Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

I would like to start this article by saying that Mike and I were just watching The Office.  It’s the episode where Pam and Jim get married, and I started weeping like a ninny because apparently I have no pride.  Mike turns to me and says, “Awww, we’re like Pam and Jim, aren’t we?  But then…you’re also like Dwight, and I’m like Michael.”

Note:  this was not a popular sentiment.

I am not like Dwight.  Okay, sure, maybe I think his turtle bowls PLUS fresh turtle was a brilliant idea for a wedding gift, but I’m still not like Dwight.  And Mike isn’t really like Michael either.  Except when he drinks. Then, well, maybe.  But I love him anyway.

So let’s talk about PIE!  When my Lebanese grandmother immigrated to Canada, she kept her cultural cuisine but supplemented many of the foods she loved with local favorites.  It may sound counter-intuitive to say, “As Lebanese as apple pie”, but the apple pie that she used to make is the one that my childhood memories are based on.  You see, she didn’t avoid traditional spices like cinnamon, she just…added to them with Lebanese flair.  If you haven’t thought of combining fresh apples with orange blossom water, well, you’re in for a treat.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie

  • 2.5 cups + 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup + 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 7-9 tbsp ice water
  • 3.5 lb Golden Delicious apples *
  • 1 lemon (1.5 heaping tbsp zest + juice of whole)
  • 3 tbsp orange blossom water **
  • 2 tbsp rose water **
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

* You can use your favorite baking apple but I like the mild  and sweet flavor of Golden Delicious.  They also break down splendidly in pies!

** Rose water and orange blossom water are both available at Middle Eastern grocery stores, specialty food stores, or a regular supermarket which stocks a goodly amount of ethnic and Middle Eastern ingredients.

Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 L good vanilla ice cream *

* If you make your own, kudos.  We don’t have an ice cream machine, and without one I’ve found that the texture is….lacking.  So I bought my ice cream.  Such is life.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

You can make the crust in a bowl using a pastry cutter or two knives, but over time I’ve both lapsed in my efforts AND recognized how much better the results are when I just break down and use a food processor.  So, start by putting 2.5 cups of all purpose flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tsp of salt and the 1/2 cup of shortening in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse the mixture in 1-2 second intervals until it has the texture of damp sand.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Cut the butter into 1/4″ chunks and toss them into the flour.  Pulse the flour 5-6 times until it’s in small pieces, the largest no more than the size of a green pea….which is to say, no bigger than the size of a cherry pit?  How about the pinky fingernail of an 11 year old?  Alright, you get the picture.  And that last example was creepy.

Drizzle in 7 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse just a few times until the mixture just barely starts to come together.  If it seems far too dry you can add the extra water, one tablespoon at a time.  Tip the mixture into a bowl and turn it over gently a few times using a large spatula.  Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and mete out just under half of the pastry onto the plastic.  Gather the wrap up around the dough, pressing in gently until it’s flattened into a 5″ disc.  Repeat with the other larger half of the dough.

Put the two sealed dough discs into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

While the dough chills, start the cinnamon scented caramel sauce.  Stir the cinnamon and sugar together and put it in a small pot.  Add the water and turn the heat on to medium.  Let the liquid warm, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Stop stirring when the liquid comes to a boil and just let it go for the gold(en color), swirling the pot every 30 seconds or so.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Let the caramel boil down for 3-5 minutes until the color deepens.  It’s hard to tell because the cinnamon will keep the color dark to begin with, but do your best.  It should be reducing slightly and thickening up, but don’t let it go for more than 5 minutes before taking the pot off the heat.

Add the chopped walnuts to the caramel sauce and stir them in to combine.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Lay a piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet with a lip.  Grease it well.  Pour the cinnamon spiced walnut and caramel onto the parchment and smooth it out.  Leave this to cool.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Now then, the caramel took about 5-10 minutes in total, and the pastry still needs another 20 minutes to cool, so it’s on to the apples!

