Kitchen Parade's Pi Day - Southern Comfort Apple Pie, Cinnamon Ice Cream, and Spiked Caramel Sauce

I am a little to rumdum to think straight enough in figuring out how to be as brilliant as others that precede me for dialog and pie or Pi. I would love to know the absolute circumference of my circle for the pie dish, make this outstanding algebraic equation for the exact amount of apple slices that will make up the ultimate filling per square inch of the pie shell inserted into the pie dish. . .but I really must say I am sorry because my first concern tonight is how to unscorch one of my favorite cookbooks. I guess I am tired. Long day. I came home and decided that I wanted to de-crystallize my honey collection. Maybe I am the only one out here that has this huge collection of honey with only marginal amounts in each container left WHICH has now crystallized and is in dyer need of hot liquid to re-liquefy this solid mass. Hhhmmm, there may be an equation in here yet. So, I take off my construction boots and turn on the teapot (full of water that I get hot, take off the burner and set a bottle of hard honey into) and open up one of my favorite cookbooks, pages down, on the front of my stove. Well guess what? I turned on the front burner instead of the back burner to the teapot and cooked by cookbook. I caught the error after dark smoke started emitting from the pages. I now have these lovely large, round, ugly burn rings on about 6 pages. If it wasn't for the glossy pictures, the whole cookbook would already be in flames. The good news? I can still read the recipe behind the ugly burn rings. I feel ill.
Okay, my pie and pie crust of choice. . .I used to struggle with crunchy apples in my apple pie. I absolutely LOVE mounted apple pie but I would over think the baking time and take my pie out too soon. . .every time! Frustrated, I started sauteing my apples before putting them into a pie crust. Then I found the Pastry Queen cookbook and all is well. This pie is family and friends all-time favorite pie EVER and the cinnamon ice cream on top is a great treat. Thank you Kitchen Parade for bringing about this fantastic event. The collection of pie recipes already submitted are mouth-watering to just read the titles!

My creation took 2 days to put together because I made a cinnamon custard that is later made into an ice cream before assembling the pie. I must have been tired the day before yesterday, too, because I ruined the first batch of custard by having the heat to high. Nothing like curdled custard. BTW, I now have 18 egg whites in my refrigerator to use up =).

My pie crust is easy to work with and I love the fact that I can just throw it into the refrigerator one day and make my pie the next. Also, there is a couple of Tablespoons of sugar in the crust to give a little sweetness and when I want, I add other spices like cinnamon or vanilla flavored sugar for an added twist. The pie is delicious served topped with cinnamon ice cream, and/or rum-spiked Caramel Sauce. My hubby especially loves this pie with both ice cream and caramel. He is not a big sweets kind of person and he would eat this pie for dessert every night of the week if I baked it for him. I love the flavor mix and texture, myself. This is actually a lot of fun to put together. . .even after making a quite a few over time.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

2 c. half-and-half
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick
9 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half, cream, vanilla, cinnamon stick and ground cinnamon, whisking occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. When the cream mixture reaches a fast simmer (do not let it boil), turn off the heat and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. In a thin stream, whisk half of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan containing the rest of the cream mixture. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. At 160 degrees, the mixture will give off a puff of steam. When the mixture reaches 180 degrees it will be thickened and creamy, like eggnog. If you don't have a thermometer, test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the mixture. Run your finger down the back of the spoon. If the strip remains clear, the mixture is ready; if the edges blur, the mixture is not quite thick enough yet. When it is ready, quickly remove it from the heat.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, put two handfuls of ice cubes in the bottom, and add cold water to cover. Rest a smaller bowl in the ice water. Pour the cream mixture through a fine sieve (to remove the vanilla bean pieces and cinnamon sticks) and into the smaller bowl. Chill 3 hours, then continue according to the directions of your ice cream maker.

Southern Comfort Apple Pie


1/2 c. pecans
1/3 c. granulated sugar
3 T. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. (5 1/3 T.) chilled unsalted butter

Pie Crust:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2/3 c. (11 Tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter
4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water

Apple Filling:
5 to 6 medium-size tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Winesap
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 T. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. Southern Comfort liqueur
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

Caramel Sauce:
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 c. chilled heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt
2 T. dark rum, such as Myers's (optional)

To make the topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process both sugars, the cinnamon, salt, and flour for about 1 minute. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the sugar-flour mixture. Pulse about 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Refrigerate the topping covered, in a medium bowl until ready to use.

To making the pie crust: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, and sugar on low speed about 30 seconds. Cut the chilled butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the butter to the flour mixture and combine on low speed about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, until the mixture looks crumbly, with bits of dough the size of peas. Add 4 Tablespoons ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing on low speed for 10 seconds after each addition. After the last addition, the dough should begin to clump together in a ball. If it doesn't, continue mixing about 10 seconds longer. If it still looks too dry, add an additional 1 Tablespoon ice water. Gently mold the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Line a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with the pie dough. Press it into place and crimp the outside edges with your fingers or a fork. Set aside.

To make the filling: Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the apples and saute for 5 to 8 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle it on the apples and stir to combine. Simmer the apples over medium-low heat about 1 minute longer. Remove the apples from the skillet with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet as possible. Transfer the apples to a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. (If heaped in a pile, the hot apples will steam-cook and become soggy.)

Pour the Southern Comfort into the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet. Simmer the mixture over medium heat at least 5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off (carefully sniff the mixture at close range; if it burns the insides of your nostrils, the vapors are still burning off). Add the cream and continue cooking about 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is as thick as pourable caramel. Return the apples to the skillet.

Pour the apple filling into the unbaked pie crust and sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is brown. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Excess pie crust scraps are excellent rolled out and dusted generously with cinnamon and sugar mix. Pop them into the oven at 425 degrees F. for 10 minutes, until brown on the edges. They never last in my house past the first day.

To make the Caramel Sauce: Heat the sugar over medium heat in a heavy-duty saucepan or iron skillet until it is completely melted and turns amber in color, about 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to low, add the butter all at once, and stir to combine. (It will bubble up.) Add the cream, a couple of Tablespoons at a time, stirring to combine between each addition. Adding the cream slowly keeps the caramel from clumping. Continue stirring until the caramel sauce is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. You'll have about 1 1/2 cups of caramel sauce. Caramel can be stored in a covered glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Reheat it in the microwave.

Layer the flavors and enjoy!


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