Fall is back and I came up with a new version of my mom's classic apple pie and decided to share it. Also, just to comment on my lame photography skills...I work so the only time I can take pictures is at night and it gets dark here early now. Anyway, I figure I'll learn more as I go along and hopefully one day I'll look back upon these photos and cringe more than I do now.
Back to pie. I've always made the same pie crust, same filling as my mom did. The more I learned about pie, the more I've wanted to try new things. I used this pie crust recipe from the Pioneer Woman and it's turned out great every time I've used it. The only change I made is to use vegetable shortening in place of the lard since lard kind of grosses me out more than icky white vegetable shortening. It's all in what you can stand to deal with. I keep the butter and the shortening in the freezer so it's really, really cold. If you think about it, cut the butter into cubes before you freeze it, otherwise you could grate it on a box grater or just get a sharp knife and cut it carefully.
The secret to the filling of this pie is boiled cider. I had never made it before but for some unknown reason, I bought some apple cider and nobody drank it which was not a surprise at all. I don't even know what I bought it for. Anyway, I decided to boil it down so I could use it in some unforseen project. This was it. I added some to the pie filling and it was really, really good. It's the new thing in the pie.
Anyway, you shouldn't let pie scare you at all. It's really very forgiving most of the time. This crust recipe is not fragile. It's almost springy so it holds together really well. I always roll my crust out between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll it from the center out, turning the paper as needed. Once you get it to the right size to fit in your pan, remove the top sheet and then place it back on and flip the dough over. Remove the bottom sheet (which is now on top). Then I flip it over into the pie plate and adjust as necessary and remove the other waxed paper sheet. Fill the pie and roll out the top crust. Don't forget the vents in the top! Those are the cuts that my Grandma and my Mom always made so now I do it too. You can do it with tiny cutters or whatever you choose. A quick brush of milk or heavy cream if you've got it and then into the oven. I don't even like pie and I ate this.
6 cups Granny Smith Apples (or combo of apples of your choice), peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon (plus some...all of my mom's recipes say plus some at the cinnamon) I just give it an extra shake (for those who like to measure - 1 T + 1 t)
3 (or more) Tablespoons boiled cider (optional) - see instructions below
2 Tablespoons butter, cut into tiny cubes
1 pie crust (recipe below)
Prepare your pie crust as directions indicate, lining the bottom of the pie plate with dough.
Toss apples, sugar, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl until well combined. Put the apples into the prepared pie crust. Dot the top of the apples with the butter. Top with other pie crust. Crimp edges. Bake at 375 for about an hour. If the crust is browning too much, cover it lightly with foil during baking. I find it best to put the pie in the oven on a sheet pan (preferably lined with a silpat or parchment for easy clean up). Otherwise, the floor of your oven may suffer from overflow and that is never a good thing. It's a smoky mess. My grandma used to say that the only good pie was one that overflowed so I stand by that and always use a silpat.
Let cool, slice and enjoy. If you cut it too soon, all the juice runs everywhere. Just ask my son. He found out the hard way. I store this in the refrigerator.
This makes enough for a double crust pie
2 1/2 cups all purpose or pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon sugar (for a fruit pie only)
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into chunks or grated on a box grater
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening or leaf lard, cut into chunks
1/4 cup ice cold water
Place 2 cups of flour, salt, & sugar if using in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix. Put in the butter and shortening and pulse until it looks like big crumbs and is starting to come together. You can do all of this in a bowl with a pastry cutter if you want. It's just quicker in a processor. Now add 1/2 cup flour, pulse a couple of times and then add the water. You just want the dough to just come together. No overmixing. You can take the dough out of the food processor and add the water and stir with a wooden spoon to avoid overworking the dough. Too much messing around will lead to a tough dough.
Separate the dough into two equal pieces and flatten to a disk. You can wrap these in plastic wrap and put in a freezer bag to use later or get some waxed paper or parchment paper and roll them out right away. If your dough is really sticky, sprinkle the paper with a bit of flour. Roll out to the desired diameter. Start from the center and roll outward, turning the paper as needed. Place into pie pan and put in refrigerator while you make the filling. Roll out second disk of dough, cut out vents if necessary. Place on top of pie, crimp and bake!
Pie recipe is from my mom. The boiled cider is from the Washington Post and the pie crust is barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman. All are linked above.
Happy fall and don't be afraid of pie. It looks impressive even if it's messy because it's homemade.