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Classic Apple Pie ~ Easier Than you Think

November 20th, 2013 24 comments

Applie Pie ~ Traditional pastry I’m diverting from my Arab theme this week because apple pie is a universal favorite, and the American holiday of Thanksgiving is coming up. 

I’m a bit obsessed with apple pie. As a child growing up in Washington State (the apple state) I learned how to make it. And now as an expat living in Dubai and a homesick Washingtonian, I’ve made countless apple pies for holidays, international days, and for no reason at all.

Some people stress out about making pies and pie pastry. I think they are aiming for “perfection,” not realizing that a fruit pie is a RUSTIC dessert. Any cracks and imperfections and liquid oozing out of the top will simply make the pie look more delicious!   

Classic Apple Pie

As for types of apples, I use mostly Granny Smiths, which are green and tart, and I include a few sweet red apples, such as Braeburn, Rome Beauty or Pink Lady. Here in Dubai, apples are labeled simply “green” or “red” so sometimes it’s a bit tricky figuring it out. Just keep in mind, you can’t go wrong with Granny Smith. 

Not everyone grew up eating this dessert or watching their grandmother making pie. So, here you go, my Apple Pie Primer.  

Apple Pie Slice
CLASSIC APPLE PIE

 Pastry Ingredients

2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 c + 2 Tablespoons (160g) softened butter and/or shortening

5 T ice cold water

Filling Ingredients

½ cup (100g) sugar (or less)

1/3 cup (50g) flour

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

7 medium apples, peeled and sliced thinly

Method       

1.  Prepare pastry.  In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Add softened butter and cut into flour with pastry blender or fork. Keep blending until butter particles are the size of peas. This texture will create a flaky crust.  Apple Pie ~ blend in the butter with a pastry blenderSprinkle in the ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, blending the mixture with a wooden spoon. Form pastry into a ball and divide into two.

Apple Pie ~ Cut ball into twoOn a floured surface, form one half into a disk and dust with flour. (Cover the other half with a dish towel and set aside.)  

Apple Pie ~ Form dough into disk

With a rolling pin, roll dough out, rotating the dough frequently to prevent it from getting stuck to the counter. If you are nervous about this step, try rolling dough between two sheets of wax paper.  

Apple Pie ~ Roll out DoughRoll out dough only once. When the dough rips—and it will rip—repair by pressing the dough back together. Do not re-roll or over-handle. Rolling the dough again will destroy the lovely flaky layers of the crust.  

Apple Pie ~ Expect the dough to rip

Apple Pie ~ Press the dough back togetherCheck to see you have the right sized round—about 2” larger than the pie dish.   

Apple Pie ~ Check size with pie panTransfer the dough to the pie dish. Using a scraper or metal spatula, gently loosen the dough, fold into thirds and transfer to pie dish.  

Apple Pie ~ Fold with scraper

Apple Pie ~ Fold dough into thirds

Apple Pie ~ gently transfer dough to dish

Apple Pie ~ unfold dough in dish

2.  Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C. Move rack to the center of the oven.  

3.  Prepare the filling. Mix flour, sugar, and spices in small bowl. Peel and slice apples thinly—or better yet, get a loved one to do it for you. Apple Pie ~ slice apples thinlyStir the sugar and spice mixture into the sliced apples until all the apples are coated. Fill the pastry-lined pie plate with the apple mixture. It may seem like too much, but keep adding.Apple Pie ~ tansfer applie mixture to dishWith both hands, pack down the apples. This will help avoid air pockets and create a nicely packed filling.Apple Pie ~ pack  applie mixture into dish4. Prepare the top pastry. Roll out the remaining dough the same as before and transfer in the same way as before. If the dough rips, don’t stress, just try to press back together and think “rustic.” Apple Pie ~ transfer top pastry to dish

Apple Pie ~ unfold top pastryThe pastry will overhang around the pie dish. Tuck pastry under all around the dish, trimming and discarding as needed, sealing the edges.Apple Pie ~ tuck pastry evenly around edge

Apple Pie ~ prepare edges of pieFlute the crust by pinching in a uniform, decorative manner around the edges.   Apple Pie ~ add decorative fluted edges to pieCut slits in the pie to let the steam escape.

Apple Pie ~ add vent slits to top of pieLightly brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.    Applie Pie ~ brush top of pastry with milk

Applie Pie ~ Sprinkle with Sugar5. Prepare aluminum foil cover. This step may seem like a hassle, but it prevents excess browning and hardening of edges. Cut out a square of foil. Fold in half and cut a ring of foil to fit the pie. Save the center of the foil.   Applie Pie ~ Cut square of foil

Applie Pie ~ Fold & cut ring in foil6. Bake for about 45 minutes. The following is my own method for baking: For the first 15 minutes, bake the pie completely covered with foil. That is, press the ring of foil around the edges and place the center of foil on top.Applie Pie ~ cover top with foilThen remove the top foil and rotate the pie dish in the oven. For the next 15 minutes, bake with the foil on the edges only.    Applie Pie ~ Bake with only edges uncoveredRemove all foil and rotate the pie dish again. For the last 15 minutes, bake the pie uncovered—unless there are dark spots, which you can cover with a piece of foil.   Applie Pie ~ Bake last 15 minutes  uncoveredThe pie is finished when the crust is lightly browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and cool before cutting.     

Apple Pie ~ traditional  American pastry_ (800x604)

Questions: What are your apple pie tips and tricks? What pies do you serve on Thanksgiving?