New England apple pie! . . .

by mulberryshoots

Today, I made an apple pie for us to enjoy while we watch the Patriots game against Tampa Bay tonight. It’s been ideal New England Fall weather the last couple of days although it’s quite a bit warmer today. Despite that, I picked up some Cortland apples at the store to make an old-fashioned apple pie. Recently, it’s occurred to me that I enjoy making (and eating) pies more than making cakes. I don’t really know why, but it’s a really different cooking process and eating experience too!

The biggest difference of course is the crust. I confess I used to buy frozen pie crusts and just use two of them over the cored apple mixture. But recently, I’ve been interested in making pie crust from scratch. The last time, I used too much ice water to the flour/fat mixture and the resulting crust was hard and not tender at all.  This time, here’s what I did for my second try at homemade pie crust:

  1. Measured 2 1/2 cups of King Arthur flour into the bowl of  my Cuisinart
  2. Took two very cold (hard) sticks of unsalted butter from the fridge.
  3. Unwrapped them, cut them lengthwise twice, and then into small bits.
  4. Put the bits of cold butter into the Cuisinart and pulsed a couple of times until the butter was incorporated in tiny bits in the dry flour.
  5. Added salt (1/2 teaspoon); Added scant 1/2 cup of ice water while pulsing the mixture until it was still crumbly but still able to be patted into a ball without any other handling when I turned the machine off.
  6. Wrapped up the ball of crust (for bottom and top crusts) and refrigerated for about 4 hours (honestly!)

To make the filling and finish making the pie:

  1. I peeled about 8 Cortland apples (I have a new peeler for thin skins like peaches, tomatoes and apples – it works great!)
  2. Sliced the usable apple pieces into a bowl, discarding bruised spots, cores and skin.
  3. In a separate large bowl, I mixed together 1/3 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, 2 heaping teaspoons of Indonesian cinnamon spice; 1 heaping teaspoon of nutmeg, salt. Mixed the dry ingredients together really well and poured the prepared apple pieces into it, mixing well with my hands.
  4. Then poured the coated apple mixture back into the pie crust and dotted the top with bits of butter.
  5. I rolled out the top crust and used a crimped scone cutter to make impressions into the crust for decoration and also to provide steam holes when the apples bake. Crimped the edge into a pretty design and sprinkled the top of the pie with a little sugar.
  6. I tore three lengths of aluminum foil and wrapped them around the crust so that it wouldn’t burn prematurely.
  7. Into a preheated 400 degree oven, I turned on the oven light and set the timer for an hour.

We like to reheat the pie right before eating so it’s still a bit warm. With some vanilla ice cream, it’s a dream dessert. Especially here in New England during apple season and when we’re looking forward to watching a football game tonight!

Go Pats!