Fall is the best time of year for making both sweet and savory dishes with apples. Because it’s harvest season, the largest variety of apples is available in grocery stores and farmers markets right now at very low prices. The recipes below include a very traditional apple pie with my mom’s special cream cheese pie crust, a new apple custard pie and a new braided bread stuffed with apples, chicken and sage. I hope you’ll try them all.
Braided Bread Stuffed with Chicken, Apples and Provolone
bread dough (makes two loaves)
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
1 1/3 cu Warm Water, about 110 degrees
1 tbl Brown Sugar
4 cu All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Olive Oil, plus additional oil to coat dough while proofing
3/4 lb Chicken Breast, very thinly sliced
2 med to small Firm Apples, like Granny Smith, peeled cored, thinly sliced and chopped
1 sm Onion, thinly sliced
1 tbl Fresh Sage, finely chopped
1 tbl Butter
1 tbl Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
4 oz Sliced Provolone, 6 thin slices
1 lg Egg, beaten
2 tsp Poppy Seeds
Mix yeast with the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the flour. Add 1/3 cup of the warm water. Stir to combine. Add olive oil and let rest for 10 minutes. Separately, mix remaining flour and salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and remaining water and combine into a dough. If dough is dry and not coming together, add water, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time until its fully combined. Knead dough for 10 minutes on a lightly floured board.
Pour an additional 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large bowl for proofing. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat all surfaces. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour until doubled in bulk. Punch down, divide in half and then use one half in this recipe. (You can make a second stuffed braided loaf with the remaining dough, or shape it into a simple loaf. If you make a simple loaf, place it in a bread pan, brush it with 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds on top. Let it rest for 30 minutes, then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it).
While dough is rising, heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add chicken and toss for 1 minute or until opaque on all sides. Add onions and toss again for an additional minute. Add apples and sauté for 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper and sage and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Remove mixture from heat let it cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured board to roughly a 12” square. Cut 1” strips 3 1/2” long down opposing sides of the dough. Lay three slices of provolone down the center of the dough. Once cooled, pile chicken and apple mixture on top of the cheese using a slotted spoon to leave most of the liquid in the pan. Top with remaining three slices of provolone.
Starting at one end, pull the strips up and over the filling, alternating form one side to the other so that strips looked weaved. Tuck the ends of the final strips under the loaf. Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a baking pad. Brush the entire surface of the loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface is golden brown. Remove from oven and let loaf rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Apple Custard Pie
1 Pie Crust (recipe below) 4 lg Firm Apples, like Granny Smith
1 tbl Butter
3/4 cu Sweetened Condensed Milk 1/2 cu Granulated sugar 1/2 cu Brown Sugar 3 lg Eggs 1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out pie crust and transfer it to a standard (or slightly deeper) 9” pie pan. Crimp edges of crust using your fingers. Place plan on a baking sheet and set aside.
Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add Apples and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Sauté until apples are tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of cinnamon over apples, stir and remove from heat. Allow apples to cool slightly and then puree in a food processor or blender until apples are as smooth as possible. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool fully.
Once apples have cooled, add granulated sugar and brown sugar and stir to combine. Add evaporated milk, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg and remaining cinnamon and blend well. Pour mixture into crust. Loosely tent the pie with aluminum foil that is domed high enough so that the filling won't come in contact with it during the cooking process.
Place pie into oven and bake for 50 minutes. Carefully remove the aluminum bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown and pie is set. Remove pie from oven and allow to cool. Pie will flatted out as it cools. Serve at room temperature. Also, try it with warm caramel sauce.
Mom's Pie Crust
(makes two crusts)
2 1/2 cu All Purpose Flour
3/4 cu Cold Margarine or Butter (12 tablespoons), diced
6 oz Cream Cheese, torn into small pieces
Cut margarine and cream cheese into the flour and mix together with your hands, breaking margarine and cream cheese down into smaller bits. Continue blending until the flour has been incorporated and dough holds together. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll each into a ball and flatten slightly. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for an hour. (Alternatively, you can put all ingredients in a large food processor and blend until they come together and form a ball).
2 Pie Crusts (recipe above)
6 med Apples
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cu Granulated Sugar
1/4 cu Brown Sugar
2 tbl All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
1 tbl Butter or Margarine
2 tbl Milk
Additional granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to sprinkle on top crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel, core, and thinly sliced apples. Mix with lemon juice. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Place one pie crust in a pie pan and allow edges to extend over the sides. Layer half of the sliced apples on crust. Top with half of the sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining apples and sugar. Dot the top with pieces of the butter.
Roll out second crust. Cut four to five teardrop shapes (about 1 1/2 inches long) around the center to vent pie as it cooks. Place crust over apple and sugar mixture allowing edges to extend over lower crust. Crimp two crust edges together using your fingers.
Brush the top with milk and lightly sprinkle sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon on top. Loosely tent pie with aluminum foil that is domed high enough so that the crust won't come in contact with it during the cooking process and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove aluminum and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.