October 3, 2013

Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

Every year I make at least 3-5 pies after we go apple picking. One for my oldest daughter, one for the house, one for our neighbor, and then if I'm feeling adventurous, I might make a couple of extra to freeze. Then I start all over again when Thanksgiving rolls around, but I use store-bought apples instead.

There's always been a debate over which apple variety is the best to use when baking pies. Some people like to combine both sweet and tart varieties such as Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. Others choose apples that already have that sweet, tart quality such as Jonathan, Winesap, or Jonagold. If you like your pie extra sweet you might choose Braeburn or Fugi. If you prefer tart then you can choose between Macoun or Newton Pippin. But we like our pie both tart and nice and juicy so I bake with Cortland apples. You could also use McIntosh. (FYI, most people avoid the last two varieties because they do break down when baking.)

If you like a little bite to your pie, I suggest cutting the apple slices thicker than I'm going to recommend, but my family likes the pie to melt in their mouth so I slice my apples thinly.

Apple Pie Filling

5 cups (or 5 medium-sized) thinly sliced apples peeled and cored.
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt

Mix all dry ingredients together and then sprinkle over apples. Mix thoroughly to coat each slice.

Pie Crust

2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Crisco
6 tablespoons of cold water plus 5 additional tablespoons as needed.

To prepare the pie crust, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons water over the flour, and gently toss with a fork. Push the flour to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining cold water, and mix until all is moistened and combined. Divide the dough in half, and form each half into balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Prepare and Bake

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Fill a pie tin with one of the balls of dough after it's been rolled out to fit. Add apple mixture and cover with the second crust. Crimp or roll edges (or get as decorative as you want) and then cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil. Cut slits into the pie to let out the steam as it cooks (or get as creative as you want). Bake for 40-50 and remove the foil strips during the last 15 minutes of baking.

Truth be told, if I'm not in the mood or I don't have time, I cheat and purchase the already made Pillsbury pie crust. Shhh.