Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Easy as Apple Pie

In my mind, there are few things more lovely than hot apple pie. I like mine with a crisp crust and extra thick crumb topping, made just like the apple ranch where I used to work when I was a young teen.

That was the place I learned to work an old fashioned cash register (and had use math to make change), identify apples by variety and purpose (snacking, cooking, long storage etc.), and sweep the floor quickly (the owner once accused me of being a slow if!). I also made caramel apples and washed a lot of dishes. A lot of dishes. And apple pie goo is very, very sticky. On extra busy days, they let me help make the pies. Oh the pies! They were (and still are) the very best.

I've tried to pry the recipe from the cook's sticky little hands to no avail. So I was forced to try and replicate the recipe in my own kitchen over several trials. Oh darn. This one comes close. Very close. It may even be better...but don't tell the gals over at Bloomingcamp Ranch I said that.

Farmstand Apple Pie

To be perfectly honest with you, this pie is a bit of work in the kitchen. But an old-fashioned pie like this is so worth the effort. When you are assembling it, it may seem like you won't be able to fit all the apples in the crust. Keep piling them on because they will shrink a lot. I had to bake my last pie for nearly 2 hours it was so big. Just check on it every 10 minutes or so after the first hour. The crust should be deeply golden brown and some juice will begin to bubble through when it is done.

Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Yield: 8 servings


12 small-medium sized green apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon flour

Single pie crust (I use this one from Marion Cunningham)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons ice water

To prepare the crust, combine flour and salt in a bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle surface with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time; toss with a fork until moist and crumbly. Press mixture gently into a 5-inch circle; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 15 minutes. Flour dough lightly. Roll into circle between sheets of waxed paper on a work surface. Peel off top sheet. Flip into pie plate. Remove other sheet and press pastry to fit. Fold edge under. Flute and chill while you prepare the filling.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
14 tablespoons cold butter, cut in cubes


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Make the filling. Toss together apples, brown sugar, vinegar, spices and flour in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Make the topping. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour and sugar. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, blend in the butter, until coarse crumbs form.

4. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour apples into it. It will seem like a lot of apples for that size pie, but they shrink while baking. Carefully sprinkle the topping on the apple filling, covering the entire pie to the crust edges. Place pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about one hour or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. If necessary, cover the crust during the last few minutes of baking to prevent burning.

No comments: