Remove the dough and flatten it out with a clean pair of hands, cut it in half with your dough cutter (or big knife) and wrap each mound in plastic wrap. Keep it on a plate in your fridge and chill it for at least one hour, preferably two.
While you wait for the dough to get chilly, begin to prepare your crumble and the filling.
Process your graham crackers so they are breadcrumb texture.
Begin melting 1 stick of butter in your saucepan and stir in the rest of the crumble ingredients, adding the whiskey shots last.
After your apples have been peeled, cored and sliced, add them to a sauté pan or stock pot.
Add your Maple Syrup, Salt, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and All-Spice.
Cook on medium heat until the apples just start to soften. I like it when the apples still have a slight crunch to them. They will still bake, under the crust, in the oven.
Toss your sautéed apple slices in the Whiskey Crumble and set aside.
Now, assuming it has been one to two hours, begin rolling out your dough…
Roll out your pie dough…mess up your kitchen.
On your clean, sterile, floured work surface, using your floured rolling-pin, begin to flatten out one mound of dough to the best circular shape you can muster.
Gently press into the sides of a lightly greased pie pan and then add your filling. Trim the excess from the edge.
Now, do the same with your other mound of dough – your top crust of the pie.
You can make a lattice top (shown here) or a more conventional top. If you go for the full-on, roof coverage just make sure you add some ventilation.
A thick, hearty lattice crust for a thick, hearty apple pie.
Concerned with the amount of time I had to work with, I opted for the traditional full-coverage crust for the contest. I think I might always regret this, just a little anyway; I try not to regret anything ever.
Once your pie looks pretty enough, brush the exposed crust with your egg wash. Feel free to sprinkle some raw sugar crystals on top, as well.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 375. Keep an eye on your crust – it should just start to look golden brown.
Take it out, let it cool – on a window sill, if possible. It’s much cuter that way.
Look at that pretty slice…
Pie No. 1 (of 2), cooling off…
Look how happy I was on my way to the contest! Little did I know my pie wouldn’t be considered “traditional” enough to place. Oh well, forget those apple pie purists…I was told, however, that it was one of the first pies to sell out so at least I helped raise some funds!
Apple Pie Contest! Yay!