I was on twitter the other day being all “I’m making a pie! Yay!”
And people were like, “I wish I could make pies” and “I would never try to make my own crust.”
I will be honest…baking pies is easy as, well, pie.
Seriously. The saying came from somewhere and I’m going to go with the fact that baking pies is really not as hard as some people think.
So I’m going to go ahead and give you the apple pie recipe that my mom and I always follow and always get rave reviews on.*
Ok, usually I use Ida Reds, but this year I went with Granny Smith Apples because I needed an apple with a bit more…tart to it. You’ll see why as we go.
So first, peel and slice the apples. I usually put them in the pie plate so I can make sure I have enough to fill the pie. Then I dump them into a big bowl with about a tablespoon or so of lemon juice.
Next, in a mediumish sized bowl, mix up 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 Tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and just a pinch of nutmeg.
Once that is all mixed together, pour it over the apples and sort of mix it around/toss it like a salad until all the pieces are covered.
Then set it to the side.
Now it’s time for the crust.
For those of you who believe crust-making is hard, I’m about to blow your mind.
In a big bowl, take that dough-kneader thing (or a fork…or you hands) and whisk together 2 1/4 cups of flour and just under a teaspoon (so like, maybe 3/4 teaspoon). Then add 2/3 cup of either butter or Crisco. I find Crisco a bit easier to work with since it’s already soft, but as far as your health goes (which I am assuming you are not paying attention to if you are making a pie with almost a cup of sugar in it), butter is better for you because it’s natural.
Anyway, I busted out the Crisco.
You take you kneader (or fork or hands) and work the Crisco in until you get little balls about the size of a pea.
Now, you are ready to add the water.
The key to this is to add it one or two Tablespoons at a time because you don’t want the dough to get too wet.
So this is what I do: a couple tablespoons and then I use a fork to mix the dry with the water until it’s just moist. I want it to all stick together (no crumbs in the bottom of the bowl), but I don’t want wet slimy dough either. So I try to get as much moistened with each addition of water as I can. I think I used about 9 Tablespoons total on this pie adding two at a time until I got up to six and then adding one at a time more after that.
You should be able to pick up a nice ball of dough.
Split it in half, and put one ball of it onto a lightly dusted surface and roll it out as square/round as you can.
Then roll it around the pin and transfer it to your lightly greased pie plate.
Push the dough so it is in all the crannies of the pie plate and so that it goes right up to the top (with maybe a little hanging over, but I usually compensate for that with the top crust).
Now, this is when you could put your apples in. But this year, I decided to whip up a quick caramel mix first and spread that all over the bottom of the crust. Which is why I went with Granny Smiths. They are a better apple to have caramel with. Mmm!
So first caramel and THEN apples.
But I don’t dump my apples in because then all the juices go in there too. Which SEEMS like a good idea, until those juices become steam and puff up your top pie crust and when it cools it deflates and looks sad.
Or it boils over all over your oven.
So instead, I pick out my apples from the bowl by hand so all the juice stays in the bottom (ps, because they have been sitting there, all the extra juice as oozed out to the bottom of the bowl. Some people put the apples in a strainer over the bowl so they don’t have to hand pick the apples out, but I am not that smart).
Hand-placing the apples also ensures that they will all be lying flat.
now you can roll out the top crust and place it over the pie.
Pinch the top crust with the bottom to make sure it is sealed.
Then you can either poke some holes in the top with a fork, or cut some slits in the top. Either way, steam needs to be able to escape or you will have apple pie all over your oven.
I also place the pie on an old jellyroll pan (or cookie sheet) just in case there is any juice drippage. Nobody wants that burnt stank in their oven.
I bake this pie for an hour at 375 degrees F.
Then let it cool on a wire rack or, like I have here, a slotted trivet.
It’s best served warm with a bit hunk of Hudsonville Vanilla Ice Cream plopped on top, but I can eat this pie for DAYS.
You know, if it lasts that long.
What was your favorite dish this Thanksgiving? Or ever?
*Pie recipe mostly from my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book 12th Edition.