Amazing Apple Pie

by Anh-Minh on October 23, 2015


Nine out of ten times, if there’s an apple pie on a restaurant’s dessert menu, I’m ordering it. I’m more of a pie than a cake person. And I have a feeling that I’m going to be giving Melina Hammer‘s latest recipe a try very soon—so I can practice and perfect this pie in time for the holidays. – Anh-Minh

It’s fall. My favorite time of year. I find it easy to fall in love with the nostalgia of time passing, and fall does it so well. The intensity of the season’s colors doesn’t hurt either.

I’m not sure about you, but there is much going on right now in my corner of the world. After almost three years in the deep south, I’m moving back north, next week. I’m also producing my first cookbook (stay tuned!). The gorgeous apples from this story were stowaways in my suitcase, from a backyard tree in Maine while I was on a lobster tour a few weeks ago. Worth it.

Reflecting on the passage of time, it’s been two whole years of me here, writing delicious recipes for you. Some favorites which come to mind … the bourbon mocha cake that was way over the top (and so perfect), done for Valentine’s Day a couple years ago. Then there was the amazing olive oil cake I did for last Valentine’s Day,  served with a blood orange and kumquat compote. Yes, this summer’s cold noodle salad was a huge hit—and for good reason. And winter’s Tuscan bean stew and quick cheesy breads have made themselves all-time winners.

Obviously I’m biased, but there has been a wealth of good eating these past two years together. And now I have an amazing apple pie to share. The shingled crust is a dazzling presentation, but you could make lattice or a regular double crust pie and it would be equally delightful. Either way, relish the cooler air and crisp apples gone all herb-spice brown-buttery in this preparation—an overall fantastic pie to sink your teeth into.

Rosemary-Brown Butter-Shingled Crust Apple Pie

for the filling

  • 3 lbs tart apples
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest; choose organic, since you’ll eat the skin
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated cinnamon
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
  • demerara sugar, to sprinkle

for the dough

{ Adapted from Melissa and Emily Elsen of Four & Twenty Blackbirds }

  • 3 3/4 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2  tsp organic cane sugar
  • 12 oz freezer-cold cubed butter
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ice water

I used to process my flour and butter in a food processor for ease. Feel free to do it that way if you are tight on time. Now, I make the extra time to cut the butter into the flour by hand. It’s not much longer really, and for the result, it’s totally worth it. Plus, I feel like I get to build my desire for the pie more while I work to incorporate the dough.

Make the dough: Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add butter and cut in using a pastry blender, scraping its edge with a knife occasionally to free any clumps that form. Keep at it until you are left with pea-sized bits of butter in the mix. Be careful not to overwork the dough. A few larger butter clumps are okay.

Pour water and vinegar together and add an ice cube or two. Drizzle a little at a time over the flour mixture and cut in. It will appear shaggy as it becomes more moist, and as you keep cutting it together, the dough will form. Pinch the dough with your thumb and index finger to see if it holds together. If it’s crumbly, it isn’t ready. Drizzle another tablespoon or so of the cider liquid and cut in again. Once the dough has formed, empty out into three equal portions on three pieces of cellophane.

Press opposing ends of the cellophane together to form the dough into a ball. Wrap securely and flatten dough into a disk. Repeat with remaining two dough piles, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to let them mellow.

Make the filling: Peel, core, and cut apples into wedges. Squeeze lemon juice to coat in a large bowl, mixing the juice and apple slices together to prevent from browning. Add zest, flour, salt, sugars, nutmeg, cinnamon, and rosemary, and stir to combine. Set aside while you make the brown butter.

In a light-colored sauté pan—so you can monitor the change in color as it browns—melt butter over medium heat. Let it foam and give it a swirl every so often to ensure it is cooking evenly. The process should take about 7 minutes; pay attention to the milk solids which settle at the base of the pan as you don’t want them to get burnt. Once you smell the nutty aroma and the butter has turned caramel-ly, remove pan from heat. Pour brown butter and solids over the apple mixture and stir together to combine. If the milk solids are burnt, you may choose not to add them. Once cool enough to taste, try a little bit and see if you like the flavor, and then decide. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

Roll the dough: For the bottom crust, roll out one disk of dough to about 1/8-inch thick, between pieces of lightly floured parchment. Peel away one sheet of parchment, drape dough into an 8-inch diameter pie plate using the second sheet of parchment to transfer the dough, then peel it away. Trim edge flush with pie plate, save scraps to re-roll, and chill. You can do this a day in advance.

Roll out the other two disks to 1/8-inch thick using the same method with parchment. Transfer dough on parchment to baking sheets and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or freezer for 10).

Working with one segment of dough at a time, use a flour-dusted cookie cutter to cut shapes. Gather scraps to re-roll as needed, and refrigerate cutouts on a baking sheet as you go. If at any time the shapes start to stretch or you don’t get a clean cutout, refrigerate the dough.

