Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Apple of My Eye

Of all the delicates which Britons try
To please the palate of delight the eye,
Of all the sev'ral kings of sumptuous far,
There is none that can with apple pie compare.

My son went apple picking and brought me a bag full of apples.  We made applesauce with some but he wanted to make his very own apple pie . . . from scratch.  All I did was slice the apples and offer advise, he did the rest.  It came out good.  It wasn’t the prettiest apple pie you ever saw but was yummy.

Here’s how he did it . . .

Since the pie crust dough has to be refrigerated for an hour, we started there.

Making dough for the crust:

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour (For A Two Crust Pie)
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter Cut into Small Cubes or ½ Cup Vegetable Shortening/Lard
  • 1/4 Cup Ice Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar

We used the Kitchen Aid mixer with the mixing attachment to make the dough. 

In the mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and about a tablespoon of white sugar.  Add the fat of your choice - shortening makes for a flakier crust but we also like the buttery taste so we used half butter and half shortening.  Mix until the mixture takes on a coarse, lumpy consistency. Its fine if a few small chunks of butter remain.  

Sprinkle in cold water until the dough is no longer crumbly and can be lifted and handled without splitting apart.  Separate into two equal pieces, wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to make the crust, place half of the dough between two pieces of wax paper (to prevent sticking and to make for easier cleanup).
  Flatten into a circule using a rolling pin until it is a bit larger than your pie pan.  It shouldn’t be more than a half an inch thick.  
Remove the top piece of wax paper.  Place the pie pan upside down on the crust, make sure it’s centered.  I slip a cutting board under the bottom piece of wax paper for rigidity then turn the crust and the pie plate over and peel the wax paper off. 

Press the dough into the pan. 

Roll out the second half of dough in the same manner as the first and set aside.

To make the pie filling you will need:
  • 1/4 Cup White
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 6-8 Apples (we used McIntosh, but I prefer Granny Smiths)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (if desired)
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt
Peel, core and slice the apples. Mix together the white and brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and nutmeg if you are using them, and a pinch of salt.
Add the apples and try to fully cover each piece with the sugar mixture.  (If it was *MY* pie I would mix some rum into the mixture)
 Pour the apples into the prepared pie pan. The apples will likely stack higher than the top edge of the pan, but they will shrink during baking.
Top with the second crust.  Put a few slashes in the center of the crust to vent the steam.   Press the edges of the bottom crust and top crust together to form a firm seal.  Mix the egg with a few teaspoons of water. Brush this egg wash over the dough, especially the edges. I also place strips of tin foil on the edges to prevent them from over cooking then remove during the last 15 minutes of backing.
Put the pie on the top or middle rack of a pre-heated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about an hour.

Let cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before diving in.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and or whipped cream.  Or my absolute favorite, serve the warmed pie with a slice of super sharp cheddar cheese!

 Pie facts and what-not

The unincorporated community of Pie Town, New Mexico is named in honor of the apple pie.

Originally pies were simply a means of storing and preserving food.  Pies were filled with foodstuffs and then folded over – similar to what a Calzone would look like.  The crust was very hare and not meant to be eaten.  

Shoo-fly pie is a wet-bottom molasses pie that was originally used to sit on windowsills to attract flies away from the kitchen.

During the Dark Ages in Old England pies were originally called “coffins” or “coffyns”.  Morticians eventually borrowed the word of “coffyn,” for somewhat obvious and very morbid reasons.



Same Thing

A pie resembles a box to bury someone in.  A pie is often made with a dead animal inside.  So, there you have it.

From the cookbook (1390) The Forme of Cury a recipe “For To Make Tartys in Applis”

Tak gode Applys and gode Spryeis and Figys and reyfons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed co-lourd wyth Safron wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake well.

And from the cookbook (1600) Proper newe Booke of Cokerye (declarynge what maner of meates be beste in season, for al times in the yere, and how they ought to be dressed, and  serued at the table, bothe for fleshe dayes, and fyshe dayes)

To make pyes of grene apples - Take your apples and pare them cleane and core them as ye wyll a Quince, then make youre coffyn after this maner, take a lyttle fayre water and half a dyche of butter and a little Saffron, and sette all this upon a chafyngdyshe tyll it be hoate then temper your flower with this sayd licuor, and the whyte of two egges and also make youre coffyn and ceason your apples with Sinemone,Gynger and Suger ynoughe. Then putte them into your coffin and laye halfe a dyshe of butter above them and so close your coffin, and so bake them.

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