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apple pie

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Classic Apple Pie with Ultra-Flaky Pie Crust

July 7, 2014

Classic Apple Pie (1) | Espresso and CreamUpdate: We went in for another scan on Thursday before the long weekend and got some strange news. Things on our ultrasound looked very normal, pretty much a 180-degree change from our scan on Monday. The doctor and the ultrasound tech didn’t know what to make of it all, so I’m chalking it up to God. Sound good? We’ve been told to still expect miscarriage, but that we now have a legit reason to hope. So we’ve been playing a very strange waiting game until Wednesday, and your continued prayers would be much appreciated.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! Joe and I spent a lot of time working on the house, in the yard, and even painted our office, a room that I’ve intentionally left out of the E&C house tour because I’ve disliked it so much. We’re a long way from revealing the final product on the blog, but I’ll be sharing some sneak peaks Instagram as we pull the room together.

A few weeks back I made a pie and I would be lying if I said the crust was anything worth eating. Truth be told, it was horrible. Sometimes pie crust is hard and scary, isn’t it? Well, I was determined to have success the second time around because that first attempt was just haunting me. With a new sense of resolve, I went back the the kitchen to make another pie crust for a classic apple pie. The result was amazing, if I do say so myself. It was flaky and tender and perfect enough to bring over to Joe and his friends, who needed a break from painting a house on a hot day.

Classic Apple Pie (2) | Espresso and CreamI based my pie crust on one of my favorite recipes from Sherry Yard in her fabulous baking book, Desserts by the Yard. Over the years I’ve made great pie crusts and horrible pie crusts. And I think that if I had to recap what makes success versus failure, it would be in the way the liquid is incorporated into the dry ingredients. Sometimes I’m feeling impatient and I dump the water in rather quickly, in two or three additions. The problem with doing this is that the water doesn’t get evenly incorporated into the flour mixture and I end up needing to add more water than the recipe calls for.

But when I’m patient, adding just a drop or two at a time and constantly using a fork to stir the flour mixture as I add water, that’s when I have the most success, when the magic of tender, flaky pie crust happens. So give yourself a few extra minutes to incorporate your liquids into your dry ingredients and you’ll be blessed with the end product.

Classic Apple Pie with Ultra-Flaky Pie Crust
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS (for 2 crust pie)
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup ice water
  • PIE FILLING
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored)
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Golden Delicious apples (peeled and cored)
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • TOPPING FOR PIE
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. To make Pie Crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt until well combined. Break up the shortening into small pieces and add the shortening to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture, too. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the butter and shortening are the size of peas.
  2. Gradually add the ice water (1 spoonful at a time) to the flour mixture, using a fork to mix the water into the flour mixture as you add spoonfuls of water. This is key, slowly adding the water. It ensures that you get the flour mixture evenly hydrated without having to add too much water.
  3. Divide dough into two portions and gently press into rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  4. Roll one of the dough rounds out onto a floured surface to form the bottom crust. Press crust into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
  5. In a very large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture into crust-lined pie plate. (There will be a lot of apple mixture since it bakes down and loses volume.)
  6. Roll out second dough round onto floured surface. Top pie filling with second crust. Roll edges of pie crust together to seal. If desired, crimp edges. Cut two to three slits on top of pie crust for steam to escape.
  7. Heat oven to 375F. Place a metal baking sheet under pie plate to catch any excess liquid. Brush top of pie with the milk. Sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool at least 1 hour. Cut into slices to serve.

 

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Apple Pie Almond Meal Pancakes

January 19, 2014

ApplePiePancakes_3
Is there anything better than weekend breakfasts? Joe and I make a point to eat breakfast together almost every morning. We’re even the crazy people who wake up an extra hour earlier than we need to because we want time to drink coffee, eat breakfast, talk and watch a little morning news. Weekend breakfasts, however, are an entirely different thing. We have time to wake up a little later and still soak up a few hours together, drinking cups and cups of coffee and lounging around in our pajamas, playing with the pups.

During the weekdays we stick to our routine of oatmeal or oat bran for ease, taste and convenience. But on the weekends, we get a little more creative. Eggs, bacon and homemade biscuits are a favorite, homemade pancakes, yogurt bowls with chia seeds and berries and plenty of drippy almond butter.

Although I love pancakes first thing in the morning, particularly of the whole grain variety, I don’t love the fact that they leave me hungry only a couple hours later. Almond meal pancakes, I’ve found, keep me full much longer probably due to the fact that they contain protein.

