It’s a rainy day here in Ilmenau, and it’s gonna stay that way all week, so prepare to be bombarded with recipes. Mostly dessert recipes.
So, stay tuned.
Now on to the apple pie. I’ve been a crumble enthusiast for a really long time, because it’s just so much easier and quicker to make, but lately i’ve been trying a lot of new recipes, and my Mrs. Fields cookbook has been leading the way in my kitchen, so I thought i’d try out a classic pie. Let’s just name this week Pie week, k?!
I made some changes according to the ingredients available here, but it’s pretty simple. It actually takes only 10 more minutes to prepare as compared to apple crumble. The baking time goes up a lot though! One tip though. Try finding apples that are good for cooking. I know them as Granny Smith apples. I don’t know what they’re called everywhere else, and sadly I couldn’t find them here, but it makes a huge difference. Green apples are a good replacement. The idea behind using this specific type of apple is because it’s hard and doesn’t release a lot of liquid, and it retains it’s flavor and shape even after being baked for a long time as compared to other types of apples. They’re also pretty sour, which helps balance the sweetness of the pie, and the ice cream you eat it with! If you can’t find these apples, just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to your apple mixture.
Here’s what you’ll need for the crust:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cup butter, chilled
- 8 tablespoons ice water
In a medium bowl mix the flour and lemon zest. Cut the butter into large chunks and add it to the flour mixture. Take two knives or pastry cutters and cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs, just like you would to make a crumble.
The idea is to mix the butter and flour without turning them into a paste.
See, it looks just like a crumble, except you’re going to add in some ice water. Start off by adding half, and then work your way up. You can mix by hand or with a wooden spoon. Mix the dough until it can be gathered into a ball, then divide it in half. It doesn’t have to be exact. In fact, if you think one portion is a little bigger than the other, you can use it for the bottom layer, because it needs to be rolled out more. Wrap each portion in some plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.
While the dough is resting in the fridge, move onto the filling, and preheat your oven to 400 F/200 C.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 6 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 1 egg, beaten+1 teaspoon white sugar
In a large bowl whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch. I use a mixture of white and brown sugar because I like the caramelized flavor brown sugar gives to the pie, but you can use only white sugar. Using only brown sugar might not work as well though. Also, you don’t have to add nutmeg. It complements the ground cinnamon well, but it won’t make a huge difference in the flavor if you don’t add it. Toss the sliced apples in the sugar mixture until every piece is coated.
If you got hold of the granny smith or green apples, you won’t have to worry about this, but if you used normal apples, they might start releasing liquid even before you put them into the pie, but don’t worry too much. If you see that the apples are releasing too much liquid just add 1-2 more tablespoons of cornstarch. That way the liquid won’t over flow in the oven and it’ll just turn into a delicious cinnamon apple sauce.
Once you have the apples ready take the dough out of the fridge. Grease a 9×9 inch pie plate. You don’t have to grease the pie plate, but I did just to make sure it doesn’t stick in the corners. Unwrap one portion of the dough and flatten it into a disk. Then start rolling it out on a floured surface. Roll it out to 11-12 inches, and make sure the dough is even. Carefully place the dough into the pie plate, making sure it’s centered. Carefully press the dough into the plate’s shape without stretching it. leave 3/4 of an inch of dough hanging over the edges and trim the rest off. (Can you see the pretty specks of yellow peaking through?!)
The reason the dough isn’t fitting perfectly into this dish is because its edges are vertical, but that’s not the case with a pie plate, which you will be using. A pie plate’s edges are protruding outwards at a 45 degree angle so the dough sits in perfectly. Now all you have to do is spoon the apple mixture into the pie plate. Make sure you don’t just pour it in, because that’ll leave empty spaces between the apples, and the top won’t be even. When you spoon them in you can flatten the apples down and make them fit perfectly into the crust. Spread the chopped up butter over the apples, and roll out the remaining portion of the dough into a 10 inch circle.
Carefully cover the pie, making sure the top is centered. Fold the bottom crust’s edges on top of the top crust and pinch them together. There will be some dough left over from the edges you trimmed of the bottom crust so you can use it to decorate, or just pop it in the fridge for when you want a mini pie! But you have to make some steam slits on top. Then brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle over the teaspoon of sugar.
Bake the pie in the center of your oven for about 20 minutes. Then decrease the oven temperature to 350 F/180C and let it bake for another half hour. The idea behind two baking temperatures is to make sure that the top crust doesn’t burn. The first twenty minutes makes sure that the apples start cooking, and then the remaining half hour keeps them cooking at a lower heat. It’s kind of like when you bring soup to a boil then lower the heat so it can simmer and cook.
Please have this pie with vanilla ice cream, for my sake.