Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apple Pie


Apple pie is one of my favorites...I often say that I haven't met a pie I didn't like.  

Let's talk about this pie for a minute before  we start making it.  First let me say that this recipe calls for precooking the apples for a short time along with the butter, sugar and spices.  Precooking the apples causes them to release liquid and consequently they shrink.  I do this for two reasons.  The first is to avoid the gummy paste that often results when you simply toss the apples with the flour, sugar and spices.  The second reason I do this is to avoid a pie with a mile high crust and a gaping air hole when cut and served as a result of the apples shrinking away from the crust a they cook.  The end result tastes just as good (maybe better without the flour goop) and you get an improved presentation.  It also helps the dreaded juice dripping out of the crust and onto your oven! So, now that you understand the reasons for the technique, are you interested?  How about a trial run before you have to make your Thanksgiving pies?  You can make this pie extra special and festive for the holidays by tossing in a handful of dried cranberries and a handful of chopped english walnuts.

One more thing...Since apples are in season, head out to your local orchard and get a supply of apples rather than buying them at the grocery store.   Store bought apples this time of year might be last year's fruit from storage and be beautiful outside but rotting at the core on the inside.  You can't always tell by looking.  How do I know?  First hand experience.  Save yourself the disappointment, eliminate the "yuck" factor and head to the orchard!

I tend to like Granny Smith apples (the bright green ones) for baking.  They are tart and hold up well to the baking process.  Don't be afraid to branch out and try other types of apples.  Just make sure they are good for baking.  Jonathan, Jonagold and Pippin apples are great choices.  Gravenstein, Braeburn, Fuji and Pink Lady Apples are all crisp and sturdy, as well. Stay away from the Delicious and Gala varieties for baking.  They don't hold up well to the cooking process and are best eaten raw.  

Apple Pie

Pie Crust (for two crust pie):

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Crisco (or 2/3 cup lard)
4 to 5 Tablespoons cold water

Directions:

Measure the flour and salt into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Stir to incorporate the flour and salt.
Add the Crisco.  Using a pastry blender, mix until the mixture has the consistency of coarse cornmeal with lumps.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cold water into the flour mixture and stir with a spoon.
Continue to add water and stir until the mixture just holds together.  It should not be sticky and don't over mix the dough.  It isn't bread, and doesn't need kneading. 

Gather up the dough into a ball and wrap it in waxed paper and put it in the refrigerator while you get the filling ready.

Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients:

8 Granny Smith apples
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flour

Directions:

Peel, quarter and core the apples.  If you have a device that does the peeling it will make your prep work go faster.  I bought an inexpensive one at a discount store and love it.  I hated peeling apples, but having this gadget makes it so much easier.


Slice each apple quarter into 4 or 5 slices and place them into a large heavy pan over medium heat.
Add the butter, sugar, brown sugar and spices to the pan and stir.


The apples will release their juice and the sugars will melt and a thin syrup will begin bubbling.  Watch it carefully and stir frequently to avoid burning the syrup.
Continue stirring for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the flour and stir to mix throughly. 

The syrup will thicken.


Remove the pan from the heat.

Now it is time to roll the crust.  Divide the chilled pie dough into two halves.
On a floured board, roll the dough, turning and rolling until you have a circle of dough large enough to cover your pie plate. 


I have a deep dish pan that I love so I use a little more than 1/2 the dough for my bottom crust just to make sure I have enough to cover my pan.

Arrange the dough in the pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about 1/4 inch hanging over the edge of the pan.  You'll see why in a minute.


Next, spoon the apple filling into the pie crust.  Be sure to scrape all the wonderful gooey sauce along with it!  Yes, I know you will be tempted to sample it...okay, go ahead, it will be our secret!


Roll the remaining dough and cover the pie filling.  Leave 1/4 inch beyond the edge of the pan.  Now, take the top and bottom crusts together, fold and tuck under the edge.  This will give you a nice edge for crimping. 


Next seal the two layers of crust by crimping the edges.  I'm not sure how to easily describe this so here goes.  Your thumb and middle finger goes under the edge, your index finger above and you squeeze them together.  For the second one, you shift along the edge and repeat until you've made it all the way around the pie.  If it doesn't look perfect, don't worry, the pie will still taste just fine!


Next, be sure to create a couple of vents in the top to let steam escape.  You can get creative and do designs or just make a couple of slits with a sharp knife.  

The pie goes into a preheated 450 degree (F) oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees (F)  and continue to bake for 45 minutes.  At the conclusion of the time, the cust should be golden brown.  If not return it to the oven for another 5 minutes, watching closely so you don't burn the crust.  When finished baking, remove to a rack to cool.


When cool, slice and serve. 

....and that is What's Cooking at Cathy's ~ Enjoy!

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About Me

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.