Not just the memories of childhood that the smell of pie in the oven can conjure, but also a rite of passage. Does that make sense? A feeling of connection to the past. As I baked this pie, I thought of how many women in the past had done just this. Unlike when I make a plated dessert for a restaurant menu, which I do enjoy, baking a pie makes me feel part of something.
OK, sorry about getting so touchy-feely about a pie. Lets move on, shall we.
Of course, every good pie starts with the Pie crust. Sometime when I see those pie judging contest on TV, and they go on and on about the method used in making the crust, I wonder if I should be more careful in making mine.
But, so far this method has worked for me. I do think it is very important to use very cold butter.
Basic Flaky Pie Crust
(From the Pie Bible)
7 ounces unsalted butter, frozen and cubed
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2/12 lbs of apples peeled, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thin.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated ugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 ounce ofunsalted butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
10 min before making the dough, place the cubed butter in the freezer. In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, place the flour and the salt. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the butter, 1/2 at a time and pulse until the the mixture resembles course meal.
Now add the vinegar and half the water. Pulse 5 or 6 times. Place some of the dough between you fingers, to see if it comes together. It it doesn't add the remaining water. Pulse again a couple of times. Check to see if it comes together. If it doesn't than add a little more water a teaspoon at a time until it does. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap forming two small disks. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but over night is better.
Making the pie:
You will need a 9inch pie pan.
Take one of the disks out of the refrigerator and let sit for 10 min. to soften a little for easier rolling.
While the dough is warming, place the apples, lemon juice, sugars, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and toss. Let sit at room temp. for at least 30 min.. This will allow the apples to release their juice.
Roll the dough out large enough to cut out a 12 inch circle 1/8 of an inch thick. Transfer to the pie tin. Trim the dough to meet the end of the pie pan. Place back in the refrigerator.
Next place the apples in a colander over a bowl to capture the juices. The apples should release at least a 1/2 cup of juice. Place the juice in a sauce pan with the butter.
Over medium high heat, boil down this liquid to about 1/3 cup. If the apples produced more liquid, you will have a litter more. That's fine.
Now, toss the apples with the cornstarch until all traces of cornstarch disappear. Add the reduced liquid with the apples. Take out the second disk of dough out and let sit for ten minutes.
Remove the bottom dough out of the refrigerator and place the apples in the pie tin.
Roll out the top dough, egg wash the edge of the bottom dough, place the top dough over the apples, tuck it under the bottom edge and crimp the edges.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
Place the pie in the refrigerator for 10 min to rest and chill. This will help with shrinkage.
Remove from the refrigerator place on a sheet pan. Egg wash the pie and make slits on the top to release steam.
Place the pie in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.
If the edges of the pie start to get too dark, cover with tin foil and continue to bake.
After the pie has baked, I like to test it by sticking a paring knife through one of the slits to make sure the apples are tender enough for the knife to go through. But not too soft.
When done, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut right it.
Now I do not have any photos of it sliced because this was a special order from one of my customers, but according to her, It was to die for.