I stopped in to Mack ~Aaron’s Apple Barn yesterday to pick up a bag of preservative-free dried apples. They dry their own apples and these taste just like the ones my grandmothers had quietly wrinkling on sheets in the back pantry. Slow air-drying apples creates a wonderful deep, rich flavor as the drying fruit concentrates all the residual juices into tart, slightly chewy, little bits of apple leather. As kids, I remember sneaking into the back pantry, dizzy with the aroma of drying fruit and stealing a handful of my grandmother’s carefully prepared apples.
I have to say, dried apples make the perfect apple pie. Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh apples as much as anybody, and a fresh apple pie with those crisp, juicy slices of apple suspended in that thick, syrupy filling is all but impossible to beat.
Dried apple slices, lightly spiced, cooked into a near apple sauce consistency and packed into a fresh flaky crust, just produces a much denser, immeasurably more intense flavored pie.
Especially as a fried pie…
|but, that’s another story….|
I’ve been playing around with a apple and custard recipe for a while now. I love the blend of textures of my grandmother’s Damson Plum Pie and I’ve been diligently trying to create an apple pie with that same rich custard-y goodness. I think I’ve finally done it.
Apple Custard Pie
Makes 1 9″ Pie
1 Readi-Made 9″ Deep Dish Crust
1-1/2 Cups Dried Apples
1 Cup Water
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mace
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk (As Always, I use Lactose Free Milk)
1 Teaspoon Tapioca Starch dissolved in 1 Tablespoon Water
2 Tablespoons Butter or Butter Substitute (like Smart Balance Heart Healthy)
1 Small Sauce Pan – With Lid
1 Medium Sauce Pan
- Preheat the oven to 375
- With the small pan on medium high heat, Add the apples, water, mace and allspice – Bring to a boil
- Reduce to medium low and cover – allow to simmer for 15 minutes, or until the slices are fully re-hydrated and begin to break down
- Place the crust in the oven and par bake for 15 minutes
- While the crust is cooking, Add the egg yolks, sugar, milk and nutmeg to the medium sauce pan and whisk together
- When the custard begins to steam, add the tapioca starch slurry and cook for 5 minutes – Do Not allow the custard to boil
- Remove the crust from the oven and spread the apple mixture in an even layer
- Place the pie on a cookie sheet and carefully pour all the custard on top of the apples
- Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, or until the custard is set.
- Remove and cool on a rack until just warm – slice and serve.
Note: the apple custard pie can also be chilled overnight and served cold.