Peel the apples and cut out the core.  Slice each apple in half and then lengthwise into quarters.  Slice each piece of apple across into 1/2″ chunks, trying to make sure that all the apple pieces are approximately the same size.

Zest about 1.5 tablespoons from the lemon into the apples.  Squeeze in the juice of the whole lemon.  Add in the orange blossom water and rose water, tossing them in the liquid until each piece is well covered.

Mix together 3 tbsp of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the cinnamon.  Sprinkle the flour mixture onto the apples and toss it well together until each piece of apple is coated.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Liberally dust flour over your work surface and sprinkle some additional flour on top of the pastry dough.  Roll the smaller disc of dough out in a circle until it’s at least 12-13″ in diameter and about 1/4″ thick.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

….And at this point, I can’t help but show you one of my favorite pie plates.  When I was growing up my mother had a number of fairly large ceramic pie plates that each had a different recipe printed on the inside.  Those plates remind me of my Mom’s amazing pie crust and the sweet smells that came out of the oven in the summer and around the holidays.  I found this one at a second hand shop for about a dollar, and the fact that the recipe is in French?  That just makes it even more fantastic in my opinion.

Oh yes, and preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Lay the bottom pie crust down in the center of the plate and press it against the mold.  Fill the bottom crust with your chopped apple mixture, piling it fairly high into the center and smoothing it out into a dome.

Flour your work surface again and roll out the top (larger) crust.  Cut the crust into a rough circle which is large enough to cover the pie, and reserve the rest of the unused pastry.

Lay the top crust on top of the apples and press it gently onto the lower.  Crimp the top and bottom crust together into pleats.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Cut the remaining crust into shapes that will decorate the top of your pie.  I did the….uh….bastardized version of the cedars of Lebanon.  Apparently I’m a terrible fraud twice. Once, because I’ve never actually been to Lebanon and have no right to be cutting out their national emblem, and twice because these were the ugliest pastry cedars that I’ve ever seen.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Paint the back of each cut out with water and lay it flat down on the crust.  Cut a few slits around the shapes so that the cuts are somewhat camouflaged but still  allow venting for the hot air.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly on top of the pie crust.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Tuck your pie in the 425ºF oven for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350ºF.  Let the pie continue cooking for another 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the juices have been bubbling out in the cracks.  If the top starts to brown up too fast, loosely cover the pie with tin foil and tuck it back in the oven to continue cooking.

While the pie is baking, take the ice cream out of the fridge for 10 minutes to let it soften.

Dollop the ice cream into a large bowl and scrape the caramel walnut mixture on top.  Work it in with a spoon until you have a gorgeous caramel swirl going through the cream.

Put the ice cream back into your freezer to set up until you’re ready to serve it.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

After the pie comes out of the oven, let it cool for at least 3-4 hours before cutting in.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Plate up a nice slice of apple pie with your modified caramel walnut ice cream on top.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

As far as apple pie a la mode goes, this is where it hits the fan – in the nicest possible way.  The ice cream is rich and nutty with a delightful vein of caramel and a cinnamon sweetness redolent throughout.  The pie is understated but just ever so slightly different.  It’s not the kind of pie that makes you go, “Oh god, what did I just put in my mouth?!”  It’s the kind of pie that makes you go, “Huh. That’s apples.  And cinnamon.  And…different, but I LIKE IT.”

And so ends our long winded 24, 24, 24 posts!  I was starting to wonder if we’d ever get through all the food that we made, but somehow we found a way….a delicious, fattening way.

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream

Orange Blossom Scented Apple Pie with Caramel Walnut Ice Cream
  • Tara

    My grandmother has the same pie plates! I’ve been trying to guard them from my over-zealous aunts and mother for years. Those babies will be mine someday.

  • Tara

    I just realized that my last comment made it sound like I’m anticipating the loot I’m going to score when my grandmother passes away. I, um, didn’t mean it that way.

    I just meant that if someone is going to SOMEDAY be in possession of them other than my WONDERFUL grandmother….it’s going to be me.

