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Apple Cider Pie

I have a scar tissue on the tip of my middle finger on my left hand.  It's been there for about eleven or twelve years.  You know what it makes me think of each and every time I see it?  Apple Pie.  Well, apple pie and Parmesan cheese, to be precise.  Yeah.  I sliced off the tip of that finger on a box grater...the part on one of the thinner sides that has three long, horizontal slicers.  I had an Apple Crumb Pie earlier that day.  It was about 10 o'clock p.m. or so and I had the urge for a slice.  And you see, a slice of apple pie just isn't the same without some (okay, a lot) of Parmesan shards to eat with it.  That pungent saltiness is the perfect accompaniment to the sweet, warm fruit blanketed by a cinnamon crumb.  So anyway, don't ask me why I like to do things the hard way.  I could have very simply shaved some off with a vegetable peeler, but since I like them a big thicker with my pie, I decided to use the box grater.  Somehow my hand slipped and I sliced the tip of my middle finger off instead.  And I'm not talking a sliver, I'm talking the tip!  I couldn't get it to stop bleeding for the life of me.  Only my oldest (who was a wee man of one or two at the time) and I were there, so I called a couple of friends to come over.  Jen stayed with the little man and Ben drove me to the emergency room.  The tip of the finger is an awkward place to try to stop bleeding.  Eventually, all they did was put a little spot of this foam-like sheet on the open skin.  It sort of expands and soaks up any further bleeding.  You just leave it there until it falls off...which is when you're skin grows back.  When all was said and done, he drove me back to the house and we all had a slice of apple pie.  With Parm.  I still have that same box grater.  And I also have matching scar tissue on the top of my left hand ring finger.  A story for another day...

When I saw this recipe for Apple Cider Pie, I knew without question that I'd be making it soon.  The already fabulous taste of cinnamon and apples is accelerated about ten notches with the addition of a concentrated apple cider syrup.   It's an apple pie-lover's version of paradise on a plate.  Especially when served with Parmesan shards.  Minus fingertip.
Apple Cider Pie
adapted from Sweet Auburn Desserts
yield: 1 pie (~8-10 svgs.)

2 c. apple cider
6 c. (6-8) apples, peeled, cored, & sliced
1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅔ c. sugar
2 Tbs. flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

to finish:
1 oz. butter, melted
1 Tbs. sugar

Prepare the double crust pastry and after chilling, pull out one disk.  On a lightly floured surface, roll it large enough to fit in to a 9" pie plate.  Trim edges, leaving a half an inch or so of overhang.  Put in fridge until ready to use.

Bring apple cider to a boil over high heat.  Cook until it has reduced by half (leaving you about 1 cup), 30-45 minutes.  Set aside and cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon until well combined.  Toss apples and lemon juice together, then sprinkle dry mixture over them and toss to coat.  Remove pie shell from fridge and pile the apple mixture into it, scraping everything out of the bowl.  Pour the cooled apple cider reduction over everything.  Roll out remaining disk of pie dough to about an eighth inch thickness.  Gently set on top of pie and tuck overhang under bottom crust.  Crimp edges to seal.  Cut a couple of slits in the top of the crust and then brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Slide into preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until golden.  Cool on a wire rack.
Serve...preferably with fat Parmesan shards for ultimate enjoyment.

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