Friday, September 10, 2010

Just Another Apple Pie Recipe

The Apple
Photo taken by digicla, at

It turns our that my oldest son, a senior in high school this year, has decided to take a "Foods" class.  It's not like he doesn't know how to cook, I think he figured it would be an easy A.  So with all the recipe books in our house, instead of just opening one, he approached me after school today with a request for apple pie.

Of course it couldn't be the cheapie-cheater pie recipe that simply consists of a frozen pre-made crust and canned, mushy, lifeless apples suspended in a clear, flavorless glue-like substance called pie filling, so here goes - the apple pie recipe that I use each fall for the annual Our Savior's Fall Bake Sale.

There are two ways this pie can be made:  with streusel topping, or a two-crust version (crust on top and bottom).  If a one crust, streusel top is what you prefer, either roll out both halves of the pie crust & freeze one so it's ready to go at a later date or just double the apple filling and streusel and bake two pies.  Pie is a great thing to share. 

This crust recipe will make a double (or two single) crust 8 or 9 inch pie(s).

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup water

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or fork until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add water, sprinkling in a little at a time, tossing lightly with a fork.  When all the water's been mixed in, work dough into a firm ball.

Now here's a little trick for perfect pie crust that doesn't stick to the pastry board: 
Divide dough into two equal parts.  Shape each part into a round ball.  Place one ball at a time between two large sheets of wax or parchment paper, and roll out evenly into a 1/8" think circle.  Peel off the top sheet of paper, and tip the pan upside down on top of the pie crust.  Flip both together and remove the remaining sheet of paper.  Press the dough into the pan, trim the edges evenly, with a little crust dough hanging over the edge.  For a one-crust pie, roll the excess dough instead of trimming it and flute the edges of the crust by working your way around the edge of the pan, pinching the dough as you go to form a twisted rope or zigzag pattern.

For a double-crust pie, roll the second half of the dough out flat between the two pieces of paper and set aside until the pie filling has been added.  After filling has been added, moisten the edge of the bottom crust, carefully peel the paper away from the top crust and lift onto the filled pie.  Trim excess dough so that it hangs about 1/2" over the edge.  Roll that hanging dough under the edge of the bottom crust and flute.  Prick the top crust with a fork. 
(For a decorative touch, cut small shapes in the top crust before removing the 2nd sheet of paper.  A very sharp, pointed knife will work well for this.  If you don't want to waste the dough, layer the cut-outs on blanks spots on top of the pie.)

6 large baking apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter (margarine is ok)

Peel, core and slice apples, and put in the prepared bottom pie crust.  Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the apples.

If you are going for the two-crust version, this is where you add the top crust, seal and flute it.  For a beautiful, sparkly top crust, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar before baking at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.  Regardless of which crust variation you prefer, I find it best to divide some tin foil into 6" strips and wrap those around the outer edges of the crust so the edges don't get too dark.

Streusel Topping (undoubtedly my favorite):
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
dash salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Combine all ingredients except butter.  Once those are mixed well, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle over the top of the pie, right up to the edges of the crust.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Once again, regardless of which crust variation you prefer, I find it best to divide some tin foil into 6" strips and wrap those around the outer edges of the crust so the edges don't get too dark.

I'm on a pie roll now, I hope you all like pie.  I realized I only have one other apple recipe here as of today, so I will have to add a few more for good measure.  After all, baking season is pretty much here, and the apple orchards will be busy soon!