Nov 15, 2011

Classic Apple Pie

Apple pie is one of my all time favs. Well, favorite to EAT that is. Growing up, I didn't quite care for the task of peeling and coring all those apples. (still don't, but I still LOVE apple pie, so I do it) I can remember my Granny just piling everything into the homemade crust, sprinkling (dumping, really) everything on top, slapping on the top crust all quick like.... just carefree as can be. Like it was no big deal. Like it was easy. Then it would bake and the smell would waft throughout the house and I just couldn't hardly WAIT until suppertime dessert. 

Well Granny is no longer with us so I had to set out on my own to try to come as close to her version as I possibly could. I've tried several recipes over the years and this (tweaked-to-my-liking) version of one came really close. Not only that, but my husband requested THIS one again. (oooh, I may have done it now, more apples to peel)

Now I'm not quite as talented, nor as quick, as Granny was, so I don't just "dump" everything in there all at once. Unlike her, I have steps. First step being, learn to make a good pie crust. This is key. THIS part of the pie I've been practicing for years, so trust me, I got this. If you need some help, I've poured my heart out and here's a link to my favorite Buttery Flaky Pie Crust recipe. You'll need to double it for this pie though. 

Printable Version for Classic Apple Pie (filling)

Classic Apple Pie (the filling)
Yield: 1 -9" pie

8 C sliced apples (about 8-10 granny smith apples)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 C white sugar (or use ¾ C white sugar + ¼ C brown sugar)
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
small pinch of ground cloves (optional)
2 Tbsp butter (not margarine), cut into small pieces

Follow the directions for making a double crust for a 9” pie. After rolling out the dough for the bottom crust, and while it is chilling in the pie plate as directed, preheat the oven to 425°F while you make the apple filling.

You can choose any type of baking apples that you prefer, I happen to like Granny Smith because of the tartness and they stay a bit firm after baking. Wash, peel, core and slice the apples. You'll want to slice them thin, about 1/4" slices, in order for them to bake evenly. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to coat all of the slices. This will keep the apples from browning.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch and spices. So at this point, if you've made apple pie before (or maybe not and are still wondering) why do I use flour and cornstarch for the thickening agents? Well, I've tried using all flour and my pie didn't get quite thick enough. Then I tried a recipe using all cornstarch and well, it tasted to "starchy". Go figure. So I tried using half and half and the end result was the most satisfactory. (for me anyway)
Next, sprinkle the sugar mixture over apples and toss to coat well. Set aside while you make the top crust.

Next, roll out the 2nd disc of pie crust dough for the top crust. Make it just a bit bigger than the pie plate. Put the pie filling into the bottom crust. Dot the top with the small bits of butter, scattering them about. HAHAHA I laugh, because I forget this step every time. I mean EVERY TIME. So I say to you, if you skip it, don't worry 'bout it.

Next, gently lay the top crust over the apples and trim so that it has a 1” overhang.
Now fold the top crust over and under the edges of the bottom crust to seal the sides. This will help keep all the juices in while the pie is baking. Finally, flute the edges with your forefinger and thumb all the way around the pie. (You can see pics of this process on the pie crust page). You will also want to cut slits in the top. This allows the excess steam to escape so that the pie filling can thicken properly. If the top crust feels as if it has softened up while you were shaping the edges, then pop the pie into the fridge to re-chill the crust before baking.

Gently place the pie on a baking sheet. For a deeper color in the crust, brush top of crust and sides with EITHER plain milk, or, 1 egg white (or whole egg) that has been beaten with 1 tbsp water. Milk will give it a crispy-flaky texture and egg will give it a tender-flaky texture. Now sprinkle the top with coarse sugar if desired. (or you can sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon)

Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven. If you have a baking stone, place the baking sheet directly on the baking stone. Bake pie for 20 minutes at 425°F. Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 375°F and continue baking for 20 more minutes. At this time, check the pie crust, if the edges are turning brown to soon, cover them with aluminum foil to protect them, or, use a pie crust ring.

Continue to bake the pie for at least 10-20 more minutes until done. The crust should be golden brown, the apple filling should be bubbling up through the pie crust slits, and the apples should be tender. (yeah, go ahead and sneak one through the slit, no one's looking) Total baking time should be about 50-60 minutes.

When done, remove the pie from the oven and set on a rack. Now, here's the hard part, allow pie to cool completely (several hours, seriously) at room temperature  before cutting. And no NOT try to cool it in the fridge. Believe me, I've tried LOL  It makes the crust soggy and chewy. The cooling process is essential because the pie filling will not thicken until after the pie has completely cooled. If you cut it too soon, your filling will run out everywhere and possibly cause a soggy bottomed pie. If you want to have warm apple pie, just heat slices in the microwave just before serving.
Store the pie, covered, at room temperature.

Mmmmmm, now wasn't that worth the wait?

One more thing I'd like to mention. As the apples cool and the filling thickens, the inside of the pie (the apples and filling) will shrink. This leaves a gap between the top crust and the filling. This is normal and expected. Surprisingly, this doesn't bother me...anymore. I just gently push the crust down when I slice it.  Just like I did with my Granny's apple pie ;)

If the gap DOES bother you, and you would rather have the "sky high closer to Jesus" pie, then you may want to pre-cook your apple filling first. Just be careful that you don't cook the apples all the way. Cook them just until they start to turn tender. (al dente? can you even use that term with apples?) Otherwise, you'll have mush or applesauce pie. Remember they still have to bake some more when the crust does, and the crust will take some time. Even still, the pie will cook faster, cutting the baking time just about in half. 

Pre-cooking does have another advantage, your pie filling will thicken when you cook the apples in the sauce pan, then thicken some more while you bake it. So the final waiting time is less for the pie to cool down, which means, less time to wait before you dive in  ;)

So there you have it, Classic Apple Pie. I think Granny would be proud. (ain't she just the cutest thang?) Gosh I miss her. Now all I have to do is practice her fried apple pies. Oh....and she made a killer deep dish cherry pie. Not to mention her fried chicken, turnip greens, and I can't forget about those green beans with jowl.  

This one's for you Granny!

If you want to check out other pie recipes from some blogger friends of mine, 


Culinary Alchemist said...

YUM!!!!! That is a mighty fine lookin pie. Is that piece for me?

I have drooled all over my keyboard at work... Slightly embarrassed cause now it's obvious I wasn't working.. oops!

Patti T. said...

Awww she is really cute. I miss my grandma also. Were they all really good cooks?? Seems like every one thinks theirs was just the best cook. It is a miracle I tell ya. Oh and your pie looked mighty tasty!

CookingMommaofThree said...

I had to laugh when I read that you leave out the butter every time! I do TOO! The last time I made an apple pie, I remembered before I crimped the edges and scooted some under the crust! I guess great minds think alike?

Jimmy said...

i love all kind of pie specially the buko pie or coconut pie.
this classic apple pie is good also i tried it this last last week :)

DDpie said...

Oh, coconut pie is one of my all time favs! I'll have to do that one next