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Sour Cream Apple Pie

During the winter, Bratislava (population  450,000) has to be Europe’s quietest capitol city and its historic centre on the eastern side of Danube and sheltered under   Bratislavsky hrad castle, its most romantic. Unfortunately the cuisine, with its Austrian and Hungarian influence and a predominance of dumplings with the majority of dishes I found repetitive and boring. After a couple of days in Slovakia I had had enough of  Treskaa, a Bratislavian salad made of codfish, mayonnaise and vegetables, Bryndzove halusky the traditional meal of  small potato dough dumplings with sheep cheese  topped with tiny chunks of fatty bacon and a plate of assorted cheeses called Parenica, ostiepok, korbacik..

But luck was on my side when I met a local artist who took me to the Paparazzi, a  smooth bar restaurant serving excellent international food and where, I swear I downed a couple of the best made cocktails I have ever tasted.  Another day, following a strenuous and appetite building tour of the city, we had a delightful meal  just outside of the Old Town, at Chez David, an old established Jewish restaurant, located  in an unimposing pension, below the castle. I had to admit that the last Jewish restaurant I eaten in had been in was Blooms, in London’s Golders Green and that being around forty years ago, I had forgotten just how tasty Kosher food can be.

The day was bitterly cold and snowing and even though we had been the only customers present, the ‘old Europe’ atmosphere of Chez David was warm and welcoming. We had rich, chopped liver for starters (a dish also known as a heart attack on a plate) with a bottle of ice cold, slightly sweet Slovakian Riesling, following this with an excellent  local Merlot to accompany our main course of Beef Brisket and horseradish sauce,  with potato latkes and roasted vegetables. A dessert of small  baked cakes we just could not manage but took with us a la doggy bag for later sustenance.

Over a couple of on-the-house and over-proofed plum brandies with the Jewish chef, my companion persuaded him to give us a recipe. He chose his Sour Cream Apple Pie, which this week I am passing on to you for proving. Being in a hurry when I prepared this dish, I bought the Pate Brisee pie casing. Pate Brisee being nothing more than a French short crust pastry dough made from a mixture of flour, a little sugar, salt, butter, and ice water.  It is the high ratio of fat to flour which gives the pastry its crumbly texture and buttery flavour and can be used for both sweet and savoury pies and pastries.  I saved a lot of time and the result was excellent.

• 1 pâte brisée
For the topping
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

The filling
• 1 1/3 cups sour cream
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 5 large Granny Smith apples (about 2 1/4 pounds)

Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into a 10-inch (6-cup capacity) pie plate, and flute the edge decoratively. Chill the shell while making the topping and the filling.
Make the topping:
In a small bowl blend together the butter, the sugar, the cinnamon, and the flour until the mixture is combined well and chill the topping, covered, while making the filling.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, the salt, the vanilla, the eggs, and the flour until the mixture is smooth, add the apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin, and stir the filling until it is combined well.
Spoon the filling into the chilled shell, smoothing the top, and crumble the topping evenly over it. Bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it is golden and the apples are tender, transfer it to a rack, and let it cool completely. Serve the pie with the ginger whipped cream. - Fly at a Smile-Price