Food and Garden Dailies started as a way to record my family's favorite recipes. It has come in handy many times when I'm asked for a recipe. I simply email a link to the blog! But I couldn't just stick to recipes. The kitchen is tied to the garden in so many ways...and so I let you into my ever changing garden as well.

If you're interested in my all-time favorite recipes, check out this post first: My Favorite Recipes

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

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When Brian and I got married, we were given a general cookbook put out by McCalls (The New Revised and Updated McCalls Cookbook). It's rather unpretentious, and really doesn't get talked about much. But it has some really great basic recipes. Since it was probably the only cookbook I had when I started making holiday dinners (in my early 20s), most of my standard holiday recipes come from this book. Over the years I've changed it up a bit, but it really is my main source for Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners!

One of these great basics is for apple pie. I've never made an apple pie with any other recipe. This one is just sooooo good! I've tasted many apple pies, and I am forever comparing them to this recipe:

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

6 C tart apples (Granny Smith/about 4 apples or 2 lbs)

1 C sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice (made from equal parts of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground allspice)
1/4 C flour
dash salt

Add sliced apples, lightly toss.

2 pie crust shells*

Fill one pie crust and add the other on top. Seal edges and slit the top shell.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

To quickly peel, core, and slice the apples I use this handy gadget from Pampered Chef. I also swear by their stoneware for giving me nice bottom crusts (not soggy!). The pan shown here is the Deep Dish Baker (no longer sold as plain stoneware, but you can get it in cranberry or vanilla).

*Until this year I have relied on Pilsbury's refrigerated pie crust. It's pretty darn good, and most people think it tastes/looks homemade. In a pinch, it's better than any other store-bought crust. But, you really can't beat a homemade pie crust.

This year, I attempted my first homemade pie crust with the apple pie. The recipe came from a new favorite: Cook's Illustrated.

The Best Pie Dough
Double Crust 10-inch Regular or 9-inch Deep-Dish

When rolling out the dough, roll to a thickness of about 1/8-inch thick (about the thickness of two quarters).

For a double-crust 10-inch regular pie
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
13 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
4 - 5 tablespoons ice water

1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with some flour. cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add shortening and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of 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 1 tablespoon more ice water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into two balls with your hands, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten into 4-inch-wide disks. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

Time and temperature: I started the pie out at 425 degrees. Once the crust was nicely browned, I turned down the oven to 350 degrees. The result was delicious! I didn't have to use the pesky torn foil pieces around the edge of my pie (you keep the edges from burning). Next time I might brush a little water or egg over the raw upper crust and sprinkle on a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.

A handy trick: I had trouble lifting the bottom crust up and placing it in the pie pan. It kept breaking apart. So, I rolled it out on a Tupperware pastry sheet I own, set the pie pan (upside down) centered on the crust, and with the help of my husband, carefully flipped the pan/crust/pastry sheet. The crust landed nice and neat right in the pie pan!

My crust might not look like anything fancy (it was only my second home-made crust!), but it sure tasted good!! And when it comes right down to it, taste is what matters most!


~dawn~ said...

Is that the PC deep dish pie plate or the regular deep dish baker?

Looks yummy and I might have to try that for christmas!

Angelina said...

I have never been good at making apple pie but maybe I just need to try your recipe for it. It looks really yummy.

dg said...

Dawn, it's the Deep Dish Baker, which is no longer sold "plain." You can buy it in cranberry or vanilla, and it now has handles on it (at twice the cost of my old pan!). I love it for pies, as it makes a BIG pie (11"!).

Angelina, the inside part is can't go wrong. And the only thing you can really do wrong to the crust is to have it lumpy, bumpy, and mis-shapen (like mine!!). I'm hoping to get better at the presentation!!