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This is the first pie I ever made. It was for a pie competition during my grad school, so I went all out! I made an open-faced apple pie with miso-caramel, and it won the competition. Here's the recipe so you can make it too.

The Crust

I pulled this simple recipe straight out of the internet because I didn't want to get too adventurous with my first pie. The one step you'll want to add is blind baking the crust until it is 2/3 of the way cooked. This is crucial because you won't be fully cooking the apples in the pie shell. 

The Filling

There are three components to this:

1) Almond 'marzipan' -

Soak raw almonds in hot water for about 15 minutes, strain, peel then blitz in a food processor with powdered sugar until it forms a rough clump. Don't go too smooth, you want to have some crunchy bits for texture. This will be the first layer of the pie - spread a thin layer inside the pie shell (~0.5 cm) and smooth it out with a spoon. 

2) Custard -

Get yourself a few eggs. Separate the yolks from the whites, put the yolks in a saucepan with butter, cream, sugar and lemon zest. Cook over low heat and whisk continuously until you get a custard. How does one know if the custard is done you ask? Grab a spoon, dip it in the custard and run your finger through the middle of the spoon. If this creates an clear path, you're good to go. 

Place the custard in the fridge and cool it completely before spreading a thin layer (~0.5 cm) on top of the almond layer. 

3) The Apples - 

These will be your claim to fame. Get some good baking apples - I used Honesycrisps because a) they keep a crunchy texture, b) they are a bit tart, c) they have nice rosy skin, and d) they were on sale when I bought them. Cut them in half and remove the pit, then slice into evenly thin (~2 mm) wedges. I highly recommend you use a mandoline if you have one. 

Put the sliced apples in a pan, add some lemon juice, honey and a good knob of butter then cook over medium-high heat until the apples are soft-ish. **You are not fully cooking the apples here**, you are just making them pliable enough to make roses with them later. 

Remove your apple concoction off the heat, pour into a strainer (save the juices) and let it cool. 

To make an apple rose, grab a slice of apple and roll it around itself, grab another slice and roll it around the previous roll, and so on...you get the idea. Play around with this until you get a good technique going. You can make roses of different sizes and colors, just don't rush it or your pie will look sloppy. Place the roses on the custard layer as you make them and make sure they're tightly packed (see photo of my pie above). 

After you're done rose rolling (this might take a minute or 80), bake the pie for another ~8 minutes at 400°F so your apples and the rest of the filling get to know each other. 

Miso Caramel

Make a classic caramel, add a spoonful of miso paste and whisk until the miso dissolves:

Add a cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water and a couple table spoons of honey into a saucepan. Heat and whisk until sugar and honey dissolve. STOP whisking, and let the mixture reduce. When it starts to change color -caramelize-, add a bunch of cream and butter and whisk again while the mixture froths. Reduce until you have a caramel sauce consistency, then add a hefty spoonful of miso paste and mix to dissolve. This will be killer. 

Miscellaneous and Important Tips

- You'll probably need a few more apples than you originally thought. So get stocked. 

- Remember those apple juices you saved earlier ? You can use them again to cook more apples if need be. 

- You can make this as sweet as you like or add whatever spices and flavors you want. I made mine a bit under-sweetened and un-spiced because I wanted to taste the honey and apple flavors. 

- I don't really like following exact recipes, so I didn't write an exact one down. Have fun with it, taste things and adjust flavors and textures as you go. 

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