Apple Pie 101
In an effort to assist those looking for tips and techniques on making a double crusted apple pie from scratch, I have prepared this slideshow. (Sometimes it is easier to just see how something should be rather than read, read, read.)
I was EXTREMELY fortunate to convince my mother in law (a/k/a Grandma) to let me take pictures of her as she made an apple pie! She is the best pie baker I know. Her bluberry pie which she makes from blueberries from her garden would make the angels swoon.
Grandma pre-cooks the apples for pie. But to show that it doesn't matter if you precook the apples or not, I also made a pie using raw apples (you can view that on the second slideshow).
Bottomline: Both pies were delicious! Both had fully cooked fillings and perfectly flaky crusts. This proves my new motto: "There is more than one way to skin an apple."
Grandma’s Apple Pie
Overview: Grandma uses a 9- inch glass Pyrex pie dish for this pie.
-The pie crust crumbs should be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to make the pie.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Make the pie filling, microwave and set aside.
-Make one batch of pie crust. Roll out half and line pan.
-Place apples, juice and all, in the crust.
-Dot with butter. Roll out other half of crust and cover pie and crimp edges. Cut a few slits on top.
-Bake pie on center rack at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until apples are juicy and bubbling and ooze out of the crust.
Grandma’s Pie Crust Recipe:*
6 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
2 and 1/3 cups shortening (she uses half regular Crisco, half butter flavored Crisco, with 0 trans fats
1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
2. Cut in half of the shortening with a pastry blender, to make coarse crumbs. (They will NOT be uniform in size and shape, nor fine like coarse meal.)
3. Cut in the remaining shortening. Place in airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. (Will keep up to 3 months no problem). You will get enough crust mixture for several pies.
For Grandma’s 9-inch Double Crust Apple Pie:
Measure out 2 cups of the cold crumb mixture.
Add 4 Tablespoons of ice cold water. Stir gently and quickly.
Dough should be soft and not dry. Add a little more flour if too wet, or a little more water if dry.
Take half the dough, form a circle and roll out immediately on a floured board.
For a 10-inch Double Crust Deep Dish Apple Pie:
Double the amounts above. (Four cups crumb mixture, eight tablespoons ice water.)
For an 8 or 9-inch Single Crust Pie:
Use 1 and 1/4 cups of the crumb mixture
2 Tablesoons ice cold water
Grandma’s Apple Pie Filling for 9-inch pie:
6 cups peeled and sliced apples (She uses Cortlands, her standby is McIntosh. Use what tastes good to you.)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1. Peel and slice the apples. Grandma then cuts hers in half. Put in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl.
2. Add sugar, spices, flour, stir gently.
3. Microwave, covered lightly with parchment paper, for 4 minutes.
4. Set mixture aside and let cool while making the crust.
Trish’s 10-inch Deep Dish Apple Pie
(Using raw apples, not pre-cooked)
Same crust as above, only using 4 cups of the crumb mixture rather than 2 cups.
Trish’s Pie Filling:
8 cups apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Minute Tapioca
1 Tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
1. Peel and slice the apples as thin as possible.
2. Place in a large bowl and add sugar, spices, lemon juice and tapioca. Stir gently.
3. Let the apples stand for 15 minutes to draw out the juices. In the meantime make the crust.
4. In a crust lined pan add the apples. Dot with butter. Cover with second crust. Press edges with fork. Cut a few air slits on top.
5. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 50 minutes or until pie “sings” and filling is gently bubbling and oozing.
*About this pie crust recipe... My mother in law found it more than 30 years ago in the local newspaper. It seemed very novel at the time to keep a mixture of flour, salt and shortening in the refrigerator, and only using a few cups at a time as needed. But the results were good, and by having all the crumbs on hand, you could virtually make a pie at the drop of hat, so grandma, being a good Yankee, adopted the recipe. A couple years ago, I shared this recipe with others and they mocked me and said it was ridiculous to keep flour and shortening chilled. Then one day I was watching TV and there was Alton Brown proposing the very same thing that we were doing...and voila, I guess the concept is vindicated.
The benefits to this method are: Convenience of course, because you mix the crumbs with the water, and there is no waiting. Roll out the crust immediately! But also, I think you get a very flaky crust because the dough is not combined very long. It's all the little lumps and the light handling that make this crust so flaky.
I should add.... I did not know until I had the photoshoot with grandma that she used half butter-flavored Crisco in this recipe. I always knew her crust tasted a little better than mine and now I know why... This is not a product I usually use, so I was rather surprised.
I hope this will encourage good folks like DutchDot to give pie baking another chance,
This recipe lets you make the crust crumbs in advance. Then just add the water and roll when you are ready to make the pie.
The filling - You can either precook or not....you still get a delicious pie.
We kept it simple with our spicing and apple filling. But you can add whatever you like. Throw some cherries in the mix.... add a crumb topping instead of a top crust.... so many fun things to do.
Well, this was certainly a herculean effort. Thanks! I happen to be in the 'pre-cook' camp, so it was interesting to see this being done in a MW. This would save me from having to clean my 30 lb dutch oven, so I may try it next time.