Saturday, November 28, 2009

Apple Pie

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! This year I continued my tradition of baking an apple pie. This is a recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking the first year I was married and have made it each year since. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have (this is a verified crowd pleaser).

Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup Crisco
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water (plus 1-2 tablespoons more, as needed)

Mix flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter to dry ingredients, working quickly to prevent softening, using a pastry tool until butter is pea-sized.

Add Crisco with pastry tool. Continue chopping until mixture is coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Make sure mixture does not soften or begin to clump. It must remain dry and powdery.

Drizzle ice water over mixture and cut with rubber spatula until mixture is evenly moistened and begins to form small balls.

Press down on the dough with the flat side of the spatula, if balls stick together you have added enough water, otherwise drizzle 1-2 tablespoons more ice water as needed.

Press dough with hands until dough coheres. The dough should look rough, not smooth. Divide dough in half.

Press each into a round flat disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Apple Pie filling

2 1/2 pounds (5-6 medium-large) Golden Delicious apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Wash and peel apples. Slice into 16ths, pieces should be approximately 1/4 inches thick at thickest point.

Mix apples with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring several times, so apples soften slightly.

Remove one dough disk and roll out into 13 inch round shape. Fit into 9-inch pie pan and trim overhanging dough to 3/4 inch all around. Cover and return to refrigerator. Remove second disk and roll out into 12 inch round shape for the top crust. Cover and refrigerate. If necessary for room, you may fold the round in half and then half again, just make sure to let the dough warm a bit before you try to unfold it over the pie.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove pie bottom and top from refrigerator. Pour apple and all liquid into bottom crust. If time allows, I take one slice at a time and lay it out on the pie slightly overlapping to make the pie as dense as possible, so it will shrink less as it cooks, and make cutting easier.

Dot top with butter. Brush 3/4 inch overhanging bottom crust with cold water.

Unfold top crust and place over top. Seal edge and then fold overhanging top crust under bottom crust. Next, either crimp with a fork dusted in flour, or flute (as I did in the picture). Cut steam vents in the top and then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake pie for 30 minute at 425 degrees in lower third of oven. Slip a baking sheet beneath pie and reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes longer, until apple feels just tender when a knife or skewer is poked through a steam vent and thick juices have begun to bubble through the vents.

Cool pie completely on a rack, 3 to 4 hours in order for filling to thicken properly. If you want to serve the pie warm, stick the pie in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Best served day it's baked, or can be kept for 2 to 3 days on the counter.

I prefer to serve my pie warm with vanilla ice cream. Once you have this pie, you'll never want to buy a store-pie again, there's just no comparission.

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