Have you ever looked at recipe, said to yourself, “That’s pretty strange,” and kept turning the pages of the cookbook.  And, then, repeatedly kept coming back to that temptation.

That’s what I did with this very interesting, a tad strange, but ultimately totally satisfying recipe.  I did not even mention it’s name to Suzen.  I just said to her, “Look at this.”

She looked, looked again, and then said to me, “Sounds great.”  She was right.

This recipe comes from Apple Pie Perfect by Ken Haedrich.  A true pie maestro, Haedrich has created a book with a bushel of apple pie recipes all worth sampling. Your only response can be to get your own personal bushel of apples and start baking away.

Jalapenos and apple pie, you ask?  How can that work? It does. This recipe uses jalapeno jelly [with optionally some diced jalapenos], and that gives you total control. Please take a test taste of your jalapeno jelly before you put in into this pie.  Jalapeno jellies come in three varieties.  There are the very mild types that just tingle your mouth.  There are the middle of the road types that bite back at you. And then, there are the ones that mean in a week the roof of your mouth will have replaced all those destroyed cells and you will will always be blessed with that  burning memory of the sweat forming on your brow just before you passed out. Be wise.

But, adroitly made, this pie is tantalizing.  Suzen and I have served it repeatedly to friends, announcing that it has a mystery ingredient. It’s rare for anyone to say, “Jalpeno.” Think of the jalapeno as just a warm form of cinnamon.  Put it in, bake the pie, get a scoop of French vanilla ice cream, and start the meal with dessert.

The recipe for the pie calls for a Best Butter Pie Pastry and that is included below, too.  Another reason to look at Haedrich’s book.

Teresa’s Apple and Jalapeno Tailgate Pie

Yield: 1 Pie

Crust

1                    Recipe Best Butter Pie Pastry, Refrigerated

Pie

8          Cups peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith or other tart, juicy apples
2          Tablespoons sugar
2          Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾         Cup jalapeno jelly, stirred to loosen
¼          Teaspoon ground cinnamon
2          Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-3       Tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno peppers [optional, check  the intensity of you jelly first]

Cornmeal Streusel Topping

¾         Cup all-purpose flour
¼         Cup fine yellow cornmeal
¾       Cup sugar
¼          Teaspoon salt
½         Cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut in ¼-inch pieces

Preparation

If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate it until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the pasty into a 13 ¼-inch circle with a floured rolling pin.  Invert the pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.  Center it, then peel off the paper.  Gently tuck the pastry down into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge.  Place the pie shell in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling, mix the apples, sugar, and lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl.  Add the jalapeno jelly and mix again.  Stir in the cinnamon and flour.   Mix in the jalapeno peppers, if using.  Set the filling aside for 10 minutes. 

Heat oven to 400° F. 

Turn the filling into the frozen pie shell.  Smooth the filling with your hands to even it out.  Place the pie on a large dark baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and bake on the center oven rack for 30 minutes.

While the pie backs, make the toping.  Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt n a food processor and pulse several times to mix.  Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients.  Pulse the machine repeatedly, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Empty the crumbs into a large mixing bowl and rub them between your fingers to make large, buttery crumbs.  Refrigerate.

After 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F.  Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading them evenly over the surface with your hands.  Tamp them down lightly.  Put the pie on the baking sheet back in the oven and bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, an additional 30 minutes.  Loosely cover the pie with tented aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes of backing if the top starts to get too brown.

Transfer the pie to a cool rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Best Butter Pie Pastry

Yield: 1 9” Pie Shell

Ingredients

1 ¾      Cups all-purpose flour
1          Tablespoon sugar
½         Teaspoon salt
½         Cup (1 stick) butter cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼- inch pieces
1          Large egg yolk
3          Tablespoons cold water

Preparation

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix.  Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients.  Pulse the machine repeatedly — 6 or 7 one-second bursts — until the butter is broken in a very small pieces.

Place the egg yolk in a 1-cup glass measure and add just enough of the water to equal ¼ cup liquid.  Using a fork, blend the water and yolk.  Remove the lid of the processor and pour the liquid over the entire surface of the dry ingredients.  Don’t, in other words, pour it into one spot.  Pulse the machine again, in short bursts, until the pastry starts to form large clumps.  Don’t overprocess, or the butter will start to melt rather than stay in small pieces.  Tear off a sheet of plastic wrap about 14 inches long and place it nearly.

Empty the crumbs n a large mixing bowl.  Using your hands, pack the dough as you would a snowball.  Knead the dough 2 to 3 times, right in the bowl.  Put the dough in the center of the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk about ¾ inch thick.  The edges will  probably crack slightly; just pinch and mold them back into a smooth disk.  Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

To mix by hand: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well.  Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and cut them in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the butter is broken into very fine pieces; the mixture will not be quite as fine as with the processor.  Blend the yolk and water as directed above.  Sprinkle about half of the liquid over the flour, mixing it in with a fork.  Life the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl and press down on the downstroke.  Add the remaining liquid a little at a time until the dough coheres.  You may need to 1 to 2 teaspoons more water.

 

Source: Apple Pie Perfect by Ken Haedrich