Last week, I got a bug to make pie. First, I should tell you: I read cookbooks. I read them as you would a novel. At the end of my day, when I am in bed and doing my late-night reading, very often I bust out a cookbook. Food porn, you know? I found myself reading the whole pie section in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. It occurred to me that I had not made a great foray into pie-making. When I was in high school, and obsessed with baking, I was obsessed with cakes. Although there were about two times that I tried out pies, I remember that they did not turn out as well.
So I made the decision that I would start with the most sought after: amazing apple pie. I’ve never had apple pie that was amazing. My mother isn’t big on baking so we were more into store-bought pies, which are fine (microwave it and it’s pretty good!). But most of the time, I could do without apple pie. It really made me wonder what I was missing out on.
So I did a bunch of research. Best crust recipe, best apple pie recipe, etc. And I came up with this: A crust recipe from my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. I’m on her site, like everyday. I also found a highly recommended apple pie recipe on allrecipes.com. Coincidentally, I don’t usually like to use recipes on that site because they are usually not what the cook originally sent in (allrecipes.com edit the recipes) and you have to read comments to get the best out of the recipe. But, I was gung ho on making the pie, so I did it!
The end result? Heavenly, mind-blowing, buttery, flaky, sweet pie. My tiny apartment was filled with the scent of cinnamon. It was like the pie made everything sugary and tender. I couldn’t wait until it was completely cooled off. After 15 pie dreaming minutes I cut into it. The best pie I’ve ever had in my entire life. My dinner guest and I ate our dessert in silence.
As soon as you can, make this pie. It’s a bit of tedious work, but it is certainly worth it. It’s excellent cold too (yes, there were several late-night sneaky bites). It’s good with cake batter ice cream. And, the third piece is just a delicious as the first. Fuck, I ate a lot of pie.
All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough
From: Smitten Kitchen
Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.
I didn’t have a pastry cutter, so I ended up using a fork and then my fingers. I was putting my pastry in the fridge or freezer frequently because it was a hot day and it kept losing it’s cool.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
- Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl — I like to use a very wide one, so I can get my hands in — whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Get out your pastry blender.
- Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later.
- Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.
- Pack it up: Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.
- Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.
Apple Pie by Grandma Ople
I did do some modification. The point of the recipe below is that it’s different from a traditional apple pie. But, what I wanted was traditional so I added cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to the heated batter. Also, I sliced my apples super thin. My biggest complaint about applie pies is that the apple slices are just too big and chunky. The slices I made were mandolin-thin. I also covered the edges with foil while I baked it. I was a bit paranoid that I would burn it. Finally, I used simplyrecipes.com’s lattice tutorial.
- 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (see above :)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.