You Voted for Me!! $1000 went to Slow Food in Canada because this recipe won the contest!
Seriously, make the recipe, then choose! You will still vote me. This is a killer recipe, though I have to say, I detest competitions where the voters do not taste the food cooked by the participant. However, the BC Tree Fruits Great Apple Taste Off is also about supporting my local food supply and something I am very passionate about – with an added incentive: $1000 will go to the winner’s charity of choice. So, the recipe and the charity are important considerations when deciding who will get your vote in the BC Tree Fruits Great Apple Taste Off!
Win a luxury Okanagan getaway for 2 at The Cove Lakeside Resort
And…. (drum roll…) each voter is entered into a draw for the chance to win a luxury Okanagan getaway for 2 with a stay at Kelowna’s premier destination The Cove Lakeside Resort.
Collaboration is my mantra and competition is something I avoid. Yet, I am honoured to be participating in BC Tree Fruits Apple Month Campaign this year. The competition is stiff. The other participants are phenomenal. I am truly humbled.
“Apple Month is an initiative that dates back to the early 1960’s as a way to celebrate and promote locally grown fruit,” said Chris Pollock, Marketing Manager, BC Tree Fruits. “We are thrilled to engage such talented food leaders in the 2014 Apple Month campaign which will only strengthen our goals of educating consumers to buy local,” Pollock adds.
The Great Apple Month Taste Off showcases nine apple inspired recipes from some of Western Canada’s top food enthusiasts as they engage in the ultimate fruit battle:
- from Vancouver: Jillian Harris and Chef Faizal Kassam of Cibo Trattoria
- from Calgary: Author and Blogger Julie Van Rosendaal and Chef and Illustrator Pierre Lamielle
- from Edmonton: Food Educator and Writer Valeria Lugonja and Writer and Author Jennifer Cockrall-King
- from the Okanagan: Executive Chef Grant De Montreull of Bonfire Restaurant
In the winter months, BC apples are as local as it gets as our local farmer’s markets can still supply fresh apples from them throughout the winter. Did I say it is not about the winning (but, vote me!), but about supporting the local food supply? What would we do in the Alberta Prairies over the winter without BC Tree Fruits. I buy as often as I can from Steve and Dan who bring their pesticide free fruits in to the local Farmer’s Markets in the City. Edmonton is an apple city. There is no doubt about it. There are apple trees everywhere in the summer. Yet, the long cold winter months make it close to impossible for us to save these apples over the winter without preserving them. The Okanagan has a longer growing season and BC Tree Fruits has designated February as Apple Month the past few years as they have found a state of art way to preserve their apples that slows the ripening process down and enables us to have a nice selection of crisp apples year round on the prairies.
New to this kind of campaign, I chose a new recipe inspired by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen to investigate her recipe for an Almond Apple Tart. Through that process, I have created my own take on her recipe. There are significant changes in my recipe, but I would not have made this recipe without the inspiration from this post she submitted to The Canadian Food Experience Project.
Vanja loves apple pies. I love marzipan. Thus, this seemed like the perfect marriage for a great family recipe. However, almonds are not local. I will work to get my hands on the BC hazelnuts next year and make this recipe with them. That would be more local, particularly as we are traveling there again in the growing season and I can pick them up myself.
Next to tomatoes, apples are my favourite food. When I taught Foods Classes in Middle School, I started each fall with Knife Skills and an Apple Tasting and l highly recommend an apple tasting with your family if you have never done one. It is such fun and a great palate learning experience.
To make the best apple pies, using a variety of apples is key: a tart apple, a sweet apple, and an “appley apple” like the McIntosh is the perfect trio. The ability of the apple to hold its shape when baked is also important. That is why there are some apples better for cooking and some better for eating. The McIntosh apple turns to mush when baked; thus, although the flavour is desirable, the texture of the apple is not good for cooking. The Granny Smith apple is tart and lively and does stand up well to heat so is optimal for baking as it will hold the shape of the slice. The sweet apple I chose was the Gala. The tart Granny Smith with the “appley” McIntosh and the sweet Gala together offer the complexity of apple flavour across the spectrum of tart to sweet that I am seeking for this pie. The same trio also provide a satisfying texture profile as the Granny Smith will remain firm, the McIntosh will melt into the filling and the Gala will provide a softer contrast to the firm bite of the Granny Smith.
Mis en place for the Almond Pastry Crust.
Once mixed, this soft pastry needs to rest before being rolled and partially blind baked.
I do make my own marzipan or almond paste, but that is not necessary. You can easily purchase this and cut one cup of it into cubes to portion out over the bottom of the pie pastry before adding the apple filling.
Mis en place for the pie filling.
When I make an Old Fashioned Prairie Apple Pie, the sliced apples go into the lard pastry crust raw. As this is such a deep pie, the filling is cooked a little first.
