Today begins my commitment back to this blog. I have taken a long time off and I miss being here! I miss sharing my recipes and photos with everyone who reads this (mainly my family), and I also want to continue developing my recipe writing skills. So today I’m back and sharing my new favorite item – Apple Pie.
For the longest time, making any sort of acceptable pie crust was a HUGE challenge. I had very low expectations for both the flavor and appearance of the crust. I started researching recipes and techniques and I found the Smitten Kitchen blog. She has a few pages detailing all things pie dough, explaining the how-to’s on how to make a pie crust with perfect flakiness. You can find her master lesson and recipe here.
If you can relate to my struggle with pie crust, then please give this recipe a try.
Now that I have this recipe I make pie A LOT. I like how creative I can be with the fruit (or chocolate :)) filling… but what’s even more fun than the flavor of the pie is the design that I can create with the pie crust…braids…lattice…leaves…
Smitten Kitchen recipe: makes 1 top and 1 bottom pie crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted, cold butter
1 cup ice cold water
1 egg (for the egg wash)
9 apples – 5 granny smith and 4 red delicious (to create a balanced sugar:acid)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp cinnamon
Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes and place back into the refrigerator. Mix 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients. If the cubes of butter are sticking together, try to separate them before adding them to the mix. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until you see small pea sized chunks. Do not blend the mixture any more than this.
Add 1/2 cup of cold water to the butter and flour and use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients. The goal here is to create a mixture that is just wet enough to form a ball and hold itself together, but not be too wet. There is a very fine line. That being said, add any additional water that you need 1 tbsp at a time to achieve this ball. I usually add another 4 -6 tbsp of water and I use my hand to gently gather than dough into a ball.
Once the ball is formed, cut the ball into two halves, press into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or overnight.
Wash, peel, and dice the 9 apples into 1-2 inch cubes. In a large skillet, melt 3 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, combine the sugar with the butter. Add in the cubed apples and stir to evenly coat the apples in the butter and sugar mixture. Cook the apples for 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Once most of the water from the apples has cooked out, turn off the heat. Add in 3 tbsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of nutmeg, mix well. Let the apples cool and assemble your pie crust.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll 1 half of the dough into a flat, 1/4 inch thick circle. Transfer this dough to your pie dish and place the apples inside. Now, you can roll the 2nd half of the pie dough into the same circle and place it on top of the apples. Seal the edges with a fork and cut small holes into the top of the dough with a knife. You can also get creative here and make a lattice or braided crust, or make leaf cut outs…anything you want! Make an egg wash by combining 1 egg with 2 tbsp water.Brush all of the exposed crust with the egg wash for some extra shine. If you have decorating sugar, now is the time to sprinkle that on top of the crust.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. While the oven preheats, place the pie back in the refrigerator for one final chill. When the oven is to temperature, bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and flakey. Let the pie cool and enjoy!