The leaves add a special touch

The original Almond Apple Pie was not decorated with almond pasty dough; I realized I had unevenness after I placed the dough in the pan. I, of course was going to continue and blind bake the dough, but I obsessed about the aesthetic perception for the entire baking time. While the pie was cooling I thought if I could decorate the edge no one would be the wiser. I had seen a piece of pie with leaves embellishing the back side and thought that might work for my less then perfect pie crust.

There are many ways to leaf  the crust; at the time I owned a leaf push tool so I use it. Sydney loved the look and became a part of the tradition. In fact I changed the leaf  a few years past (to roll around the crust); As Sydney was attaching them I noticed she seemed off. She finally confessed the pie did not have the character she adored, I told her it would be fine and I liked the new look. DF had the same reaction as Sydney; needless to say I went back to the original design. It always amazes and delights me how special a family tradition becomes. Family tradition (even the ones we think are corny) seems to be the glue that keeps us together!

The leaves and ribbon apples add a special touch

The Leaves and Ribbon Apples:

The Leaf Dough:

  • 1-recipes Pâte Sucrée aux Amandes, one for the crust and the other for the leaves
  • 125 grams/ ½ -cup butter, cubed and cold
  • 62 grams/ ½ -cup icing sugar
  • 18 grams/1 egg yolk room temperature
  • 200 grams/1 7/8-cup pastry flour
  • 50 grams/1/2-cup almond flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 28-52 grams/ 2- 4 Tablespoons ice cold water
  • 30 grams/ 1 egg white
  • Leaf push out or fondant leaf cutter
Prepare your mise en place

Add only 28 grams/ 2 Tablespoons of water to the egg yolk, keep 2 Tablespoon in reserve

Follow the direction for the Christmas Apple Pie Dough.

Place the disk in the refrigerator for about 30 to 40 minutes

Roll the dough out to 1/8th inch thickness.

It is not necessary to roll the dough into a circle

Cut out the leaves, lay on a jellyroll or baking pan lined with parchment paper, and wrap the pan with plastic film. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to chill.

They almost look like sugar cookies

Bake at 220 degrees C/ 425 degrees F for about 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the leaves to cool, brush the edge of the cooked pie crust and the back of  each leaf (as you attach them, one at a time) with the egg white onto the filled pie. Overlap the leaves slightly, as you put them on, to give a unique look to the pie.
The Apple and Syrup:
3 granny smith apples, peeled
3 honey crisp apple, peeled
1/2- teaspoon cinnamon
2 pinches nutmeg, one for the apples and the other for the brown sugar
Pinch cloves
3-Tablespoons brown sugar
2-Tablespoon white sugar
The Juice and zest of 1 lemon
30 grams/ 2-Tablespoon Calvados
1-mandoline or japanese vegetable peeler
Prepare the apple ribbons and your mise en place.

While using my mandolin the handle broke; I finished with a japanese vegetable peeler

Peel each apple,place in lemon juice to prevent browning, and slice the apple 1/8th of an thick, with either a mandolin or

a Japanese vegetable peeler/ cutter.

JB Prince carries Japanese vegetable peelers

Try to keep the ribbons from breaking, place them in a bowl with cinnamon, white sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, and cloves. Allow the apples to macerate for a good hour. Strain the apples through a sieve with a clean bowl underneath to catch the juices.

In a saucepan place the brown sugar and grate a pinch of nutmeg over the sugar.

Freshly grated nutmeg smells like the holidays when heated with sugar

Add the juices from the apples; about 3/4-cup and reduce to a syrup. Add the Calvados, carefully flame the pan and simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the syrup over the apples. The apple ribbon strips should be overlapping each other in a circle beginning on the outer edge by the crust and work your way inside towards the middle. Use three ribbon strips to roll around to resemble a rose and place  the rose ribbons in the center. Now “glue” (attach) the leaves and sprinkle with sanding sugar for a glimmer effect.


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