What could be better than an apple pie with crisp, Granny Smith apples? Add some smoky bacon for an unexpectedly appealing taste.
This twist on the classic apple pie grew out of years of playing around with the original, first by adding nuts, then raisins, etc. I like to use a mixture of apples, such as a golden delicious, Braeburn and Gala, to get a mixture of textures as well as varying levels of tartness and sweetness. Of course, you can leave out the bacon, if the idea doesn't appeal.
4 slices bacon, preferably maple-cured or applewood-smoked (not pepper- or garlic-cured)
Sugar, to taste
Cinnamon, to taste
5-6 large pie apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste
4 slices candied bacon, cut into tiny strips
1/3 cup pecan pieces
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of flour
2 pie crusts
1 egg white
Sugar, for garnish
Sharp cheddar, for garnish, optional
For candied bacon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place bacon on a baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Turn bacon. Sprinkle more sugar and cinnamon on top. Continue baking until crisp, another 5 minutes. Remove to a rack over paper towels. Let cool. Crumble.
When ready to make pie, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
For filling: Prepare apples, toss with melted butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, bacon and pecans. Let sit while you roll out the pie crust.
Place bottom pie crust in pan. Fill with apple mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top and a pinch of flour you're using to roll out the crust on top. Then top pie with second crust. Fold top crust over bottom crust and crimp the two together using a fork or your finger. Cut vents into the top crust.
Mix egg white with small bit of water. Brush over top crust. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes more, until pie crust is golden brown and juices and bubbling through vents. Serve warm with melted cheddar on top, if desired.
Makes 1 pie.
From John Griffin