Apple Pie

>This morning at the Farmer’s Market I was faced with a 5lb bag of Honeycrisp apples. If you’ve never had one before, stop reading right now, go to the store and buy one right now and eat it immediately. You’ll thank me. Anyway. I knew we had 5-6 Pink Lady apples in our fridge and so we didn’t really ‘need’ apples but the honeycrisp has a special pull and I really, really wanted to buy a bag. I feel like when it’s fall and I’m shopping for food I can’t help but follow certain themes. Last week I roasted a chicken. This week we’re going to have eggplant parmesan and probably some butternut squash ravioli….both veggies were purchased today at the market. I feel like if I’m going to buy squash and eggplant, I need to also buy apples and cabbages and giant quantities of tomatoes for canning. It had to happen so I managed to validate my purchase by telling myself I would make a pie with our other apples.

nom nom nom

I was at the market fairly early (for me) around 9:30, which, btw, was still not early enough to get eggs from my favorite farmer. Next week I’m going on Saturday dang it and I WILL get my eggs. Anyway, I was there early enough that I knew I had time for pie-making so I tried to think of what I might need from the store but I couldn’t really think of anything. For the record, I should have thought of “lard or shortening” as well as wax paper. These two things are key for making a good pie crust. Pie filling is super-easy, possibly where the ‘easy as pie’ phrase came from. Pie crust is a pain in the b unless you’re properly prepared. Today I could have been much, much better prepared. Alas, it still turned out. Here’s the recipe for the filling:

  • 8 cups cored, peeled, sliced apples
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (I used my own! Just more cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Just peel your apples, chop them into slices and dump them into a 9×13 baking dish. Add the sugar, spice and cornstarch and mix it all around. Add the melted butter and lemon juice and toss. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

While the filling is cooking, make your pie crust. Now, I used a recipe for a butter crust and while it’s good, it was hard to work with and doesn’t look as nice as other crusts I’ve made. I suggest you use my grandmother’s recipe.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 c shortening or lard
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Blend it all together with a fork or if you’re fancy, a pastry tool, until the dough is well blended. It’ll be flaky so reach in with your hands and smush it together a bunch so it can be formed into a ball. The more you handle it the more the lard/shortening will become incorporated and the easier it will be to roll it out.

When you roll out a pie crust, never try to do it on a floured counter top. It’s impossible. Today I did mine on floured parchment paper and even that was a chore and a half. Always, always, always use wax paper to roll out your dough. Split the ball in half and form a smaller ball, patting it into a flatter shape as you go. Place it on a large piece of wax paper. You want to sandwich your dough with wax paper so either use two pieces or use one piece that you can fold over onto the top of the dough. Use your rolling pin (duh, but just in case you can’t find it a bottle of club soda will also work in a pinch) to roll out the dough into a circle. Once you have it rolled into a size that looks big enough to fill your pie plate, peel off one of the layers of wax paper. Today I used a flimsy metal pie dish because I could not find my deep glass pie plate, but this recipe is better suited for a deep dish unless you feel like scrimping on the apples. With the pie crust rolled out, place your greased pie plate on top of the dough and flip the whole thing over. Press the dough into the shape of the pie plate before you remove the wax paper. Now you have a perfectly formed bottom crust. Don’t worry about the rough edges, you’re going to cut them off anyway.

Once the 30 minutes is up on your pie filling, take it out of the oven. If you’re like me, it will have taken you 30 minutes just to get the bottom crust into the pie tin. Transfer the filling from the baking dish to the bottom crust. Try to avoid sampling the filling as the goo covering the apples is like lava and will burn your finger, I promise.

Don’t test out that goo, you’ll get burned!

Now that you have the filling all in place you just need to cover your pie with the other piece of pie crust. If you were efficient in your rolling-out, you will have it already rolled and ready to go. If you, again, are like me, you still have to do it and pray that you can get a uniform piece big enough to cover the pie. Follow the same procedure but this time, flip the crust onto the top of the apples, then remove the wax paper. Pinch together the edge of the crust and poke some holes in the dough with a fork. If you’re fancy you could cut your crust into strips and make a criss-cross pattern on top. I, personally, am not fancy. My mother, though is VERY fancy. She take the extra, left over dough and not only rolls it out, she hand cuts it into shapes to match the kind of pie. Cherry pie gets cherries with branches and leaves. Blueberry pie gets bunches of blueberries with leaves. Apple pie would most certainly get a tree full of apples with stems and leaves and a small village with a farmer and a wheelbarrow to transport his apples. Personally I just throw the excess away. Someday I’ll work on being fancier.

Here you can see how my crust cracked and the goo made a
desperate attempt at an escape.
Not beautiful, but delicious. And my first ever apple pie.

Coat your crust with an egg white mixed with 1TB of water (if you want, you don’t have to. this gives it a nice sheen but it’s not necessary). Bake at 350 until the crust is golden brown. Remove and let it cool. We ate ours about an hour after it was finished baking and it was just the right warm temperature but the goo did not sear my tongue. It is, however, delicious and Senor was pretty excited when he got home this afternoon to find our house smelling of pie and me just about to hang up my apron. I love to bake but it just doesn’t happen during the summer. Not when you have a window air conditioner for your whole place and a kitchen the size of a galley (for real). I suppose this is one of those good things about fall, although officially I still don’t approve of the end of summer.

Now then, the butter crust is really yummy. It’s very flaky. I’m already planning on making another pie using the lard/shortening recipe though because I think it’s just so much better.

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4 Comments on “Apple Pie”

  1. Jessica says:

    >I never make my own pie crust, I gave up. It never turned out right for me. 😦

  2. Kate says:

    >Crap, I don't have waxed paper. Other than that, I am exceptionally proud to announce that I have every single other thing required to make this pie in my kitchen. It's like free pie! Will let you know how it goes.

  3. Kate says:

    >Do you know how to can stuff? You should teach me!

  4. Wee says:

    >Kate #1 – I know right? It's all stuff you usually have around anyway. Yay, free desserts! I hope it's delicious for you my dear.Kate #2 – Yes, I do. Last year we canned tomato sauce and salsa. We're supposed to be canning this Saturday at my parent's house. Have also done pickles, pears, peaches and jam. My grandmother was a canning fiend. Are you free Saturday?


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