If there's one thing we find more welcoming than the crack of cocktail ice, it's the cozy aroma of freshly baked pie. That's why, every March 14th, we infuse everyone's favorite mathematical constant with a few healthy dashes of Hella bitters. Happy Pi Day!
Hella Citrus Bitters work from within to unlock a completely new dimension to pastries and dessert. It's a must-have for any cocktail bar but a secret weapon for home chefs. Try it in the whipped cream too. Your guests won't know what hit them. Recipe warmly contributed by our friend The Judy Lab.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) Pie
Recipe & Photo Contribution by: The Judy Lab
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 double crust, vodka pie crust recipe, also on my website
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling pastry
- 2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoons Hella Citrus Bitters
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt, such as sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 (about 3 1/2 lbs) medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced on mandolin
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes and frozen
- Place Baking Steel in the middle rack of your oven. Preheat oven 500 degrees F. Preferably preheat for 30 to 60 minutes. In a small bowl beat egg with heavy cream; set aside.
- Prepare the vodka pie crust recipe, cut in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Shape one-half into a flat round disk and shape other half into a narrow flat rectangle. Let dough rest 20 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. Note: If you plan to make a similar cable knit design, you may need additional dough.
- Let the dough come to room temperature for 5 minutes before rolling out to prevent cracking. On a lightly floured surface, roll out round disk to a thickness between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch. Keep dough moving and apply flour as needed to prevent it from sticking. Gently roll onto rolling pin and transfer to pie dish. Trim with scissors or a knife along the rim leaving a 1/2-inch border. Note: Be careful not to stretch the dough or it will just shrink back.
- Cut second rectangular pie dough in half lengthwise. Roll one-half of dough (A) to 9-inches in length and 1/4-inch thick. Roll remaining dough (B) to 9-inches in length and 1/8-inch thickness. Work quickly to prevent the dough from getting warm. If needed, place them in the fridge to firm up during the process.
- Dough A: Use a ruler or flexible cutting board to cut long even strips. For a square edge braid, cut into 1/4-inch strips with a sharp paring knife. Braid together keeping both ends loose; transfer to a sheet pan. Cut dough into six 1/4-inch strips and roll against floured board to round edges. Repeat braiding technique and transfer to the sheet pan, keep in the fridge while you roll the remaining dough. Dough B: Cut four 1-inch strips. Loosely twist 2 pieces together to create a cable knit effect and repeat; transfer to the same sheet pan. Cut three diamonds from any leftover dough and score with a knife in a diagonal direction. Roll four balls of dough and flatten slightly to create 4 small buttons; score with a curved fork to mimic a leather football button. Fashion was my background if you couldn't tell. Transfer sheet pan back to the fridge. NOTE: If you are having trouble with the dough breaking while braiding, it might mean the butter pieces are too large or dough is too warm. But even if the pastry is made properly unfortunately sometimes butter will create a weak point. As I mention, you may need more dough to execute this exact design. I tossed a few pieces along the way. Besides, practice makes perfect.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine zest of 2 Meyer lemons, 3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice, sugar, sea salt, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Fold in apples until well coated; sprinkle 3 tbsp flour and toss again. Transfer apple mixture into the pie dish, try to keep the mixture even. Scatter frozen butter cubes evenly all over the apples.
- Remove sheet pan with pastry from the fridge. Start in the middle and place cable knit pieces tightly next to each other. I find having too many gaps prevents the pie from cooking evenly. Trim pieces to fit within the pie dish. Fold edge of pie inward neatly and crimp together by pinching. Brush evenly with a light coating of egg wash. Adjust oven to 400 degrees F, gently place pie dish directly onto Baking Steel and bake until golden brown, about 1 hour. If necessary, rotate the pie for even baking. For best results, let pie cool for 4 to 6 hours before serving.