I had made a apple meringue pie previously, but there were a few small things that I wanted to improve upon. Tinkering is generally an iterative process, so here is the new and slightly improved version.
I have been watching Master chef and one of the challenges that came up was trifle. I have never eaten a trifle, or really even seen a trifle in real life. What I understood from the show is that it is a dessert with fruit in it. As far as an exact composition, it is hard to get an exact recipe, and it seems to be mostly because I think the layers vary depending on what people feel like putting in it (if this is incorrect, feel free to let me know in the comments below).
What I eventually determined is that it typically starts from the bottom with a sponge cake layer at the base that can be imbibed with alcohol, usually sherry. The next layer is some sort of fruit jelly. The top two layers are then custard and whipped cream. So the overall dessert is a nice pudding. I am not sure if that is normally the way it is, but I thought it would be nice to have a gradient of sweetness: the upper cream layers being less sweet, then custard slightly more so, and the jelly most sweet (some of it soaks into the cake).
Finally, as an apple recipe, instead of the (what appears to be the standard fruit) berry jam, we go with apple jam!
The next, but not the last apple recipe was to take those tart apples and make apple meringue pie. I did not bother to try to find an actual recipe for this, but instead looked for lemon meringue pie recipe. The one I used as a reference was from Allrecipes.com. I wanted it to be mostly like lemon meringue pie in that I did not want to have pieces of apple. Looking it up now, I saw a recipe for apple meringue pie with apple pieces, which is odd because it will clash with the soft meringue topping. Therefore I wanted to make a smooth apple filling for the inside.
I still wanted to get the acidity to the pie filling, so I ended up adding lime. The acidity from the apples tends to diminish as it cooks, so the added lime helped with that. The tough part was getting the apples fine enough so that the mix would not be grainy. To liquefy the mix, I put the chopped apples in the food processor for a good 5-10 minutes. Since they were still raw at this point, the cooking process would also smooth it out. It worked out quite well.
After making apple turnovers and apple pie, it was time for a new recipe. The last two had sensibly the same composition: apples, sugar, cinnamon. I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I thought I would add more spices… and rhum! I looked up a few recipes and found that the main spices used are the same as pumpkin pie basically, so cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. I wanted to give it a bit of zing though, so in addition to those, I also added a bit of crushed hot pepper, more lime, and rhum! I tried it out without really knowing the final result, but I was really happy with the result.
After chopping about 20 lbs of apples, and experimenting with a few different recipes with apples, it was time to tackle the real deal – Apple pie. Now, once the apples are chopped, the part of the pie that is the longest and the hardest to do by far, is the crust.
Pie dough is hard to make, the butter (or margarine) has to be added in slowly, it has to rest, and then rolling it out is usually a challenge as well. In this case, due to the additional work required in making my own dough, I am ashamed to say that I just used a storebought frozen pie crust.
Since most of the apple chopping was done previously, the only things left to do were to complete the filling, and make a crumble top for the pie.
As a result of picking about 40 lbs of apples as well as having pealed about 10 lbs of apples, there was a large amount of apple peels left over. I was planning on composting them, but I thought I could get some of that delicious taste out of them before that. Elisabeth has tried baking the peels with a bit of sugar and cinnamon, but that did not turn out so great.
So last weekend I went apple picking with friends and family. We were only picking for an hour or so, but we came back with two bags full of apples with comes down to about 40 lbs of apples. With that many apples and a limited amount of time to make things with it.
We picked two varieties of apples: Mcintosh and Lobo (whose parent is McIntosh, as it turns out). What is the difference between those two? Visually, the Lobo is much larger than the McIntosh. While the former is usually about 10 cm (4 in) diameter, the McIntosh were generally much smaller, averaging around 6-8 cm (~3.5 in). In terms of taste, they are both fairly tart, but the McIntosh is a little more so than the Lobo. We collected about equal amounts of both, maybe a bit more McIntosh. Since they are fairly similar, unless I am aiming for a particularly sour recipe, I would mostly use a mix of the two.