This is the first of four articles about wacky things to do with tortillas! I know it sounds crazy, but they taste great and perform an important function in these recipes. First up: WACKY TORTILLA APPLE PIE!
Autumn is finally here to stay and “foodies” are enjoying all of its bounty, especially the hundreds of different kinds of delicious apples we can get right here in our own state of Michigan. Of course, the quintessential American dish to prepare with them is pie, but I don’t see younger people making them too much anymore because they’re afraid of making the crust. It also makes such a mess in the oven if – no when – they overflow! I hear complaints that the apples always turn brown, that the bottom crust never cooks through and that it’s too hard to “crimp” the pie. For all of you who are afraid to make pie, here are the simple solutions to all of those problems.
Indestructible Crust! (Honestly! This one is so easy to handle and to roll out.)
2 cups All Purpose or Whole Wheat Flour, + a little flour to spread on your counter
¾ cup whole, cold unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup very cold water
Egg Wash (For the top of the pie): 1 whole egg whipped with 2 egg yolks
To make it:
1. Place the flour in a bowl. 2. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut it into little pieces using a knife. Let them fall all over the flour. Press the flour and butter together between your fingers and your thumbs until the mixture is all worked together, like little peas. 3. Add the water a little at a time, working the dough with your hands until it forms a ball. Dump it out on the counter and cut it in half. Wrap each piece in plastic and put it in the fridge while you are preparing your apples.
For the Pie Filling, you will need:
6 cups tart apples (5 or 6 large apples)
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, Juice squeezed from one fresh lemon
6 small flour tortillas, but into little matchsticks, 1/8” X ¼”
1 Tablespoon butter for greasing a 10” pie plate and 2 Tablespoons butter for “dotting” the top of the pie filling.
To make it:
- Put the sugar, lemon juice, spices and tortilla matchsticks in a large bowl.
- Quarter and peel the apples one at a time. Cut into thin slices and drop them into the sugar as you are cutting. After each apple, stir them in.
- Lightly grease your pie plate with a little butter. Take the two balls of dough out of the fridge and roll them out. Place one in the pie plate and put in the apples. Press them down and dot the filling with butter.
- Roll out the top crust, lay it over the top and press the edges together with a fork. Trim the dough if necessary.
- Make the egg wash by whipping the eggs together with a fork. Using a pastry brush, carefully “paint” the pie all over. Wherever you “paint” the pie will turn a nice, golden brown and wherever you don’t it won’t. Make sure there are no egg puddles or they will cook like scrambled eggs on top of your pie!
- Place the pie on a cookie sheet with sides to catch any run off and then on the bottom rack of your oven, (preferably on a hot pizza stone). Bake at 375⁰F for about an hour, or until the pie is golden brown and cooked through. 7. Cool and serve!
Here’s why this works: The lemon spikes up the flavor of the apples, the tortillas absorb the juice and give your pie a rich Umami (hearty) taste and help to keep it from overflowing. When more juice stays in the pie, the better it tastes! Dropping the apples directly into the sugar and coating them will keep them from turning brown. Placing your pie in the bottom of the oven helps the bottom crust cook through because it’s closer to the heat source.