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Thursday
Jul102008

What to do when you make an ugly apple pie...

 

Serve it in a glass!

 

 

I had such high hopes. I really did. I've only made two pies from scratch in my lifetime, crust included. They were both tasty, but unfortunately, not pretty. And I know--looks aren't everything. But still, I wanted to make a pretty pie. I'm just going to have to keep trying, I guess.

So anyway, trying to get a pretty and perfect slice out of a not so perfect pie was not happening. Next best thing? Throw it in a glass with some vanilla frozen yogurt and call it Apple Pie Parfait! Like they used to say (do they still, I wonder?) in the ads for gag and joke things in the back of comic books..."Fool Your Friends!"

 

 

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks--Beat This, by Ann Hodgman. It's Classic Apple Pie, but I'm renaming it Triple Cinnamon Apple Pie. It's a triple threat with cinnamon in the crust, the filling, and as a topping. The flavor is fabulous!

 


No, I didn't use a whole stick of Crisco!

 

 



 

 

Triple Cinnamon Apple Pie
makes 1 - 9 inch pie

 

 

Pastry:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
5 tbsp ice water
1 tsp vanilla extract

 

 

Filling:
3 pounds Granny Smith apples (8 cups worth), peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter

 

 

Topping:
milk for brushing over crust
1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

 

2 cups pie weights (or dry beans or dry rice)

 

 

Prepare the pastry!

 

 

Stir the dry ingredients together, or add them to the bowl of your food processor and pulse to mix.
Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add them and the shortening to the dry stuff, or mix
in with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal.
Add the ice water and vanilla and process until a dough forms, or if not using a food processor, mix with a fork until the dough comes together.
Divide the dough into two portions--one slightly larger than the other. Press each into a disk about one inch thick, wrap in plastic and stick them in the fridge to chill for at least 1/2 hour.

 

 

Now don't sit there admiring the cinnamony dough you just made! Get to work on the filling!

 

 

Preheat oven to 350°.
Put your prepared apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
In a separate smaller
bowl, mix to combine the dry filling ingredients.
Now this is very important, so pay attention.
When making fruit pies, unless your specifically told to, do NOT mix the fruit with the dry ingredients until just before you fill the pie crust. If you do, may God have mercy on your soul.
And your pie.
The fruit will do it's thing when you mix it with other stuff, and it'll get all juicy.
This translates to a soggy pie.
(Did this intelligent tidbit of pie making advice come from me?
Hell no! This is the author's advice, of course.)
So leave the two separate bowls alone until
you're ready to fill the crust.

 

 

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch deep dish pie plate.
Flour your rolling surface and roll
out the smaller dough disk until it's a 12 inch circle (Or if you're like me, a shape that resembles a foreign country, not a circle, and is "slightly" (term used very loosely) larger than 12 inches.)
Line the pie plate with the dough, trim the messy edges (As if we'd have messy edges, right? Who, me?), and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Butter a piece of foil and place it butter side down in your chilled bottom crust.
Fill with 2 cups of
pie weights, dry beans or rice.
Bake this on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling
rack, remove the foil and weights and let the crust cool slightly.

 

While it's cooling, roll out the other dough disk to (hopefully) a circle about 13 inches in diameter.
Let it sit for a second.
Now you have permission to mix the apples and the other dry filling ingredients, except the 2 tbsp butter.
Working quickly, pile the apples into the bottom crust.
You should have a mountain
of apple slices.
Dot the apples with little chunks of that butter.
Now is the tricky part.

 

LOOK at all the cinnamon on those apples. It's almost illegal how much cinnamon there is.

 

Top the apples with the top crust, and crimp it to the bottom crust.
Why

is this tricky?
Well, besides the scary "how in the hell am I going to get this crust up off the
counter and on to the pie" moments, unbaked crust doesn't really want to stick to baked crust.
But do your best, because if I can get it to crimp, anyone can.
And I did.
And no filling leaked
out and all over my oven. Whew! It's the little things that make me happy, really.

 

 

Trim off any ragged edges (Ok, I had a LOT) and cut about 4 oval shaped slits in the crust to let steam out during baking. Make sure they're big enough to stay opened as the crust bakes and expands. (More author advice there.)

 

 

Quickly brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle all of that delicious cinnamon and sugar over the top.
Bake the pie in the lower half of your oven on a cookie sheet for one hour. (Ann says to
bake on the bottom rack, but I baked one up from that. I know my oven, and it gets all pissy when I put things on the bottom rack, and then it burns them as a nice payback.)
The cookie
sheet concentrates the heat to the bottom of the pie tin, helping to make the bottom crust flakier.

 

After one hour, transfer the pie and cookie sheet to the middle rack and bake for 10

more minutes.

 

 

Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

 


So if any of you decide to try this pie--and I hope you do, it's really that good--I hope it looks prettier for you. But if not, scoop out some of it and toss it in a pretty glass with ice cream and make Apple Pie Parfait. I'm sure whoever you serve it to won't be worried about what happened to the pie.