Apple Season, pt. 2: "apple pie"

 
 fig. a:  papa's got a brand-new bag

fig. a:  papa's got a brand-new bag

If Vermont has an apple obsession--and it most certainly does--it's also a state that's seriously crazy about pizza, so it's perhaps no surprise that "apple pie" takes many forms here.  Sure, Vermonters love their traditional apple pies--with a top-crust and open-faced, with a slice of cheddar or without, deep-dish or otherwise--but they're also not averse to adding apples to their pizza.  In fact, one of Vermont's great pizzas, Parker Pie Company's Green Mountain Special, features apples prominently.

Inspired by the local scene, and in thrall to a pizza obsession of our very own--a home-baked one--we started making our own "apple pies" last year.  

I'd start by whipping up a batch of Jim Lahey's basic pizza dough from My Bread (2009) a day in advance.  

Jim Lahey's Basic Pizza Dough

500 grams bread flour

10 grams instant yeast

10 grams table salt

3/4 tsp + a pinch (roughly 3 grams) sugar

300 grams water

6 grams olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams (about 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

Knead rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)

To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into squares. Top and bake.

YIELD:  2 rectangular pizzas

If you need pointers, you can watch this video of Jim Lahey working his no-knead pizza magic in the Serious Eats test kitchen.

When the dough had been allowed for a full 18 hours or so, I'd shape it on an oiled 13" x 9" baking sheet.  And then I'd apply my toppings.

apple slices (thin!), preferably using something that bakes well like a Crispin

sautéed North Country Smokehouse bacon

sautéed onions

Cabot Creamery Alpine Cheddar

chopped flat-leaf parsley

freshly ground black pepper

Bake in the hottest oven conditions you can create, making sure to heat the oven a good 60-90 minutes in advance so that it's truly piping hot.  

And voilà!

 fig. b:  apple pie

fig. b:  apple pie

If you can't find Cabot Creamery's Alpine Cheddar, I pity you, but any quality cheddar or Gruyère will do, although personally I don't think I'd go too sharp with the cheddar.  If you can't find North Country Smokehouse bacon, again, I feel sorry for you, but try to use the tastiest bacon you can get your hands on.

This pizza is a dream come true--a Green Mountain dream.  And it's even dreamier when you make it with the freshest apples you can find, right in the midst of the apple harvest.  In other words, right about now.

aj