11 October 2011

classic american apple pie

I'm back.

I am not going to apologize. The last several weeks have been nuts: adjusting to new jobs, schedules, and relationships; learning almost 300 names and cooking dinner twice, maybe three times a week if I'm lucky. Being a new teacher is exhausting and exhilarating and I wouldn't change it for the world. I am so blessed to be where I am and I just needed some time to take it all in.

But, I'm back.

One of the many, many joys of being an American living in Canada is that we get Thanksgiving not once, but TWICE every year now! Even when (if?) we move back, I think we will have to continue this tradition because Turkey Dinner and Stuffed Bellies is too good not to do twice. And we can always stand to be extra thankful.

This weekend, in honor of Pilgrims and the Mayflower and having plenty (oh wait. That's American Thanksgiving. What is Canadian Thanksgiving anyway?!) I baked two apple pies. The crust was so perfectly flakey that it almost fell apart on me both times, but I was able to resurrect it, and let me tell you, this was good.

You don't have to wait til next Thanksgiving (or November 24) to bake an amazing apple pie. The best apples of the year are falling off trees everywhere RIGHT NOW so just do it!

Classic Apple Pie
{adapted from AFTK Cookbook}

2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
8 Tbsp vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes and chilled
1.5 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
6-8 Tbsp ice cold water

COLD is the name of the game if you want a wonderful flakey crust.

Pulse dry ingredients in a food processor to combine. Scatter shortening and butter over the top, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, until dough begins to come together, then gather it with your hands and turn it out onto a floured surface. Gently work the dough until it forms a rough ball, then divide into 2 parts, flatten each into a small disc, wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for an hour or two.


7-10 apples (I combine granny smith and macintosh apples for a simultaneously sweet and tart taste), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice: spice to taste. I used around a teaspoon each of cinnamon and allspice.
juice and zest of half a lemon

Combine all ingregients and toss to coat apples.

Remove pastry dough from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, 15- 20 minutes. Place a cookie sheet on the middle rack and preheat oven to 500 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out first disc to 1/4 inch thick, rolling gently from the middle out, rotating rolling pin slightly with each new roll. Fix cracks by gently squishing edges back toward the middle and rolling again. Once you have rolled it out, carefully drape pastry over your rolling pin and transfer to a pie plate, allowing edges to drape. Pour filling into crust, heaping in the middle (it's okay if it's a huge pile. Apples will settle as they cook). Roll out second pastry the same way as the first, and place crust on top of pie. Trim pastries to about 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate, and use excess to patch any holes or splits. Seal crust gently around the edges, tuck under and either press with a fork around perimeter or use fingers to make a design. Prick top crust several times with a fork or use a sharp knife to cut small decorative hole so steam can escape. Brush top crust with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Place pie onto preheated cookie sheet and reduce heat to 425 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, then turn pie and reduce heat again to 375 degrees. Bake another 25-30 minutes until pie is golden brown and your whole house smells incredible. You may choose to cover the crust's edges with foil or a handy-dandy pie crust cover if you have one to prevent over-browning.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or allow to sit, covered, and serve tomorrow.

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