Sunday, September 25, 2011

Homemade Apple Pie

I suppose it's a bit ridiculous to spend my days off making apple pies.. but I think a part of me really needed to prove that I could do it from beginning to end. And it wasn't exactly work... baking is my stress relief! And the result... simply beautiful. 

I followed this recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The key is to keep a pie crust cold - if you plan ahead, it would be good to refrigerate the flour beforehand.  

Sweet Pie Crust 
All amounts double, separated - perfect for an 8- or 10-inch 2-crust pie. 
1 cup unbleached white flour + 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour 
1 stick butter (1 cup), cold and cubed
1 tsp sugar 
1/2 tsp salt 
3 Tbsp ice water 

6-8 Large sweet-to-tart apples (Like Gravensteins)
1 cup Sugar 
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp other spices (cardamom, nutmeg, cloves)
1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. 

Cube the butter, making sure it's cold. 

Add the butter to the food processor and process for only about 10 -12 seconds - until the resulting mixture looks like cornmeal. 

If you over-process it will warm up the dough, which you don't want. 

Pour the dough into a bowl and add the ice water. 

Mix with your hands gently until you can form it into a ball. If it's too wet add a little more flour, and if it's too dry add a little more ice water. 

Wrap it in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can store it for a couple days in the fridge or a few weeks in the freezer, or longer. 

Repeat to make the second crust. 

While the dough is chilling you can work on the apples! These are BelleWood's Gravenstein apples which are excellent for baking due to their sweet-tart quality. 

Slice and core the apples however you see fit really. Some of these were too big for my slicer/corer, so I did them by hand. It had me pining for the machines at work! 

Then you want to make sure there is no core remaining on your apple slices - as the core will not cook and is not very palatable. 

Slice off the skin as well. 

After all the apples are sliced you can toss to coat with cinnamon, sugar, spices, and the apple cider vinegar. 

Then take the dough balls out of the fridge and sprinkle a surface with a little flour. 

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is 1-2 inches wider than your pie dish. 

Using the rolling pin, lift up the dough and gently lay it onto the pie dish. 

Then press the dough into the dish. 

You can cut off any excess easily with a knife. 

Fill the crust with the filling. 

The roll out your second crust. 

Place it over the filling. 

Trim off the edges leaving about an inch hanging over the side. 

Tuck the dough under and press to seal to the bottom crust. 

Then you can use your thumb to press in a pretty pattern around the edge of the crust. 

Be creative!!! 

Place a few slits in a circle using a sharp knife to allow to pie to steam. 

Then place the pie on a cookie sheet (the helps to cook the bottom crust and the catch any juice from the filling that may drip over the pie). Bake at 400F for 50-60 minutes, using a pie crust shield or a ring of foil to prevent the top crust from cooking too quickly (take this off in the last 20 minutes of baking). You know the pie is done when you stick a butter knife through on of the slits and meet no resistance. 

Let it cool for at least 2 hours - that way you serve slices of pie and not apple slosh. You can always reheat the slices in the microwave. 

I sprinkled it with a bit of raw sugar to give the pie a little sparkle. 

I am so excited! 

Then it can serve it up with a bit of vanilla ice cream and apple cider for a game night. 

Stress relieved for sure! Though I'm probably not going to do this again until Thanksgiving. Or if I get really stressed about finishing my masters degree... so I'm sure it'll be sooner than later. =) 

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 

What's your stress relief?