May 26, 2014

Apple Custard Pie with Brandied Raisins & Almonds

I keep a journal in which I jot down favorite quotes and whatnot from books as I'm reading. Often, I find myself making lists of food described in the books as well.

One such description, from Neil Gaiman's novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, has stuck with me since early last fall:
Dinner was wonderful. There was a joint of beef, with roast potatoes, golden-crisp on the outside and soft and white inside, buttered greens I did not recognize, although I think now that they might have been nettles, roasted carrots all blackened and sweet […]. For dessert there was the pie, stuffed with apples and with swollen raisins and crushed nuts, all topped with a thick yellow custard, creamier and richer than anything I had ever tasted at school or at home.
That pie. I haven't been able to get that pie out of my head.

So, I made it.

Apple Custard Pie with Brandied Raisins & Almonds

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
2-3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
3-4 tart baking apples, peeled/cored/sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in brandy until plumped *
2/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

* I heated up the brandy & raisins, just until boiling, over low heat. Then, let them sit off the heat until cooled. The raisins soaked up nearly all of the brandy (I'd added just enough to almost cover them). I added any liquid left in the pan to the filling as well. It wasn't much.

For the custard:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
  • To make the crust: Mix together the flour & sugar. Cut in the butter until pea-sized. Mix in the water, until a dough forms. Roll out on a floured mat. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate.
  • To make the filling: Mix all of the ingredients together. Pour into the pie crust. 
  • To make the custard: Beat together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each. Add the flour, vanilla, and buttermilk & beat until blended. Pour over the apples.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, rotating the pan after 30 minutes, until the custard is set & slightly golden on top. 
  • Cool completely before slicing. It's even better chilled.
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