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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rustic apple pie

We were a smaller than normal group for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  My cousin C had requested a pecan pie since his sister E was out of town.  See, E is allergic to all nuts, peanuts, and even most seeds (poppy, sesame...you get the picture...basically, the girl will never eat an everything bagel), and I have made it my practice to never serve anything with nuts when E is around. So, this Thanksgiving I made a pecan pie.  But, I digress.  See, we were 8 people.  One pie should've been enough for us.  But I called my aunt and asked her if she wanted one or two pies.  "Two," she mused, "pecan and a fruit pie."

Fruit pie.  I had some wiggle room.  I opted not to make another bluberry pie.  It was a delicious pie, but I wanted to get a new blog post out of it (I made a pumpkin pie for pre-Thanksgiving that I didn't post, since it was featured on the same original blog post as the blueberry pies).  Cherry pies I find mediocre at best, quite possibly because I've never had a fresh one.  So I chose an apple pie, which is really the best option given the fact that apples are so in season right now, and blueberries and cherries are not.  The recipe called for a double crust, but not being a fan of crust itself, I decided to make it a one-crust pie.  The result was a ugly not-so-pretty rustic looking pie with amazing flavor.  Yeah, "rustic."  I'll go with that.

"Rustic" Apple Pie


Pie Crust:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, lard, or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces (or a combination of butter and shortening equal to 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup iced water, plus more as needed

If you'd like to make a double-crust pie, follow the link here and use the double-crust recipe.

6 to 7 medium apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about 7 cups total)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 2 tablespoons milk or water), for brushing


Make pie crust:

Stir together the flour, butter, and salt to blend.
Using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut the butter into the flour.
For pies with liquid fillings (like custard or cooked-fruit fillings that are thickened with cornstarch or tapioca), the bits of fat should be evenly small, and the mixture should resemble a coarse meal. This will result in a mealy piecrust, which is less likely to become soggy as the pie bakes. For pies to be filled with fruit or another non-liquid filling, leave some larger bits of fat, about the size of small walnut pieces, for a crisp and flaky texture in the baked crust.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the water all at once.
Gently toss the mixture together until just blended and the flour is moistened (the mixture will look shaggy and loose).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it together, combining parts of the mixture that are wetter with those that are drier.
If preparing a double-crust recipe, divide the dough in half.
Shape the dough into a 1-inch-thick disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 20 minutes.
NOTE: At this point, the dough is ready to be used. It can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Working with one disk at a time, unwrap the dough, place it on a lightly floured work surface, and scatter a little flour over it.
Alternatively, place the dough between sheets of parchment or waxed paper.
Roll out the dough for the bottom crust of a pie into an even round, about 13 inches in diameter (for a 9-inch pie pan). It should be about 1/8 inch thick.

Fold the dough in half or roll it loosely around the rolling pin, and gently lift and position it over the pan.
Unfold or unroll the dough and ease it into the pan without stretching, making sure that the pan sides and the rim are evenly covered.
Press the dough gently against the sides and bottom.
Trim the overhang to 1 inch.

For a single-crust pie, tuck the dough overhang under itself and flute the edges. Fill and bake the pie according to the recipe directions.
For a double-crust pie, roll out the second piece of dough into an 11-inch round (for a 9-inch pie pan), and then cut vents in it. Fill and finish the pie according to the recipe directions.

Make filling and assemble:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the pie dough and use one round to line a 9-inch pie pan.
Keep the dough-lined pan and the other round chilled while you prepare the filling.  (Skip this step if you are making a "rustic" one-crust pie.)

In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; toss to combine.
Mound the apples in the dough-lined pan, making the center higher than the sides. I had some extras, which made for a tasty snack
Dot the top evenly with the pieces of butter. I ended up needing less than the recipe called for.
Brush the rim of the pie shell with egg wash.
Cover the pie with foil (if making a one-crust pie)
If making a 2-crust pie: Cut vents in the other dough round and place the round over the filling. Press the top and bottom edges together to seal, trim the excess dough so that the edges of the dough are almost even with the edges of the pan, and then crimp or flute the edges. Brush the top lightly with egg wash.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake until the apples feel tender, mine took about 40 minutes.  After that, I removed the foil and let it bake a little longer.
Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Let the pie rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you are making a two-crust pie:  Place the pie on a baking sheet until the top crust is golden brown and the apples feel tender when pierced through the steam vents with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Let the pie rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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