Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Pie Primer, Part Two: Apple Pie

There are a thousand ways to use the thousands of apples that come off the trees every fall. Three are turnovers and tarts, cakes, sauces, baked apples, candied apples. There is also apple pie. Maybe it's because my mother makes the best apple pie in the world, but I've always found apple pie to be one of the most comforting things to eat. There is no reason this comfort should not be available to everyone, so now that you've overcome your fear of pie crust it's time for apple pie.

Apple Pie

one 9-inch pie

  • 1 recipe pie crust
  • blank
  • 6 cups apple slices (about 6 medium-sized apples)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • Make up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate while you make the filling.
  • Peel, core, and cut apples into pretty thin slices. I do this by first cutting the apple into quarters, cutting out the core, peeling each quarter, and then cutting the quarter into slices. You can do what you like.
  • To the apples add the lemon juice, sugar, flour, and spices. Mix gently, but well so everything is evenly distributed.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Take the dough from the fridge and cut it in two, making one piece slightly larger than the other. Put the smaller piece back in the fridge and roll out the larger piece between sheets of waxed paper into about a 12-inch round, or until you judge it will fit in your pie pan with about an inch of overhang. Press the dough into the pan starting with the bottom and working up the sides so there is no air trapped underneath it.
  • Put the apple mixture into the pie shell. Cut the 2 Tbs. butter into small pieces and dot the apples with it. This step has been forgotten so many times in my family that it has become something of a running joke. "Don't forget to dot the butter!," we yell several times during the pie making process. It's a real pain trying to get it under the top crust through the vents, so don't forget to dot the butter!
  • Roll out the remaining ball of dough and place it over the apples. Crimp the top and bottom crusts together. Trim off any excess dough around the edge, roll it out and make an apple or something else to decorate the top with. Cut several vent holes in the top. You can choose to brush the top with an egg or milk wash or not, as you like.
  • Bake 40-50 minutes, or until juices are bubbling and the crust is golden. If the edges start to get too dark, cover with tin foil.
A few things I would say about making apple pie: take the time to cut your apples quite thinly. If you don't you'll be left with bits that didn't cook all the way. I do like some tooth left in the apples, but not that much. Try not to overwork the edges while you're crimping them or they'll become tough. And don't forget to dot the butter!

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