Friday, October 1, 2010

Single Girls' Apple Pie


When I was a little girl, whenever I had to go through something really difficult, my mom would let me pick whatever I wanted for dessert.  Because we didn’t typically have dessert in our house, this was a BIG. DEAL.  I used to look forward to my hand-picked dessert selection all week and that made the difficult event just a little more bearable (or at least the days leading up to it). 
 
On a recent Monday, a friend of mine was facing finalization of her divorce, and we had decided to make her and some other friends dinner following her court hearing.  The week before, I told her she could pick whatever she wanted for dessert (me: pat myself on back for thoughtful idea).  She very excitedly and without hesitation said, “apple pie!” (me: break out in cold sweat because there is no way I can bake an entire pie on a work day).  Oh well, the girl wants pie, so I’m gonna make pie happen. 


  


Although I have done a lot of baking, I have never made a pie crust (save for an occasional graham cracker base).  I suppose I could have bought a frozen or pre-made shell, but that didn’t seem right for a “special dessert” occasion.  Having never made pie dough, I didn’t know the rules for delicious crusts, like how long it can stay in the fridge before baking (discovery: at least one day!) or what kinds of fat make it the most flaky (sad news: lard, which I couldn’t bring myself to use).  So I called on the best cook I know, my Aunt Joanne (successful mom of 7 and grandmom of a number that grows by the day), who sent me her recipe for seriously delish apple pie that we have every Thanksgiving. 

I did almost all of the prep work the night before (peeling and slicing of apples, mixing and rolling of dough, and blending of dry ingredients).  Monday night all I had to do was toss the apples with the dry ingredients, slice some butter and roll out the top crust. 
 
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that my newly single friend loved her pie. 


Single Girls' Apple Pie
adapted from Aunt Joanne's delish Thanksgiving recipe

Crust:
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter (or 1/3 cup butter and 1/3 cup shortening or lard, should you feel so inclined)
2 tbs. cider vinegar
2 tbs. light cream or milk
 
Blend flour, salt, and butter with a pastry blender (if you don't have a pastry blender, cut butter into small chunks and incorporate with your hands into the dry ingredients until crumbly).  Add liquids and mix with hands until dough forms. Chill pastry 15 minutes; divide in half. Roll out on a well-floured board or pastry cloth. Line pie plate with half the pastry. 

To prepare a day in advance, wrap the pie plate lined with the bottom crust tightly in plastic wrap.  Roll the remaining dough in a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. To continue prep work in advance, peel and slice apples, cover generously with lemon juice (don't worry, you can't overdo it) and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. 

Filling
6 to 7 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples
1 cup brown sugar
5 tbs. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbs. butter

Topping:
1 tbs. turbinado sugar (regular sugar is fine, but the large turbinado crystals make for a really nice top crust)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Blend together sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Mix apples into dry ingredients so that apples are fully coated. Discard any loose flour/sugar that is not coating the apples. Line uncooked pie shell with the coated apple slices. Slice or chunk the butter into 8 pieces and place evenly over top of apples. If using dough from the day before, knead for a few minutes by hand and then roll out over a floured surface. 

Cover pie with remaining roll of pastry and seal edges (I rolled under and pressed down with a spoon). Brush the dough with beaten egg.  Mix sugar and cinnamon for the topping and sprinkle evenly over top of pie. Place aluminum foil over top of the pie and wrap around edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and remove foil. Cook for 40-45 more minutes or until nicely browned.
 
Serves 8

 

6 comments:

  1. I will be attempting this tomorrow. Wish me luck. I'm a terrible baker.

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  2. These pictures are great Katie. Well done! Of course, it helps that your product seems to be baked wonderfully.

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  3. OK, seriously, just read this again and it sounds wonderful. 8:15 in the morning and I want pie.

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  4. That is one very lucky single girl!

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  5. Aww, thanks Kip! And Toby, yes, she's very lucky. And very good looking as well. ;)

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