Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Apple Pie

This is a two day affair for me.  First day I make the pie filling and next day I make the pie. Find a neighbour with an apple tree or go buy some if you have to.  Usually older apple trees fruit goes begging and it's usually tart and perfect for pie. I stole 8 medium apples from the tree down the alley. The $12 StarFrit Apple Peeler made short work of peeling the apples.

With all the apples peeled and sliced in a pot add:

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter

Stir it all together and turn the heat on to medium. The apples need to partially cook and their liquid should come off and form a thick sauce. Don't stir too much or the apples will break. Stir to little they'll burn.  When the apples are about half cooked take off the heat and let cool.

Pie Crust

I use the recipe on the Tenderflake Lard package adapted to make 1 pie at a time. Pie crust is simple. Small pieces of lard covered flour are rolled out flat making layers of lard and flour which will bake into a flaky crust. The dough:

1 3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup lard
pinch salt

I use a pastry cutter to cut the lard into the flour till it is small pieces the size of oatmeal. If it's cut too small, the pastry will be hard.  If it's too big, it won't form a dough. When I had a uniform mix I got to the wet components.  In a separate small bowl I whisked an egg so it's thoroughly broken up.  Pour 1/3 of the egg into a measuring cup.  Add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to the measuring cup and fill it to 1/3 cup with cold water. Pour that mixture around the dry ingredients and mix with a fork.  Keep mixing and breaking up the big wet globs till there is a uniform dough, no dry flour left. If some flour is left, try to make a ball with the dough.  If it forms a big ball, throw out the extra flour. Else sprinkle a few drops of water around, mix well and try to ball again.  After I made a few pies I started to recognize when things were ready. When I had a ball of dough I put it in the bowl, covered with a cloth and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.  It rolls better chilled.

To roll out the dough I pull the portable dishwasher out into the kitchen, the top is just the right size to hold a flour bin and role a pie crust. This is the portable dishwasher's only redeeming virtue.  Flour the work surface and put just over half the dough on it.  Drop more flour on dough and flatten it. Start rolling the dough and adding more flour as needed. Roll it out till it's at least an inch wider than the pie plate on all sides.  Use a pastry scraper or cleaver to lift the dough from the board all around.  Lay the rolling pin on the dough and pick the dough up onto the pin. Roll the pin back rolling the dough onto the pin.  Lay the pin over the pie plate and roll the dough into the plate. Press the dough into the plate all around and prick with a fork all around to prevent bubbling. Add the filling.

Roll the top from the second half of the dough.  Wet the rim of the dough in the plate with the egg left from the start. Place the top on and press all around with a fork. Use the pastry scraper or a knife to cut the extra dough off all around the pie. Brush the rest of the egg over the top of the pie so it will brown. Prick the top with a fork a few times to let steam out. Bake in the center of a 400º oven for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 350º for another 20 minutes. Cool completely and serve topped with thinly sliced cheddar cheese or ice cream. Yum.

This makes an adult tasting pie, for children I would add 1/4 cup brown sugar to the apple filling. Beware, that's untried! It will probably work but you never know, eh?

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