You’ll need at least 32 cutouts—depending on the size of your cookie cutter—for the shingled crust. Keep cutouts refrigerated until time to use. This can also be done a day in advance.

Drain sugar-butter mixture from apples into a saucepan and reduce by half. Add reduced syrup back to the apple mixture and stir to combine. Reducing the liquid will create a sumptuous pie, rather than a watery one.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Fill pie shell with syrup-spice-apple mixture, slightly mounding the fruit at the center. Lightly brush pie edge with water. Lightly brush water on back of shapes, as you go. Start at outside edge, layering dough shapes like shingles, lightly brushing their reverse sides and pressing gently to seal them together.

Once you have made one ring of shingles, layer a second ring in the same fashion. Continue until only a small opening remains at the top.  Brush beaten egg over the surface of the dough and scatter demerara sugar to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours. The colder your pastry, the more assurance you have that it will stay put once met with the heat of the oven!

Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes at 400°F, just so crust begins to brown. Lower heat to 350°F and continue baking until crust is golden all over and juices bubble, about 55 minutes more.

Cool completely on a wire rack and serve with crème fraîche or ice cream. Pie will keep for 2 days unrefrigerated, wrapped in foil, and up to 1 1/2 weeks in the refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

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{ Recipe and Photography by Melina Hammer for Anthology Magazine }


Goods from Herriott Grace

by Anh-Minh on October 22, 2015

hg_kitchenbowlsWith the final issue of Anthology coming out this month, I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic, thinking about the various people we’ve featured in the magazine over the past five years. In Issue No. 3/Spring 2011, we profiled Nikole Herriott and her father, Lance. They live in different cities in Canada—Toronto, ON, and Victoria, BC, respectively—and collaborate long-distance on a line of gorgeous products under the moniker Herriott Grace.

Since we published the story, Herriott Grace has expanded beyond wooden goods that Lance handcrafts, with wares from other talented makers as well. With the holidays—and entertaining season—fast approaching, I’ve got my eye on quite a few items. I mean, how awesome are the cloud cookie cutters?!


{ All images via Herriott Grace }


{Online Preview} Issue No. 21

by Anh-Minh on October 16, 2015


As soon as we came across the home of Megan Griswold—our cover story for Issue No. 21/Fall 2015—we knew it would be a perfect fit for our final release, which focuses on forward thinkers. Megan is a writer and designer who resides in a yurt in Wyoming. However, with a modern interior that includes a kitchen outfitted with 800 pounds of Carrara marble, it shattered any notions we previously had about yurt living.

Admittedly, there was a bit of added pressure putting together this issue since it’s our last. We’re thrilled with the people and places featured in Issue No. 21, and we hope you enjoy their stories as much as we do. The magazine will be arriving in mailboxes and on store shelves soon. In the meantime, we’re sharing a sneak peek—just a small sampling of the content.

{ Cover photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy }


Karolin Schnoor Calendar

by Anh-Minh on September 30, 2015

ks_1I’ve been receiving PR emails regarding holiday products for weeks now. And while I don’t like to rush this part of the year—fall is my favorite season—one thing I do like to consider well in advance is my calendar. That’s because in the past, I’ve made the mistake of procrastinating and then the calendar I want ends up selling out. *sigh*

Well, that won’t be happening this year! London-based Karolin Schnoor recently let me know that she’s now accepting pre-orders for her 2016 calendar, which features a hand-drawn illustration and type. (Regular Anthology readers may recognize her work; Karolin has done illustrations for the print magazine.) I love that her design is a single-page calendar, so the entire year is all right there in front of you. No page-flipping required. And the black-and-white palette means it will work in any decor, which is especially great if you decide to pick one up as a gift.

Be sure to browse the rest of her online shop, which offers additional prints and other paper goods. You know, in case you aren’t quite ready to start thinking about 2016 yet! (But I should warn you: Karolin’s 2014 and 2015 calendars sold out. So get one while you can!)


{ Top image via The Future Kept; all other images via Karolin Schnoor }


The Durham

by Anh-Minh on September 23, 2015

thedurham1Yesterday was a great mail day for me, with the latest issues of Garden & Gun and The Local Palate arriving. (If you’re not familiar with the magazines, they focus on Southern living and food culture.) I travel to South Carolina at least once a year—my in-laws live there—but my time in North Carolina has been limited to pretty much the Charlotte airport. G&G‘s article on the South’s most stylish new hotels and TLP‘s on “Gourmet Getaways” has me thinking I need to explore the Tar Heel State.

And I know exactly where to start: The Durham, a boutique hotel housed in a mid-century modern landmark building that dates back to the 1960s and was previously a Home Savings Bank. I became familiar with the property a couple of months ago (they stock Anthology in their newsstand) but the write-ups in TLP and G&G—the latter mentions that the on-site restaurant is run by James Beard Award-winning chef Andrea Reusing and the interiors are the work of Commune Design—has moved this North Carolina destination toward the top of my must-visit list.

Mmm … fried chicken on the rooftop lounge …

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{ Photos via The Durham }