It's almost time for the miniature princesses, monsters, witches and pirates of your neighborhood to come ringing your doorbell, seeking sweet treats. Once the kids are in for the night, having abandoned their costumes and inventoried their bounty, there's no reason that adults can't enjoy a slice of freshly baked apple pie and a glass of dessert wine, a grown-up sweet reward that reflects the best of autumn.
To get you started, we've put together a short list of recently rated dessert wines to pour with any number of sweet confections.And, as a sweet-enough antidote to the artificially flavored and colored candies that the kids love, try our classic apple pie recipe. If you're planning to supplement your apples for the pie filling with the ones that the well-meaning neighbors gave your trick-or-treating children as they made their rounds, make sure they're of a hearty, aromatic and tart variety, like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Royal Gala. And if you're in a time crunch, you can always use two 9-inch circles of prepared frozen pie dough.
Note: Fully assembled, unbaked pies can be frozen up to one month.
Ingredients for basic pastry dough:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 3 tablespoons chilled shortening or lard, cut into pieces
• 2 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
• 1 large egg
• 3 tablespoons granulated or confectioners' sugar
Ingredients for apple pie filling:
• 1 large egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
• 4 tablespoons plain cracker or cornflake crumbs (optional)
• 1/3 to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (depending on the tartness of the apples)
• 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• Pinch of salt
• Juice of 1 large lemon
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 6 to 8 apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
• Granulated sugar or milk, for glazing (optional)
Instructions for basic pastry dough:
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, butter and shortening. Using a pastry blender, fork or cold fingers, work the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
2. Add the water, egg and sugar. Work the mixture into a dough, being careful to avoid overmixing. Add more water if the dough seems too dry. (It should be pliable but not sticky.)
3. Transfer the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Form into two disks, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap each in a sheet of plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated up to four days, frozen up to six months.) Allow refrigerated dough to come to room temperature before using. Makes enough pastry for one 9-inch double-crust pie.
Instructions for filling and baking pie:
1. If baking the pie right away, preheat oven to 425° F, with racks placed in the lower third and middle of the oven. Roll out the smaller pastry disk into a 12-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie dish with the dough, trimming the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch beyond the pie dish. Brush the dough with some of the egg white using a pastry brush, and sprinkle it with the crumbs, if using.
2. Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice and butter in a mixing bowl. Add the apple slices, and toss to coat. Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pan. Brush egg white over the rim of the dough.
3. Roll out the larger pastry disk into a 12-inch circle. Fit the disk over the fruit. Trim the overhanging dough to 3/4 inch beyond the pie dish. Fold the edges of the top circle under the edges of the bottom circle, and pinch the edges together to seal, forming a raised rim all around. Flute the edges, if desired. Alternatively, you can slice the top circle into 1-inch strips and weave them to make a lattice top. Fold and seal the edges as directed above. (At this point, the pie can be frozen. Skip to step 4b when ready to bake.) Cut steam vents by making small slits in the top crust and a hole the size of a dime in the center. Brush the top of the pie with egg white, and sprinkle with granulated sugar or brush with milk, if desired.
4a. Place the pie on the bottom rack in the oven, and bake 11 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° F, move the pie to the center rack, and bake until the crust is golden-brown and the fruit is tender when pierced with a fork through a vent hole, 40 to 45 minutes. Cover the edges with aluminum foil if they start to overbrown before the filling is done.
4b. If the pie is frozen, brush the top of it with egg white, and sprinkle with granulated sugar or brush with milk, if desired. Bake the frozen pie in the lower third of a preheated 450° F oven for 20 minutes total, cutting steam vents in the top crust at the 10-minute mark. Lower the heat to 350° F, and place the pie on the center rack. Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the filling is tender when pierced with a fork through a vent hole. Cover the edges with aluminum foil if they start to overbrown before the filling is done baking.
5. Cool the pie on a wire rack. Serve warm, as is or topped with vanilla ice cream for apple pie à la mode. Serves 6 to 8.
|FEILER-ARTINGER Ruster Ausbruch Burgenland Pinot Cuvée 2004||93||$40 / 375ml|
|Dripping with honey, butterscotch,
ripe peach and pineapple flavors, this is an unctuous, luscious sweetie.
Smoke and spice fill the rich finish. Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Drink
now through 2017. 166 cases made.|
|CHAMARRÉ Jurançon Tradition 2003||92||$14|
|Very creamy, lush and exotic-tasting,
with rich and decadent tropical fruit flavors of mango, pineapple and
roasted plantain. Finishes with loads of butterscotch and spice. Drink now
through 2012. 5,000 cases made.|
|HEIDI SCHRÖCK Beerenauslese Burgenland 2005||92||$32 / 375ml|
|Powerful, with loads of peach,
mineral, smoke and spice flavors. The long, honeyed finish features notes
of butterscotch backed up by plenty of acidity. Welschriesling and
Weissburgunder. Drink now through 2017. 208 cases
|GERMAIN-SAINCRIT Coteaux du Layon Château de la Roulerie 2006||90||$25|
|A bright, stony style, with lively
quince, green apple, green almond and green plum flavors that bounce off a
floral background. Sweet yet ebullient, with a nice lingering finish.
Drink now through 2011. 1,500 cases made.|
|WILLI OPITZ Welschriesling-Scheurebe Beerenauslese Neusiedlersee Goldackerl 2005||90||$40 / 375ml|
|A creamy dessert white, with ripe
pear, red orange, chamomile and honey flavors followed by a long finish of
piecrust and spice. Drink now through 2015. 258 cases
|DE KRANS Ruby Port Calitzdorp Cape NV||87||$14|
|Light-bodied, with juicy raisin,
boysenberry and linzer torte flavors, backed by spice and plum cake notes.
Drink now. 4,000 cases