Monday, October 10, 2011

Apple Pie

Fall is apple, cinnamon, and golden, flaky, buttery pastry. Nothing is a delightful and homely mix of all those flavors as a golden slice of apple pie. Served a la mode or just by itself, apple pie rocks! One of the mainstays of americana, apple pie  is sure to please most of us. Like other old dishes, there are as many variations in the secondary ingredients and method, as there are families. Betty Neels has dished out many an apple pie and apple tart in her books. This recipe, a combination of a few recipes I have come across in my search, is one I like, and  uses partially cooked filling .

apple pie

You will need a deep 9", preferably glass or ceramic pie pan.

For the pie

1. 1 recipe pastry for a 9" double crust pie -- recipe follows after this

2. filling ingredients :
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
      1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/8 tsp salt
    3/4 cup sugar, + 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    3 lb apples -- 6 -8 apples medium to large-- mix of Red Delicious and Granny Smith or any other type -- peeled, cored and sliced -- 1/4" thick
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice

(I like my apple pie sweet rather than tart, so I use just one Granny Smith. I have used Gala too, at other times)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter. Toss apples in it till glazed. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, till apples are partially cooked.
Stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, sugars, and cornstarch.
Raise heat and bring to a boil. Cook apples on high heat until juices become thick.
Transfer the filling  to a baking sheet. Let it cool.

Pour the filling into the bottom crust in a pie pan. Cover with the second crust. Crimp the edge.
Cut slits into the top crust.
Brush with milk and sprinkle sugar on top. Or, you may brush with a little beaten egg.

Place in the lower third rack of the preheated oven.
Bake for an hour or more ( or less, depending on the oven-- just watch for the bubbling and the browning) until the crust is a golden brown, and the filling bubbles.

 If the top crust starts to brown faster, cover it loosely with foil. It is a good idea to cover the edges with strips of foil right at the start.

PS: Once the pie is out of the oven, place it on a wire rack, and let it set -- for at least 3 hours. Do not cut into it right away. Patience pays! :)

For the pie crusts:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chilled butter or shortening -- I use butter, because I like the taste better
6 tbsp ice water

Combine the flour and salt using a whisk. Cut the butter into the  flour mixture until coarse crumbs form.
Add water slowly and combine everything using a fork or your fingers until it holds together. if it needs more ice water, add 1 tsp to 1 tbsp more, drop by drop. It shouldn't be smooth.

Divide into two halves. Form two disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least half an hour.
Place each disk on floured surface, and roll out evenly into two 12" " circles. Using the rolling pin, lift one crust and line the pan. Pour in the cooled filling. Now place the other rolled pastry on top of filling. Cut vents on top using a sharp knife, to let steam escape.

Bake as said before.

Note: Readymade pie crusts in pans are available. But they are smaller, even though it says 9". Frozen crusts are available, and are allright, but not as good as homemade. The crust in the pic here is homemade .

Of course there are plenty of sites on the internet that gives you good recipes for apple pie. Just google it, experiment, have fun with it. This one is tailored for my taste and ease of making -- like I said it is a combination of methods. You might find something better suited for you. The fun is in the search too ,and the web is a treasure trove :)

Serve warm pie with vanilla ice cream on top for true comfort food experience. :)

here's a tartlette I made using pie pastry and a little fruit,sugar, spice, milk and egg. will give details later.

mixed fruit tartlets

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