Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Party like it's 1802

I picked up The Bucolic Plague (the book, not a disease) at the library not intending to enjoy it. I take that back. It wasn't that I was planning to read something I thought would bore me to tears, it's just that given the subject matter and the title, I just figured it was long-winded story of how you, too, can be a better person by buying and running an organic farm. I loved the book! Yeah, it has undertones of the trials and tribulations one may encounter when embarking on the task of becoming a gentleman farmer, but it is really a very well written and quite funny story of real life on a small farm.

I remember seeing the book in my local Williams-Sonoma back in the spring. Then earlier this week the Beekman Farm popped back on my radar when I was glancing through the recent issue of Country Living.  The Fabulous Beekman Boys are two guys from Manhattan who purchase a farm in upstate New York, and then commit to bringing the run-down farm and house (built in 1802) back to life. The book turned out to be very funny, regardless of whether or not you care about such things as heirloom plants or organic farming or killing your first Thanksgiving turkey with your bare hands. I really loved the tidbits that were planted throughout the book, which provide an insider's glimpse into the "real" Martha Stewart  (Brent Ridge, one of the two men, is a former Martha Stewart Omnimedia employee). I will spare you of my lame attempt to highlight some of the humor and the charming tales of life down on the Beekman Farm, but it's worth your while to read an excerpt of the book here. Farming eventually lead Josh and Brent to develop a very Martha-style omnimedia empire, developing a lifestyle brand called Beekman 1802 which includes the website, books, blogs, forums, and a TV show.

Beekman 1802 
The Fabulous Beekman Boys have recently released a cookbook of  heirloom recipes, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook. The recipes focus on using heirloom produce and organic ingredients, giving home-cooking a 21st century farmhouse spin. And, just in time for Thanksgiving, some of their recipes were featured in this month's (November 2011) issue of Country Living magazine.

One of the recipes featured in the magazine was a Honey Apple Pie with Rosemary. I love rosemary and I love apple pie, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Since the recipe isn't posted on the Beekman site or the Country Living site, I can't (unless I want to get in sued) post the recipe here. After a little "internet research" I found that their recipe was VERY similar to this recipe (which I can post and link to since it's already been posted):

Honey Apple Pie with Thyme originally posted back in 2006 in the New York Times.

3 golden delicious apples, peeled and cored
4 granny smith apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup honey
6 thyme branches
1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into small pieces
2 T instant tapioca
1/3 c light brown sugar
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t salt
flour for dusting
dough for 2 9 inch pie crusts.

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice Golden Delicious apples and 3 granny smith apples into sixths.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, bring 14 cup honey to a boil. Let simmer about 2 minutes, until honey is caramelized. Add 3 thyme branches. Arrange half the apples in a single layer in skillet. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons butter over apples. Cook apples, turning until well caramelized on all sides, but not cooked through, about ten minutes. Scrape apples and honey mixture into a bowl. Add tapioca and toss to combine. Repeat cooking process with remaining honey, thyme, butter and sliced apples. Add a second batch of apples to bowl, combine. Discard all thyme branches.
3. thinly slice remaining granny smith apple and add it to bowl. Stir in sugar, ginger and salt
4. On a lightly floured surface roll out both crusts to a 12 inch circle. Place one crust in 9 inch pie plate. Scrape apple filling into crust and top with remaining crusts.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue baking about 45 min. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

So, taking that recipe, here are my changes to make a Honey and Rosemary Apple Pie...

I didn't make the crust. If you want to make a pie crust and have time, go for it. I used a store-bought crust.

Pie Filling (this is enough to make one deep dish 9 inch pie or two regular 9 inch pies)

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
4 Honey Crisp apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (I will probably use 3-4 teaspoons of rosemary next time...it wasn't rosemary-enough for me)
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water (this is the egg wash for the top of the crust)
Cinnamon and sugar (for sprinkling top of pie crust)

In a bowl, combine apples with brown sugar, spices, and tapioca.  

Add honey and stir until combined.

Preheat oven to 400. Place crust in 9 inch pie pan. Add pie filling to pan. And dot with 2 tablespoons of butter (not melted).

Place second crust over top of pie. I have a leaf-shaped cookie cutter that I like to use to cut out the crust for the top of the pie.

Brush egg wash over crust, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake pie on middle rack of oven .After 20 minutes remove pie and cover edge of crust with foil. Continue to bake until juices are bubbling 50 minutes more. Cool on wire rack.

The pie was fantastic! I loved the addition of rosemary, even if it wasn't enough rosemary for me. I'll play with it on the second try to see if I can add more rosemary without over-doing it.


duchessofginger said...

Ummm, why didn't I get a piece???

Brent and Josh said...

Thanks for the shout-out! Your pie looks delicious!

Candy said...

Love the leaves on the crust. Will definitely have to check out the book!