Ever shy away from making a certain meal or attempting a certain technique because it just seems too hard, and when you finally do it, you want to facepalm yourself for not trying it earlier? For example, I have never made overnight oats, even though every other food blogger in the universe raves about how amazing and easy they are. To me it just seems complex for a truly inexplicable reason. Same goes for macarons (although admittedly those are way more challenging), homemade peanut butter (again, easiest thing ever I’m sure), and homemade ice cream. Regarding the latter, I did register for an ice cream maker though, so hopefully sometime soon you’ll be seeing ice cream recipes up here!
A lot of people have a similar unfounded fear of making and rolling out pie crust. I’ll admit I did for a while, too. That all changed when I went to an amazing Pie Party at the GE Kitchens last year where they demonstrated the easiest possible method for making failproof pie crusts every time- just a few simple ingredients, a food processor, and some parchment paper. You can find that recipe here for my favorite Quickie Quiche- just add a tablespoon of sugar to make this perfect for a dessert pie.
For the July 4 holiday, I knew I wanted to make an All-American apple pie. A birthday cake for America, if you will. I wouldn’t say I’m the country’s biggest patriot, but I do love me some fireworks, good friends, and an ice cold beer out on the Hudson River to celebrate the land of my birth when the time calls for it. Besides, who doesn’t love a homemade apple pie?
Even though I am devoted to my food processor crust recipe, I had heard about using a handheld manual pastry blender to make pie crusts with no electric equipment whatsoever. Since I am
a masochist always looking to try out a new technique, I figured I’d try out Deb from Smitten Kitchen’s all-butter, from-scratch, 100% elbow grease pie crust recipe- I think the original colonists would have been proud!
And to top it all off (ha, ha), I wanted to make a pie with no ordinary overlaid solid crust- I wanted a lattice topped pie, darn it! So I used one of the most idiot-proof tutorials over at Simply Recipes as my guide. Elise shows simple step-by-step instructions to ensure that you make a gorgeous latticed pie without having a degree in basketweaving. I have to admit I was pretty proud of the way it came out seeing as it was my first-ever attempt!
So we’ve got the crust and the lattice technique down- let’s get to filling this baby! Fresh Granny Smiths are my fruit of choice- their tartness and crisp texture make for a perfect apple pie. Cinnamon and nutmeg add a delightful warm spice to the mix, and of course extra butter dotted on top before baking makes for a truly delicious pie!
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 5 -6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1½ tbsp cornstarch
- 2 pie crust pastries for a 9-inch pie (any recipe, or storebought), kept cold in the fridge until ready to use
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 2-3 tbsp milk, for brushing on top
- Combine both sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. To a large bowl, add sliced apples and sprinkle over top with the sugar mixture. Add the lemon juice and using your hands, mix up the apples to coat thoroughly with the mixture. Add the cornstarch and mix again.
- Take one of the pie crust pastries, and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper over top, and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is ⅛” thick. Peel off the top paper, place the pie plate upside down on the pie crust, and using a paring knife, cut a circle leaving ½” excess crust around the pie plate. Remove excess crust, and picking up the parchment paper underneath the pie crust, flip it onto the now-right-side-up-pie-plate, pressing down to remove any air from under the crust. Peel off the parchment paper, and you are left with your bottom crust inside the pie plate.
- Add the apple mixture to the pie plate, dot with butter bits, and take out the second crust. If you want to try the lattice crust approach, follow the link in my post above.
- Otherwise, roll out the dough the same way as the bottom crust, peel off the top parchment paper, flip over the crust and place over top the filled pie, and push down around the edges of the pie plate to secure to the bottom crust. Peel off the remaining parchment, cut off any excess crust that is overhanging, and crimp the top and bottom crust together using a fork or your fingers. Cut 2 to 3 2″ long vents in the crust using a paring knife.
- Refrigerate pie as you heat the oven to 450. Once the oven has reach the right temperature, place the pie on a cookie sheet and lightly brush with milk and dust with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for 40-50 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a baking rack, and serve- don’t forget the ice cream!
Adapted from Food.com.
What’s your favorite dish to bring to a holiday potluck?