10/12/14

Apple Pie

Fall is here! No, really; the leaves are changing, the weather is damp, and the apples have miraculously all become perfect.
It is time for pie.
I made this lovely, simple apple pie with guidance from online recipes and Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts. I used Gala apples, which are my favorite to eat and so I just have a lot around the house, but you can also use Granny Smith, Mutsu, or Honeycrisp. The key to fruit pies is to keep the moisture where you want it; as long as you take the right steps to get a dry and flakey crust (and give the pie lots of time to bake) the type of apple shouldn't make a huge difference, so go crazy with whatever you've got. (Some experts will debate the levels of sweet-tart combination, but that has never been an issue for me.)
This weekend I realized (too late of course) that I had no shortening, so this was made with an all-butter crust. However I recommend using my favorite pie crust.


Ingredients:
  • 1 pie crust, or enough for a double-crust
  • 6-7 medium-large apples, peeled and cut
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cream
  • Decorating sugar or sugar in the raw

Total time: 2 hours
Bake time: 60 minutes

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Roll out half the pie crust, and fit straight into a 9 inch pie pan. The crust should hang about a 1/2 inch over the edge. Place in the fridge to chill.

2. Meanwhile, peel the apples and slice (as thick or thinly as you prefer).

3. Add the lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the apple slices and toss together.

4. In a large skillet, heat the apple slices on medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, until just soft. This will caramelize the sugars. Take off the heat and let cool.

5. Mix the egg white with water. Then brush the egg wash over the bottom and sides of the prepared crust. Important step: this will help to keep the bottom crust dry!

6. Add the apples to the pie pan. Roll out the remaining pie crust to fit over the top, and crimp the edges as desired.

7. With a sharp knife, cut slits into the top crust to vent. Mix the egg yolk with cream and brush the top and sides of the pie, and sprinkle liberally with decorating sugar.

8. Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 350 F for another 45 to 50 minutes. If the edges begin to burn, covering them with tin foil will help.

9. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. 
Homemade pies are well worth the extra effort and time. Miles ahead of defrosted, store-bought pies, they're the ultimate comfort food, and you can make them anyway you like. This is great with coffee, with some vanilla ice cream, or anyway you like it. Everyone has their own way of eating pie, that I keep thinking of that one scene from When Harry Met Sally. No judgements with pies!
Happy fall everyone!





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