We went to an apple orchard over the weekend and my guys started to make noise about apple pie. The orchard had only Ida Red apples, available, but I like to use a variety in the interest of texture and flavor. Luckily there are lots of places to buy local apples!
Today I used cortland (2 of them), granny smith, golden delicious, johnamac, and empire. Why? Because they were the ones that looked best…because I can’t make up my mind…because they are all so gorgeous. There are 7,500 varieties of apple worldwide. The United States grows 2,500 (but only 100 are grown commercially). Why would I make a pie out of just 1 kind?
The recipe I started with was Apple Crumb Pie. I have been having a conversation with Terry of CartSmart Bags about pie crust. She renders her own lard to make pie crusts. Since I don't, I’m going to attribute my pie crust failure to that. I picked up a package Pillsbury pie crust (on sale!) and didn’t give it a second thought. Although the recipe calls for a crumb topping, I decided to go with a double crust since the package had 2 crusts and I’m really going to work on my pastry skills.
The hardest part of making an apple pie is peeling and cutting the apples, and that’s because it’s boring. That’s what hulu is for. I used my apple sectioning tool (until it broke), and cut each section into 4 slices. Since the granny smith and golden delicious were larger apples, I cut those slices in half crosswise.
Here is my gorgeous pie. ready for the top crust. Those apples are going to condense – so you need to start with a lot. Those are baking raisins in there. You could use regular raisins and plump them with hot water, but, baking raisins were on sale.
There are many ways to finish the top of a pie. Some bakers like milk, some like egg white…I like spray canola oil and sugar. My crust doesn’t get soggy, and I don’t waste most of an egg.
The pie goes in oven and the timer is set for 30 minutes, check for browning, 15 more minutes, check for browning and bubbling, 15 more minutes, it’s golden, and the juices that spilled onto the cookie sheet are dark – so I call it good, and let it sit in the oven for an hour because another project is taking up the counter space. Then I set it on the windowsill to cool completely. This is critical to the thickening process. Threaten people if you must, but never cut into a hot pie.
And there you have pie. The combination of apples means that there are some chunks of apple suspended in apples that have softened almost to the point of sauce. The different flavors of the apples play nicely together and are prominent – the cinnamon and nutmeg take on supporting roles (and you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever had canned pie filling).
Sometimes I plan dinner around dessert. Sometimes I let my son have pie for breakfast.
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