Friday, December 17, 2010

Apple Pie

Everyone has their own opinion about which apples make the best pies. Tart or sweet, dense or mealy, skin on or off (ok, I'm the only person in the world who prefers to make it with the skins on). It annoys the clerks at the grocery store, but I put at least three kinds into the pie, to create a difference in texture and so the best qualities of each blend in. The traditional Granny Smith is represented for structure. Galas and Fujis aren't as tart, but still hold up well if you want to use them as your base. Golden Delicious and Pippin are also on the tart side. Stay away from Red Delicious. Those are eating apples that don't cook well. Basically, any kind that isn't entirely one smooth red color will work.

There's also debate on how thin to slice the apples. When I use my spiral slicer, the slices come out so thin that they tend to dry out in the pie. The thicker slices you get from a wedger/corer (or cutting by hand) work better. If you cut each wedge in half crosswise, you get nice chunks that are bite-sized and easy to slice out of the finished pie.

That old image of pies cooling on the window sill isn't just something made up to sound quaint. Let any fruit pie cool to under 100º before serving. Fresh out of the oven, all the juices are still boiling and making a syrup that will gel and hold together the filling. If you serve it too soon, all that syrup will just ooze around and the pie won't look as nice. It doesn't have to go on the window sill, just any place that isn't the oven.

This is based on the Bible's apple pie

2 lbs apples
1 Tb lemon juice
2 Tb flour
1 Tb butter
2/3 C sugar (more or less depending on tartness of apples)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tb milk

1. Prepare bottom crust, leaving a slight overhang for crimping later, and place in pie pan. Set aside.

2. Fill medium bowl with cold water. Add lemon juice. Peel, core, and slice apples to desired size and place in bowl. Set aside.

3. In small bowl, cut together flour and butter until mealy. Cut in sugar and spices.

4. Preheat oven to 425º. Drain apples. Place half of the apples in the pie pan. Sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture. Pile on rest of apples, then rest of sugar. The mound will be considerably higher than the rim of the pie plate.

5. Roll out top crust and place on filling. Cut some kind of vent, either simple slits with a knife or something fancy with cookie cutters. Crimp edges to seal crust and clean up rim. Brush crust lightly with milk, avoiding the rim. Place on a cookie sheet (to catch any drippings) and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until crust is golden. Cool before serving.

serves 6 to 8

note: Once raw pie is sealed, it can be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Remove, preheat oven, brush with milk, and bake. It doesn't have to reach room temperature before going in the oven.

Difficulty rating  :)

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