Sunday, November 8, 2009

Apple Pie

Every year I make two apple pies to bring to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner. So on that weekend my husband Randy and I go to the apple orchard in King City, a twenty minute drive north from where we live and pick Northern Spy, my favourite pie apple. They are the very best apples (in my opinion) because they are slightly tart and hold their shape beautifully during baking.

I could kick myself this year for not bringing my camera with me. In all the years that we have been picking apples I don’t remember ever seeing trees laden with apples so abundant that they showed no mercy to their branches drooping low to the ground. I was able to fill my bag from one tree leaving plenty for someone else to pick, whereas in past years I would walk the entire row looking for the perfect apple, eventually filling my bag and irritating my husband to no end. Much to his shock I had filled my bag quickly and only had one more bag to fill, but this time with MacIntosh and Cortlands for eating, and there were plenty still on the trees even though picking these varieties had begun earlier.

My family celebrates Thanksgiving on Sunday so that morning I made the pies. I have been using the same recipe for the pastry for years because it works so well for me. My method of making pie dough is the antithesis of everything I have read about pastry as I don’t chill my pastry. I know there is merit to this rule yet my pastry is always very flaky without chilling. I was taught in high school home economics class to never overwork pastry if you want to achieve a flaky crust and I have applied that lesson ever since. After I’ve cut the fat into the flour I use ice water to bind the mixture and I use a fork to lightly stir the mass until it just comes together and then use my hands to ever so gently pat it together to form a ball. I cover the dough and let it rest while I prepare the apples. Hubby had peeled the apples so I just had to cut them up, add the sugars, flour, lemon rind, salt and cinnamon and toss. I lined two glass pie dishes with the pastry, piled in the apples, dotted the filling with some butter and rolled out the remaining pastry to cover the apples. I fluted the edges, cut a few slits to allow the steam to escape, brushed it with a bit of milk and sprinkled turbinado sugar on top and it was ready for the oven.

The aroma of apple and cinnamon wafting through the house was wonderful, no wonder they say if you are selling your home, put a pie in the oven for a quick sale. In about 50 minutes the pies were done.

Served barely warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream it is a heavenly dessert.

Deluxe Apple Pie

From Crisco’s No Fail Pastry
Make a double crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup shortening*
6 – 8 tbsp. ice cold water

In a bowl stir flour and salt together. With a pastry blender or two knives cut in cold shortening until it resembles course meal. Add the ice water and with a fork stir the mixture just to combine, do not overwork. When it comes together, gather the mixture with your hands and form into a ball, again not over working the dough. Divide the dough into two portions and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

A mixture or shortening and butter can also be used for a richer crust.

Deluxe Apple Pie
From Five Roses – A Guide to Good Cooking

6 apples, preferably Northern Spy
6 tbsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 450 F. Prepare pastry and line a 9” pie plate, reserving some for top crust. Core, peel and slice apples. Combine brown sugar, sugar, flour cinnamon and salt together, then mix with apples. Spread apple mixture into unbaked pastry shell. Dot with butter, sprinkle with lemon rind then cover with top crust, sealing carefully and making slits to allow steam to escape. Bake in a hot oven then reduce heat to 350 F. and bake 30 to 35 minutes.


Melinda said...

They look really good. Isn't the pastry apple on top sweet!
I have heard that there was a bumper crop of apples this year in most places. My little apple tree actually produced apples this year too! I think I had 9 apples. Previous years have been about 4 and they were wimpy. It is only a young tree so I have hope!
Yes, an apple pie baking would probably sway me buy your house and the pie,

doughadear said...

How nice that you have an apple tree. I have no fruit trees, only vegetables in the summertime.
If apple pie baking would get you over here then I would gladly put one in the oven.