"I actually got the recipe from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook," says co-owner Cissy Yin, who cobbled together ingredients and techniques from a couple of different recipes until she landed on a combination that hit home in all the right places. For the fruit, Yin hoped to recreate, naturally, the "creamy goo" you find in canned apple pie filling. Any misgivings we might have about that intention melted away when she told us how this is accomplished: Granny Smith apples are cooked down in a sugar and spice mixture until the fruit just releases its juices. That liquid is strained off and cooked further with cream before being added back to the apple slices.
The result is like nothing you'd find in a can. The texture of the apple is wonderfully balanced to showcase softness with a bite. The sweetness and spice complement the natural tartness of the apples, and the cream in the binding adds just the right amount of silkiness. Holding it all together, is an exceptionally lovely crust. The crust is made with sour cream, the acidity of which, Yin says, contributes to the flakiness. The pie pairs well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which puddles next to the warmed slice.
While any taster of this pie wouldn't be surprised that it snagged top honors, the same can't be said for Yin, who described her reaction as "shocked" -- happily shocked. The winning apple pie is set to expire from the menu next week, though the eager requests may convince Yin to keep it around a bit longer. The pie that may take its place? Black bottom, which came in second in the competition's specialty pie category.
Apple pie with vanilla ice cream $7.00