There’s nothing like eating a warm slice of apple pie on a cool, crisp Fall day! And since it’s apple season in Ontario right now, chances are pantries are going to be bursting with freshly picked apples, straight from out-of-the-way orchards. Or in my case the local grocery store, which I reasoned is just as good and doesn’t require driving 2 hours out of the city. According to the boyfriend/lodger J, I need to get out more often and experience the world. We’ll see.
Apple pie is not a sexy desert but what it lacks in pizzazz it more than makes up with its soft, sweet power to nourish. It may just be the most basic desert you’ll learn to make but once apple pie becomes a cinch, other (seemingly more complicated pie recipes) will feel less of a challenge. I promise you, key lime or banana custard will seem like a walk in the park, once you learn the fundamentals in pie making. And it all starts with the crust.
DO NOT FLAKE OUT ON THE CRUST! (ha pun!). Sorry.
Years and years ago, during my student-frugal days, I used to substitute margarine for butter when making shortcrust pastry. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, and admiitedly I haven’t leart much, it’s that margarine cannot sub in for butter. It’s like trying to pass off gluten free brownies as good as the real thing. But at the end of the day we can all taste the lies!!
Topping suggestions: vanilla bean ice cream, Salted Caramel Sauce from my blog, slice of aged cheddar (a real thing I discovered in Virgina).
Prep time | 1 hour Cook time | 48 minutes Yield | One 10-inch pie, about 12 slices
For the crust:
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water
For the filling:
7-8 cooking apples, peeled and cored
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbl whiskey (optional)
1 stick of cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
7-8 tbl salted carmal sauce
1 and 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbl water
Egg wash (1 egg, 1 tbl of milk/water)
1 tbl granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degree F
1. Prepare the crust: Stir the dry ingredients together (in a bowl or on a clean tabletop). With a pastry cutter (or using 2 butter knives), cut the butter and the shortening into the dry ingredients. Break the fats down into pea-sized pieces, use hands if necessary but make sure not to melt the butter. Make a well and pour water into the centre. Gradually mix the dry ingredients with the water, gently, until just combined. Do not overwork the dough or it will be tough. Wrap in plastic and put away in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling.
2. Cut the apples into 1 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice, to keep the apples from browning.
3. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-heat, add apples, vanilla, whiskey, cinnamon, and sugar; simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.
4. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir in the caramel sauce; simmer for 2 minutes, until the apples are tender.
5. Remove from heat. Strain the filling, catching the juices in a bowl underneath. Let it drain until all the juices have seeped out and pour it back into the saucepan.
6. In a small bowl, using a fork whisk together the cornstarch and water. On medium, heat the juice back up to a simmer and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil for 10 seconds, stirring the liquid constantly, then remove from heat. The mixture should be a think liquid. If it’s too thick, then add a little water to thin it out.
8. Combine the apples and the thickened sauce in a large bowl. Set aside.
7. Assemble the pie. Cut the dough in half and form each half in to a flat disk, rolling out to 14 inches in diameter. Line the pie plate (10 inch) with one of the rounds, making sure it fits well into the sides and bottom of the plate. Little tip: using the back of your index finger, gently press the dough around the sides and bottom edges of the pie plate.
8. Pour the filling into the dough-lined plate.
9. Covering the pie. Now this is where you can get creative. I used cookie cutters to cut out the dough into shapes and then lay them over the filling so that the top is well covered.
But you can just use the other round to simply cover the top. Fold the round in to quarters, and cut 2 steam vents on an angle through the 2 layers of dough. Brush a thin layer of water on the rim of the filled base. Unfold the top layer and place on top of the filling. There should be some dough hanging over all sides. Press to seal the dough where it meets at the rim of the pie plate. With a sharp knife, cut off the the overhanging dough.
10. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
11. Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes then turn the heat down to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake until the pie is deep golden, abut 30 minutes.
12. It may look tasty, but don’t burn your mouth off yet! Let the pie cool on a rack before serving.