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

      (Tara’s grandmother shields her eyes against the dark shadows the vultures are casting as they circle above her)

      You make me giggle. You *could* consider those plates to be bakeware that may assimilate into your kitchen at some point in the distant future, but I think you should take my approach: Value Village. Second hand stores are famous for having kitschy kitchenware! I could spend hours sifting through old bacon presses and goblets. This could also be why, when Mike and I moved in together and had to do a mutual purge, I packed up and shipped out six (6!) boxes of glasses….and still have too many to count.

  • http://thespitefulchef.blogspot.com Kristie

    I always assumed I was deathly allergic to antique-type stores, but that was because I assumed they were full of moldering old dolls, rusted out Radio Flyers, and old Charles in Charge lunchboxes. But now you’re saying they have interesting kitchen gear? I might (MIGHT) have to go inside of one. But it’s unlikely.

    I like the modification of ice cream. C’est Genius.

  • Louise

    I may have missed it but you’re not pimping yourselves for votes for your Foodbuzz nomination!
    I choo, choo,choosed you to make me a cocktail.
    I will take it anytime preferably with some of that pie :)

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

      Louise – I’m way too self-conscious to pimp our site! It almost killed me to ask people for nominations in the first place! I would truly be a terrible politician. “You could vote for me, I suppose, but only if you really want to…and the other candidates are pretty great, so I totally understand and actually I’d vote for them too. Uhhhh…..I think my glass is empty, so, bye and all that. Love the new shoes.”

      My strategy when it comes to shameless self promotion is actually to bide my time and see if Mike will do it. And when he doesn’t? You get posts from me with my hat in my hand, pleading for votes on the very last day. Sigh.

      And psssst – thanks for voting for us!!! I might be blushing a little bit. Or maybe I’m still flushed from snickering about the choo-choo-choose, because I was totally imagining a steam powered railway train with a monocle and a floral hat when I read that. Haaaa. Awesome.

  • http://colette2008.blogspot.com Colette

    He called you Dwight? That’s … kind of disturbing. (Are you registered for turtles?) :)

    If you put the extra pie crust on top of the pie, you lose the opportunity for pie-crust cinnamon rolls. Roll out the leftover dough, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, roll up, cut about every centimetre, put in a bunch in a pie plate, and bake for the first 10-15 minutes while you bake the pie. Then you just hope that there aren’t too many people around by the time they cool.

  • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

    Kristie – you said “old Charles In Charge lunchboxes” like that’s a BAD thing! And antique stores are all well and good, but I’m a zealot for good old fashioned second hand stores, like Salvation Army or Value Village. I think “The V.V. Boutique” has singlehandedly stocked my costume closet for the last 4 years or so, and it’s the kind of place where you sort through a lot of shlocky junk but occasionally come across a jewel. I think you’d like it, if only for the competitive thrill of the chase…and the occasional opportunity to strong arm a crotchety old woman who was totally eyeing that vase specifically because you wanted it.

    Colette – I AM SO NOT A DWIGHT! Alright, well maybe I do have a few creepy habits. And I think it’s awesome that he’s protective of his manure. And……..if I had any idea where to register for turtle soup pots, I probably would….even if they were only used for crab bisque from that point forward, because I like turtles. A lot. I don’t think I could boil one (unless it was one of the snappy ones, and then sure).

    Oh yes! And great idea with the pie-rolls! I bet those are delicious, and if you added in some chopped walnuts and a bit of jam you’d have a quick and easy rugelach!

  • http://www.tobiascooks.com tobias cooks!

    truly a perfect combination, looks like a lot of work though. Great job!

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

      Tobias – thank you! It wasn’t any more work than any other apple pie, which was nice. As for the ice cream, well, I used store bought vanilla as a base so you really can’t give me too much credit! I’m quite lazy when you get right down to it.

  • http://www.eatmytortes.com S.

    I love apple pie, and I love orange-blossom water. Interesting idea combining the two! I can’t wait to try it out and see how it tastes…I’m pretty sure it’ll be the type of thing that’ll have me going back for seconds :)

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