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Apple Pie

September 10, 2009
tags: , ,

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 Ok, so I know the other day I called apples a “blah fruit,” which they are, if you’re eating them raw.  I actually spent an embarrassingly large amount of time thinking about this yesterday.  Primarily I thought about how desperate Snow White (that’s right, as in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) must have been to take the poisoned red apple from the wicked stepmother.  She must have been really jonesing for some fruit if she took an apple.  Raspberries, ok fine.  I could even understand if it was a perfectly ripe peach.  But an apple?  Come one.   And then there’s the whole issue of accepting food from a scary-looking stranger that comes to your house.  Snow White was obviously not that bright.  Clearly I have way too much time to think. 

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However, if the evil witch had offered her an apple pie, who could have blamed her for taking a bite?  Baked goods containing apples, or even plain baked apples themselves, when compared to raw apples, are awesome

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The only problem with making appley baked goods is that first you have to peel them.  Then you have to core them.  Then you have to slice them.  Unless you have one of those handy gadgets where you shove the apple on the spike and it peels, cores and slices it in one fell swoop, in which case you are lucky.  Otherwise it’s a bit of time committment.  And we’re not talking about 2 or 3 apples, oh no, it’s more like 7 or 8.   Actually I guess it doesn’t take that much, it just seems like it since it’s so tedious. 

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After I finally finished my apple peeling/coring/slicing business it was time for the crust.  I decided to not give up on pie crust all together, even considering previous disasters.  I bought a pastry cutter and I’m borrowing the boyf’s parents food processor to test which method works best.  Stay tuned for that one.  The recipe that I used for the crust had less fat and liquid in it than a normal pie crust to give it more structural integrity, which is apparently what you need for a lattice crust.  I decided to do a lattice crust for no apparent reason, really, other than to make my life a little more difficult.  Go big or go home, I guess.

Here we are before it went in the oven.  In preparation for a possible disaster, I made sure to take some nice pictures of the apple pie before I baked it. I learn well from previous experiences 🙂 A lattice crust actually isn’t that hard to do; you just put down the pieces going in one direction, folding back every other piece as you put on those going in the other direction.  If that doesn’t makes sense, which it may not, look here.

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Imagine my surprise when I opened up the oven and…. the pie looked great!  I seriously jumped up and down and whooped and hollered.  I would have woken up the boyf if the fire alarm hadn’t already done so (twice.  oops, again.) 

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The crust was a little less flakey then I’d hoped, but I think it’s because of the reduced amounts of butter and crisco, not because of something I did (if in doubt, blame it on the recipe…).  I think next time I make a lattice-crusted pie I’ll use a normal pie crust recipe and see how it turns out. 

I’m just glad I finally proved to myself I can make a decent pie crust.  There are still some kinks to work out, but I’ll get there.  What to conquer next??  I’ll have to think about that one.

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Pie Dough for Lattice-Top Pie (Non-Lattice Directions in Parentheses)
(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (2 1/2 cups, non-lattice)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
7 tablespoons all-vegetable shortening, chilled (8 tablespoons, non-lattice)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (12 tablespoons, non-lattice)
10 tablespoons ice water (6 to 8 tablespoons, non-lattice)

Stir flour, salt and sugar until combined. Add shortening and butter pieces over flour mixture; cut butter and shortening into flour until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas.

Sprinkle 8 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if it will not come together (I think I over did the “press down” part and smushed my butter/crisco bits, making the crust less flakey.  Oops).  Divide dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other.  Flatten larger piece into a rough 5-inch square and smaller piece into a 4-inch disk; wrap separately in plastic and refrigerator at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling.

Apple Pie Filling

(I don’t think there’s really a set apple pie filling recipe that one has to follow… they all taste good.  I just kind of throw the apples into a bowl and toss in whatever I think will work.  I didn’t have any lemons and I forgot the flour in this pie and it still turned out fine.)

7 or 8 Granny Smith apples

3/4 c of sugar (give or take, if you like it sweet or not)

teaspoon of cinnamon

pinch of salt, ground nutmeg and ground ginger (that’s separate pinches)

lemon juice or zest, if you like

couple tbsp of flour

1 egg white

Mix together the dry ingredients and then combine with apples. 

After you have assembled the lattice pie crust, brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in a 425F oven for 20 minutes (or until crust is a little browned) and then decrease temp to 375F and bake until bubbly.  If the crust gets too brown (which mine did a little), cover with aluminium foil.

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