Apple Pie

Apple pie evokes happiness to me.  Something about the combination of the flaky buttery crust and the tenderness of spiced baked apples. Who didn’t love McDonald’s apple pie when they were fried? For me, apple pie was one of the few desserts my mom actually baked, and when she did, it disappeared quickly from the pie dish. Some of my favorite summer memories include Jill, my high school’s best friend’s mother, baking beautiful peach/nectarine and blueberry pies. Wherever that pie was going, we followed. Pie is just that powerful, especially with a dollop of cream or a scoop of ice cream.

When living in San Francisco, I found comfort going to Mission Pie. It was a simple menu of pies, and they were good. But when I tasted the pies at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, all the nostalgia of my love for pie was sparked again. However, shelling $40 for a pie drove me nuts. Because I cannot just have one slice of pie. One slice does not satiate my pie appetite.

So, it has taken me nearly two years (6 pies of practice) to perfect this recipe. I hope you will enjoy the fruits of my stubborn dedication as much as I do each time I bake this pie… and enjoy 1+ slice.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (Kerrygold is great), cut into pea size pieces
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water + 2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Egg wash, 1 egg beaten
  • Turbinado sugar

Filling

  • 8-10 apples, mixed variety is best
  • 3 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon butter

Mix all dried ingredients into a medium size bowl. Combine butter pieces into the flour mix. I like to blend it together with my fingers because 1) I don’t have a pastry blender; and 2) I can control it to the consistency I need, similar to cornmeal with large butter pieces. Set bowl in freezer while you peel and slice the apples.

To prepare apples, peel and slice apples into 1/4 inch slices and put into a large bowl.  I like to use a variety of apples great for baking. Combine the remaining ingredients for the filling into the bowl. Carefully toss together.

Retrieve the bowl from freezer and add the liquid one tablespoon at a time while forming the dough with your fingers. You just want to barely incorporate all the dough with the liquid so that there is no remaining crumbly flour. You can also use two forks acting as a pastry blender. Continue adding another tablespoon of liquid to incorporate dough. Once it starts to form together, and into a ball, stop adding liquid. Separate dough into two equal discs, and cover with saran wrap to chill in the refrigerator.

In a large pan over medium low heat, cook the apples for 13-15 minutes. I like to pre-cook my apples just a bit so that it avoids an air bubble between crust and apples, and this way, you can have a nice hearty filling. Cook until the apples are soft to pierce. Set aside with juice.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously dust your pie rolling area and rolling pin with flour. Retrieve one of the pie crust discs from the fridge, and roll out your pie crust, rolling out not back and forth. I’m not the best at rolling my dough into a neat circle but I haven’t had any complaints about an ugly crust. It works out. Be sure to roll the dough out so that there is enough overhang for the pie pan. Sprinkle a little sugar onto the bottom of the pie pan. Gently place the dough into the pan. Retrieve the other dough disc and repeat.

Take the semi-cooked apples and place into the bottom crust so that there is limited space. You can either lattice your top dough or just place it over the apples. Just be sure the cut slits if you do a full crust topping. Be sure to fold inwards and tuck with the crust so that it doesn’t fall apart when baking and firmly press crusts together. If your crust is becoming soft, you can place the pie into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up the crust again.  Finally, brush egg wash on top, sprinkled with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes on the middle rack. You may want to place a baking sheet below to catch any pie juice drippings. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream for the maximum experience. Happy eats.

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