Once the filling is prepared, it has to cool. The pastry has rested and it is now the time to roll it out and partially blind bake it. The almond topping needs to be made as the pastry cools. Once the pastry has cooled and is ready to be filled, the almond topping will be ready to go.
Above, the pastry is ready to be baked, and below it has just come out of the oven.
The almond paste cubes are layered on the bottom of the crust just under the apple filling and the deep dish apple almond pie is then topped with the toasted almond mixture ready for the oven.
Voilà! May I present the Deep Dish Apple Almond Pie for BC Tree Fruits Great Apple Taste Off 2014!
Another viewing from all angles. This recipe is all about the apples. Take a look at the photo of the slice below layered with a combination of BC Tree Fruit apples inviting you to take a bite.
And the taste? Not at all similar to a traditional cinnamon-infused flaky lard-pastry crust apple pie. There is really no messing with that kind of classic recipe at our house. Yet, this deep dish apple almond pie is a scrumptious celebration of the apple. The toasted buttery almond crunch topping together with the ooey-chewy marzipan base enclosed in the almond cookie pastry crust attempt to encase this exuberant apple filling. The almond elevates the lively appley flavour notes, yet the filling is an impatient festival of appley goodness showcasing the magic of this simple splendor in the midst of our Canadian winter.
Have I won you over now? (Vote here.)
Canadians are invited to visit applemonth.com starting February 1, 2014 to view the apple inspired recipes and vote for the one that best showcases the fruit and tops the taste buds! Online votes will determine which recipe wins while each voter is entered into a draw for the chance to win a luxury Okanagan getaway for 2 with a stay at Kelowna’s premier destination The Cove Lakeside Resort. The author of the winning recipe will also win $1000 to a charity of their choosing.
As part of February’s Apple Month consumers will notice additional displays of BC Tree Fruits apple varieties available at this time of year, including Ambrosia, Royal Gala, Spartan, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji.
So, VOTE! and VOTE me!
Deep Dish Almond Apple Pie
- ½ cup or g all purpose flour
- 1 cup or g almond meal (finely ground)
- ¼ cup of 60g granulated white sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon or 7.5g baking powder
- pinch or 1.5g salt
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter , cubed
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon or 5g vanilla bean paste , or vanilla extract, or the seeds scraped from ½ a vanilla bean
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
Apple Filling Ingredients:
- 1 cup homemade almond paste , cubed
- Scant 3 lbs baking apples (use a variety to enhance flavour: Macintosh for traditional apple flavour, Granny Smith for tartness and to maintain shape, Gala to add sweetness and depth)
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- zest and juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste , or vanilla extract, or the seeds scraped from 1/2 a vanilla bean
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey
- pinch salt
- 1 cup sliced almonds , toasted
In bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine first 6 ingredients until mixture resembles slow cooking oats
Whisk together the egg and vanilla
Pour egg mixture over the flour mixture and pulse until it begins to clump together Knead gently to gather into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours or overnight
Meanwhile, make the. almond paste
Preheat the oven to 400˚F
Roll chilled pastry into an 11-inch circle between two floured pieces of parchment paper: as this is a very sticky, delicate dough: parchment paper and flour are needed to successfully work this dough into a round
Peel off paper, as needed, and sprinkle dough with flour to ensure it doesn’t stick
Line 9-inch spring-form pan with pastry, pressing it about 1½ inches up the sides. (If the pastry tears, patch it )
Dock pastry with fork and chill until firm (about 15 minutes) in freezer
Line chilled pastry with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans; bake in preheated 400˚F oven for 15 minutes, until sides are set
Gently remove foil and weights; bake another 5 minutes, until bottom of pastry is dry
Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350˚F
Meanwhile, peel and core apples
Toss apple slices together with remaining apple filling ingredients
Cook mixture over medium heat for 5 – 7 minutes, until apples begin to release juice and “sauce” coating them is thick and transluscent (no longer floury)
Topping Instructions (prepare this only after tart shell is filled with apple filling):
Toast almonds (just a reminder)
In small saucepan, bring first 4 topping ingredients to a boil over medium heat
Boil without stirring for 2 – 3 minutes, then add sliced almonds and boil for another minute
Spoon almond mixture over the apples and spread evenly
Putting it all Together:
Chop almond paste into little bits and sprinkle evenly over bottom of par-baked pastry
Pour apple mixture over almond bits and spread evenly
Spoon almond topping mixture over the apples and spread evenly
Bake pie in preheated 350˚F oven for 40 minutes, until apples in the middle of pie are soft
Allow to cool to room temperature (or just slightly warm) before running a knife around the edge of the spring-form pan to loosen; remove sides of the pan
Cut into slices and serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of creme fraiche