Apple Inspiration / by Anne

honeycrisp apples The other day I offered an apple slice to my friend, Heather.  She doesn't care for apples, but I had forgotten this fact.  She politely took it from me, then exclaimed in a surprised voice, "This is delicious!  What kind of apple is this?!"  It was a Honeycrisp. 

This apple is indeed crisp--in an incredibly light and sweet way.  It's an ethereal, angelic apple.  Heather was converted.  That week, she started doing research on Honeycrisp apple trees, to see if she could grow one in her yard.  Her husband kidded her about it, but she said, "Look.  There's a fruit I have hated my entire life.  The other day I ate one that completely converted me.  That is pretty significant."  Wow, when she put it that way, I was pretty moved.  I love foods that change your mind like that.

One thing I don't adore is pie.  I wonder if I can have a conversion experience, too.  The other day I was in a cookie bakeware shop called "Cookies" in Ballard, and the owner and I were chatting about various baking challenges.  She mentioned that Kathy Casey makes apple pie by placing a thin layer of marzipan on top of the crust before filling it with apples.  The marzipan acts as a barrier between the liquidy filling and the crust, which gives the crust a chance to have its own independent, crust-y texture.  This is very intriguing to me, even though I also am not a huge marzipan person, either.  It keeps coming back to me, though.  I'm feeling a pie experiment coming on.  Have you ever done this (with marzipan)?  

I could even use Honeycrisps, which supposedly keep their shape well in baking.  However, for this upcoming pie experience, I want to use the trick I read in Cook's Illustrated:  Use a variety of apples in the same pie to create a complex apple flavor.  Wowza.  Bring on the conversion.