Sunday, December 5, 2010

American Pie

Today I find myself still stuck on apples. I am having a craving for apple pie but don’t have any green apples in the fridge and not a variety of the red. What’s a girl to do? The best apple pie is made with a combination of apples so there is a mixture of sweetness and tartness. Fuji, Golden Delicious, Rome, Granny Smith, McIntosh, Gala, Braeburn, Empire and Honeycrisp are good choices for apple pie baking. But I only have a bag of Gala apples and two Cripps Pink. So although I have somewhat of a dilemma, I decide to spring for the pie anyway. And since I am feeling a little jazzy, I toss some cranberries in the mix to give it that something extra.

So off I go to handle the most daunting step in making an apple pie…the crust.

Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 sticks unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 tbsp ice water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.

Remove dough from machine and place on clean surface, that is sprinkled with a little flour. Gently shape into 2 disks and do not over-knead. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Remove disks from the refrigerator. Sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Carefully place into a pie plate. Press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and there is some overhang on the sides.

Apple Filling

2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds of apples
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel and cut apples. Sprinkle a teaspoon of lemon juice over the apples to keep the oxidation process from occurring. Toss apples with dry ingredients and flavorings. Place apples in prepared pie pan. Dot with butter. Roll out second disk of dough. Gently place onto the top of the filling. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough, leaving an overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger. Be sure to score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam can escape.

Egg Wash

1 Tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk
1 large egg yolk

Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

This is definitely not the prettiest or tallest pie, considering the apple shortage. But it sure tastes good! And that is all you can ask for to top off a Sunday dinner. Best served with some vanilla ice-cream or a dollop of homemade whipped cream.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, baked by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

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