It’s amazing to think that in just a few short hours, it will be 2013. I JUST got used to writing 2012 on my checks, and now I’m going to have to start all over! This past year certainly did fly by.
I figure I’ll end Chew Nibble Nosh for 2012 on a sweet note, hoping it will inspire a wonderful year ahead for all of us. Also, I figured it might be a good fit since today is, for many people, “The Last Great Pig Out Day of the Holidays Before I Start my Diet”.
I came across this recipe in Cook’s Country magazine. If you’re not familiar with Cook’s Country, check it out when you can. It’s from the amazing, very thorough, talented people at America’s Test Kitchen, but it focuses on “honest-to-goodness American cooking”. It’s always a fun, nostalgic read, and every recipe I’ve ever tried from them has been great!
If you’re a dedicated reader of this blog, you know that I like to try new recipes and, occasionally, run across a great twist on a favorite. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try. Have you ever heard of Marlborough Pie?
I hadn’t, but after doing a little research, I found that Marlborough apple pie is actually an old-school (we’re talking pre-Civil War time) American pie. In this version, apples are shredded and cooked down in some butter, and then mixed into a rich, sherry-infused custard base, before baking. I also saw versions that called for applesauce instead of the shredded apples. Marlborough pie used to be a staple on American holiday tables, but has since, fallen out of fashion. After enjoying one yesterday, I can’t imagine why!
I started by prebaking a pie crust. I just used a store-bought crust, but feel free to go really old-school traditional and bake your own!
As the crust was baking, I shredded up four apples using the shredding disk on my food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate them by hand with a box grater. Once they were ready, I added them to a skillet with some melted butter and began to cook them down.
I cooked the apples slowly, over medium heat, for about 15 minutes, until the juice from the apples had cooked away and the pan was “dry”. Once they were ready, I removed the apples to a bowl and let them cool for about 20 minutes.
This worked out perfectly because my crust needed to cool for a bit as well.
Once everything was cool, I whipped up a quick custard base of some sugar, cinnamon, mace (The spice, not the threat deterrent. Mace gives the pie a subtle nutmeg bite. You could substitute nutmeg in a pinch.), salt, beaten eggs, a dab of heavy cream, some lemon zest, vanilla, and some dry sherry.
I stirred the cooled apples into the custard and poured it into the crust.
The pie baked just until the custard was set and the top started to brown, about forty minutes. I let the pie cool completely before we dove into it. (That was tough! It smelled delicious!)
This traditional, old-school, forgotten, gone by the wayside pie was a HUGE hit with my family. Emily said, “Other apple pies need to take notes from this pie.” and Avery declared it “THE best apple pie EVER!” It really was good.
The shredded apples still gave the pie that apple crispy bite you’re looking for in an apple pie, but mixed with that creamy, sweet, spiced custard…well, it was really something magical.
Here’s to a magical 2013 for all of you!
MARLBOROUGH APPLE PIE
Adapted from Cook’s Country
- 1 9-inch parbaked pie shell, cooled
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and shredded (2 cups)
- 2 Fuji, Gala or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and shredded (2 cups)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground mace (or substitute nutmeg)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 large eggs, beaten lightly
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 5 Tbsp. dry sherry (I used Golden Sherry, because my grocery was out of "dry". It worked perfectly.)
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Adjust the rack of the oven to the lower-middle level and heat the oven to 325*F.
- Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- Add the shredded apples and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid in the pan is gone and the pan is dry, and the apples have softened, about 12-15 minutes.
- Transfer the apples to a bowl and allow them to cool a bit, about 20 minutes.
- Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, mace and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the eggs, cream, sherry, lemon zest, and vanilla and whisk together until smooth.
- Add in the cooled apples and stir to combine.
- Pour the apple custard mixture into the cooled pie shell.
- Bake until the center is set, about 40 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before serving, about 4 hours.
- Can be made a day ahead and chilled.
- Serve with whipped cream.