Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dorrie and Debbie--AKA the Apple Pie Post

The reason I have my favorite apple pie is because of my Aunt Debbie.

When I was a girl, she was the "wonder aunt"-- the one who always had the best food, and the coolest "toys." (She also had the best cat named Noodle.) She's probably the one I was imitating when I bustled about in the kitchen at age five. Because the woman, quite simply, can cook. (She also can write, but that's a whole 'nother post.)

When I see her now, the conversation naturally goes to cooking. She and I share ideas, and I always enjoy seeing how she works in the kitchen. And after trying my hardest to get the spices right on apple pie, I finally asked for her recipe. And then, really without knowing, she introduced me to my favorite pie crust.

You see, when she started to realize just how much I like to cook, she started giving me birthday presents along that line-- like Dori Greenspan's Baking:From My Home to YoursI took one look at the "Good for Everything Pie Dough", and knew I had to try it. I've used it, without fail, since then.

That pie dough, along with her never-fail, super-simple apple pie recipe, is the reason I think I have found the best apple pie. If I haven't, I don't know it.  :)

Good for Anything Pie Dough
Dori says this dough is enough for one double-crust pie, but I usually get three pie shells out of it.   That means I make an apple pie, and then freeze a pie shell, ready for quiche or another open-faced pie. I also freeze any leftover pie dough to make pie crust cookies.

3 c. flour (I usually make my crust at least 1/3 whole wheat/sprouted flour)
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 sticks butter (12 T.) very cold (or frozen), cut into half-inch pieces
1/3 c. shortening (LARD, of course!)
1/2 c. ice water

Combine flour, sugar, and salt into the food processor; pulse to mix.  Add butter and lard and pulse until fat is the size of small peas.  Begin adding ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough begins to barely clump together.  If it doesn't start clumping, the add a little more water and  run the processor with a couple of long pulses.  When the dough is a shaggy mass, turn out onto a surface.  Form at least two (or three) balls of dough and wrap with wax paper or plastic.  Chill for at least an hour.

Apple Pie

1 recipe of double-crust pie dough

6 c. apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly (I like to use the food processor.)
(Aunt Debbie always uses Granny Smith, but I've had good success with mixing Granny Smith with one other, non- cooking variety or Mutsus, my favorite local apple.)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 c. sugar
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 t. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
dash of salt-- especially if using unsalted butter
butter, cut into thin slices

Grease and flour a pie pan.  (Recently I've discovered a cast iron pie pan that is amazing.  I would recommend it to anyone.)

Roll out one pie crust thinly, lifting and turning the dough to create an even sheet.  (Lifting the dough also helps you realize if your dough is sticking.)  Fold in half or fourths and transfer carefully into your pan.  Once unfolded, lightly press into the pan to remove any air pockets.  Allow dough to drape over the sides, but trim to one inch around the pan. Place in the refrigerator if the apples need to be prepared.

Sprinkle apples with lemon juice, and mix in flour, spices and salt together.  Place all ingredients into pie pan. Dot with butter-as much as you feel like you can! (I usually use 2 Tablespoons.)

Roll out top crust as before, and place on top of pie.  Trim the top  to just over the edge of the pan, like this:

Roll the edge of the bottom crust on top, folding and sealing them together.  If you wish, crimp the edges.  (Mine usually don't look like I've done anything like that when the oven heat hits it-- I still try, though.)

Vent the crust, cutting 4-5 slashes into the top crust with a sharp knife.  For extra-special treatment, make leaves with the left-over dough, and place them around the middle near the vents.  Then brush the crust with egg white, and sprinkle a tiny bit of sugar on top.  

Place a cookie sheet (preferably one with a lip) in the oven, below where you plan to bake the pie.  (This will collect extra juices, because this pie will leak. It just will.) Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes, until the pie is golden-brown and bubbling.  I usually check halfway through and cover (I place another cookie sheet on a rack above the pie)  if I feel like it's browning too quickly.

It's best if you can wait at least an hour to dig into your pie-- that way, the juices will slowly settle back into the apples, and your crust won't be swimming in delicious pie-juice.   You can serve it a la mode, preferably with real ice cream--but Bryer's does in a pinch.


Jill said...

Beautiful pie! Looks too good to eat. Maybe after 20 pictures or so I might would let someone snatch a taste! I bet it is as wonderful as it looks...

Marie said...

Heh--well, this one did get eaten! I actually made this a while ago, else you would have seen it in my new-ish cast iron pie pan. :) God Bless!