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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Apple Pie

A word on pies.

I love Pies.  I love to bake them, to east them, to create them, and most of all, to share them.  They are nearly as versatile as cookies and never turned away at a holiday table.  I am going to share with you several of my favorite holiday pie recipes, from the traditional to the not-so.  The first is one that everyone loves, but people are so hesitant to make.  For what reason, I am not quite sure, but trust me, it's a lot easier than you think.  I DO admit to using shortcuts when crafting pies, namely the refrigerated, rolled-up dough that comes in a plastic sleeve.  I prefer them to the frozen, pre-shaped crusts that come already in a tinfoil pan.  They seem to work better and, the plus side is you can be creative with them the way the frozen variety does not allow. 

Case in point: Pie Eating Spider!!!  So that's my simple view on crust.  If you are really a traditionalist, you can make pastry from scratch.  I have done it, it IS delicious, but a royal pain in the bottom if you ask me, and difficult to get right. Here's a link to try that if you're daring
enough:Pie Pastry
So if you're up for this, start with the rolled crust, see how she goes, then progress from there.

So: Apple Pie.
Summer and fall favorite, oh who am i kidding, favorite any time of the year for most Americans.  But one thing is for sure, when fall rolls around and the farm stands and local stores fill with fresh fruit, it's hard to resist buying an armload and making pie.  For me anyway.  The best pie making apples in my opinion are Macintosh and Granny Smith.  I use them both in about half and half proportions.  My husband claims that Golden Delicious also work well, a suggestion I have not yet tried.  Whatever you do, though, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT use red delicious apples!!!  You will end up with a bland, mealy pie that is a shadow of what it could be. This is a simple, basic, no-frills recipe but I promise you it is a winner.

Apple Pie

Preheat Oven to 425
2 refrigerated pie crusts, unrolled
Place one crust gently in the pan and press it into place.  Cut the excess off, leaving about 1/2 inch hanging over the edge. Prick with a fork many times to steam vent the pie, so you wont get bubbles in the crust.

8 cups apples, peeled, sliced thin
       (I'm spoiled and have an apple peeler corer slicer doohickey, but cut em any way you want.)
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp cold butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl, Put apples into a large bowl, large enough to accommodate all apples and toss them. Pour dry ingredient mix over apples and toss to coat. Turn the mixture into a prepared pie plate. (that is, a pie plate with the crust laid into it.) Dot with pieces of butter.  Cover with second pie crust carefully.  Seal edges.  You can either do this with your fingers, or a fork, a spoon, or by doing fancy finger-crimping. There is a good article here about crimping. It's not as hard as it looks and it really gives your pies a fancy, finished look.  Cut a few vents in the top crust of the pie to allow steam to escape.  You can get creative with this if you like. My ghost and spider pies for halloween helped to vent the steam as well as creating a festive fun pie piece of art! This is a double-crust pie and since you are using friut, it will ooze and bubble and probably spill over the edges of the pan no matter how well you seal it. I usually put a large piece of aluminum foil in the oven under the pie to catch the drippings and avoid burning them to the bottom of my oven.  Smoked pie= bad.  Bake 40-50 minutes. Then cool and enjoy!  I love pies, and this is one of many you will see in the coming months!!

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