(adapted from Ron Silver, inspired by Tim Blunk)
Buttermilk Pie Crust-
for one double crust 9” pie
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into ½” pieces
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup + 1 tablespoon cold buttermilk
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Using your fingertips or a bench scraper, cut the cold butter pieces into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Gradually add ½ cup of the cold buttermilk to the flour/butter mixture, using a fork to gently combine the ingredients until it forms a shaggy dough. If it feels a bit dry, add the additional 1 tablespoon of buttermilk. Gather the dough together, divide it in two and shape each piece into a disc. Flatten slightly and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out.
Place one disc of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to a circle about 12” in diameter and ⅛” thick. Gently transfer the dough to a 9” pie plate. Trim the edges so they extend 1” from the edge of the pie plate. Tuck them under and flute them decoratively. Place the pie plate in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling. Roll out the second disc of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to a circle about 11” in diameter and ⅛” thick for the top crust. Place this on a baking sheet and return to the refrigerator.
Ginger-Honey Apple filling-
¾ cup good quality local honey
2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
2¼ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼” thick (Honey Crisp and Pink Lady are good choices)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of finely chopped Meyer lemon (1 small Meyer lemon should be more than enough- wash it thoroughly, thinly slice it, skin and all, and remove the seeds)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
generous pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped
egg wash made from one egg yolk and two tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the honey and fresh ginger for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the finely chopped Meyer lemon. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place the apple slices in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cayenne, salt, ground ginger, lemon and orange zests and the candied ginger. Add the flour/spices/zest mixture to the apple slices and toss to combine. Add the honey/ginger/lemon mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine thoroughly. Retrieve the pie shell and top crust from the refrigerator. Scrape the filling into the pie plate then place the top crust over the filling. Seal the edges together and crimp decoratively. Brush the pie with the egg wash, cut vents in the top to allow steam to escape and cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Continue baking for an additional 45-50 minutes, until the crust is golden and juices bubble around the edges and from the center of the pie. The apples should be tender when tested with a knife. Place the pie on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours before cutting. Serve with fresh mint tea.