ApplePiePancakes_1
For a while now, I’ve been making a quick “apple pie” mixture by mixing apple slices, a little brown sugar and butter, cinnamon and flour and microwaving the mixture for a couple minutes until soft and delicious. It’s amazing how much it tastes like apple pie and satisfying dessert cravings without totally blowing the rest of your day. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out that combining this apple mixture with almond meal pancakes would create a breakfast nirvana, but I’m glad I finally did!

If you’re looking for a slightly more involved but totally delicious breakfast that’s worth every bit of effort, make time for these Apple Pie Almond Meal Pancakes. I usually steer clear of overly sweet breakfasts, so I don’t care for maple syrup on my pancakes, but I think most people wouldn’t mind a warm drizzle of maple syrup for moisture and sweetness.

Apple Pie Almond Meal Pancakes
Pancakes 
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar (you could swap out the brown sugar for a little maple syrup or stevia)
3/4 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
Apple Compote
1 large apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Very small pat of butter, melted (maybe 1/4 tablespoon or a little less)
1 packet stevia or 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

Directions
In medium mixing bowl, combine egg, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda, almond milk and brown sugar or other sweetener of choice. Whisk until well combined. Mix in the almond meal until combined.

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt a small amount of butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon batter by the 1/4 cupful into pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until edges are set. Flip, cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until pancakes are cooked through in the center.

In small microwavable bowl, combine apple, cinnamon, melted butter, brown sugar and flour. Stir until evenly combined. Microwave 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until apples are softened and cooked with just a bit of crunch remaining.

Layer apples and pancakes in a stack. Serve with a little maple syrup, if desired. Serves 2

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Apple Streusel Pie

October 30, 2013


Apple_Streusel_Pie_3
First things first, a little bit of business to discuss. A number of you have requested that I make my recipes easily printable. Ask and you shall receive! Recipe will now be formatted so you can print recipes without having to print the entire web page. Enjoy!

If you look closely at the photos of this apple pie, you’ll notice that the edges are not crimped perfectly. There are spots where I had the right amount of dough and spots where I was a little short and didn’t have the amount needed to properly crimp the edge. The perfectionist in me absolutely hates that.

After making two pumpkin pies that tasted amazing but had crusts that were less than bakery perfect, I decided to really devote myself to making a pumpkin pie that looked pretty enough to be in a magazine. We had Joe’s co-workers and their wives over for dinner last Thursday and, selfishly, I wanted my pie to look perfect. In all my effort to make the perfect looking pie crust, I committed the cardinal sin of pie making: I totally over-worked the dough.

I’ve been known to be a harsh critic of my own cooking, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was the toughest most inedible pie crust I’ve ever baked. Joe noticed. I noticed. I’m pretty sure a couple others at the table noticed, too, considering plenty of crust went uneaten at the table that night. Looking back, it’s pretty funny. At the time, I was mortified.

Apple_Streusel_Pie_2

I really wanted to apologize right then and there to everyone at the table for my terrible pie crust. I make my living as a food editor, for goodness sake! I develop and test recipes every single day. This rookie mistake? Totally unacceptable. But instead I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything, letting the moment pass and dinner conversation carry on. Maybe our new friends did discuss my crappy pie crust in the car on the way home. But I have a feeling they probably didn’t give it much thought, and certainly less thought than I did.

My grandmother was one of the best pie bakers around. Every fall she would make dozens of apple pies with apples from her farm and store them in the freezer for her kids and grand kids to enjoy throughout the year. One hallmark of her pies was the fact that they weren’t the prettiest pies. In fact, you might say they were a little homely. But what my grandmother lacked in finesse she made up for in flavor and texture.

Thinking about her delicious pies, imperfections and all, gave me the motivation to get back in the kitchen after my crust failure and enjoy baking this Apple Streusel Pie without the need to make it look perfect. Sure, it’s a heck of a lot less pretty than my pumpkin pie at our dinner party, but I can assure you it tasted a whole lot better.

Apple_Streusel_Pie_1

Apple Streusel Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Pastry for Single Crust Pie (your favorite recipe)
  • 6 cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced aples
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Unroll pastry crust into 9-inch pie plate. Flute edges, if desired.
  2. In large bowl, toss together the apples and melted butter. In small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour mixture to apples and toss until well combined. Transfer mixture to pastry-lined pie plate.
  3. In medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Toss until well combined. Add melted butter and work together with your hands until combined and only small clumps remain. Sprinkle on top of apples.
  4. Cover pie with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake 40 to 50 minutes more or until crust is golden brown and apples and bubbly and baked through.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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