Joy the Baker

With Love, Apple Pie

November 29, 2008

You Can Do It Apple Pie

I want to show you how to bake a pie.  I’ve got step by step pictures.  I’ve got instructions.  I’ve got encouraging words.  I’ll even hold your hand if you need me to.  This isn’t anything to be scared of… but I do have a secret.

See, there’s a secret to making the best apple pie in the world.  Love.   Any way you can get it or give it, the secret to apple pie is love.

Love is a funny thing.  (Ok, you should totally call me out- that’s just a silly thing to say.)  While I don’t contend to be any sort of expert on the subject, I do take comfort in the knowledge that getting love, and giving love, without a doubt, the best feeling in the world.

I’d like to think of my apple pie as a pure and unadulterated delivery device for love.

You know how cupcakes are actually a delivery device for sweet and fluffy frosting? How cheeseburgers are just an excuse to go crazy with the french fries?  How movie theater tortilla chips are merely edible spoons for gobs of fake yummy, cheesy nacho sauce?  Well this apple pie, I cross my heart and hope to die, is just an excuse to pour all of my love right into a pie crust and into the oven.

It’s perfect.  There isn’t a more perfect thing in the world… ok, except maybe babies and puppies and snowflakes and kate spade flats (but WHY so expensive kate!?  $300, seriously!?)

I will warn you, this pie is a labor of love.  It takes time.  It takes commitment.  It takes a personal outpouring of love and support.  I’ll just say it now, there’s cutting and pressing, chilling, peeling, macerating, boiling, tossing, rolling, preheating, baking, slitting and slicing…. almost in that order.

If I haven’t yet scared you away.  If you’re so full of love that you just might burst, throw it into this pie, and send it out into the world.  It’s important.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

It sure does sound like I’m one lovesick baker, doesn’t it?  Well… some things just can’t be helped, or hidden.

Let’s make a pie together.  Muster up the love.  Gather together you patience.  Bust out the apples.  Dive in, crust first.

Print this Recipe!

Buttermilk Pie Crust

2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

2 1/2 (12 ounces) cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (5 to 6 ounces) buttermilk

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

1.  Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.  Measure out the buttermilk and store in the refrigerator to keep it cold (you could even put it in the freezer for a few minutes too).

You Can Do It Apple Pie

2.  Sift together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Take the cold butter from the freezer and toss it with the flour mixture.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

3.  Dump the cold butter cubes and flour mixture onto a large work area for rolling.  With a rolling pin, roll the mixture, flattening the butter cubes with the flour into long, thin, floured butter sheets.  Work quickly to ensure that the butter stays cold.  Below is what the rolled butter and flour look like after I’ve gathered them together on the work surface a bit.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

4.  Place the flour and flattened butter back in the large bowl and chill for 10 minutes.    When the butter is cold, remove the bowl from the refrigerator, make a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture.  Add the cold buttermilk to the bowl all at once.  Begin to bring the dough together with one hand ( keep the other hand free to answer the phone).  Moisten all of the flour with the milk, using your hand to break up large clumps of milk and flour.  The dough will be rather shaggy, but you can add another tablespoon of buttermilk, if you see that all your flour isn’t moistened.  Form the dough into two disks.  The disks will be rough, and hard to shape together, but once they rest in the fridge for an hour, the moisture will redistribute and they’ll be easier to roll out.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

5.  Chill the dough for at least an hour in the refrigerator.  At this point, the dough will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three weeks.  For freezing, roll the dough out into sheets and wrap them in plastic film.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

With Love, Apple Pie

2 1/2 lbs baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick.  I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Pink Ladies.

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 – 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably fresh grated

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

You Can Do It Apple Pie

1.  Remove the dough for the bottom crust from the refrigerator.  If necessary, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes or until it is soft enough to roll.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

2.  On a well floured surface, roll the bottom crust 1/8 inch thick or less and 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer it to a pie pan.  Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan.  Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

3.  In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and toss to mix.  Cover apples and allow to macerate (develop and release juices) at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid.  The mixture will release at least 1/2 cup of liquid.

4.  In a small saucepan (preferably lined with a nonstick surface), over medium high heat, boil down this liquid, with the butter, to about 1/3 cup (a little more if you started with more than 1/2 cup of liquid), or until syrupy and lightly caramelized.  Swirl the liquid but do not stir it.  (Alternatively, spray a 4-cup heatproof measuring cup with nonstick vegetable spray, add liquid and butter, and boil it in the microwave, 6 to 7 minutes on high.)

Meanwhile, transfer the apples to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch until all traces of it have disappeared.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

5.  Pour the syrup over the apples, tossing gently (Do not be concerned if the liquid hardens on contact with the apples; it will dissolve during baking.)

6.  Roll out the top crust large enough to cut a 12-inch circle.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

You Can Do It Apple Pie

7.  Transfer the apple mixture to the pie shell.  Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water and place the top crust over the fruit.  Trim the overhang of the top crust so that there is only 1/2-inch of overhand.  Tuck the overhand under the bottom crust boarder and press down all around to seal it.  Crimp the border using a fork or your fingers and make about 5 evenly spaced 2-inch slashes starting about 1 inch from the center of the pie and radiating toward the edge.  I used a small circular cutter to make a few air holes on the top crust. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking.  This will chill and relax the pastry, preventing shrinking.

8.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F at least 20 minutes before baking.  Set oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on top of it before preheating.  Place a large piece of greased foil on top of the sheet to catch any juices.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

9.  Brush the top crust of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle generously with sugar.  Set the pie directly on he foil topped baking stone and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices bubble through the slashes and the apples feel tender but not mushy when a take tester or small sharp knife is inserted through a slash.  After 30 minutes, protect the edges from overbrowning with a foil ring.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

Cool the pie on a rack at least 4 hours before cutting.  Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Want to copy and paste this recipe to work with in your kitchen!?  Here you go!

Buttermilk Pie Crust

2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

2 1/2 (12 ounces) cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (5 to 6 ounces) buttermilk

1.  Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.  Measure out the buttermilk and store in the refrigerator to keep it cold (you could even put it in the freezer for a few minutes too).

2.  Sift together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Take the cold butter from the freezer and toss it with the flour mixture.

3.  Dump the cold butter cubes and flour mixture onto a large work area for rolling.  With a rolling pin, roll the mixture, flattening the butter cubes with the flour into long, thin, floured butter sheets.  Work quickly to ensure that the butter stays cold.  Below is what the rolled butter and flour look like after I’ve gathered them together on the work surface a bit.

4.  Place the flour and flattened butter back in the large bowl and chill for 10 minutes.    When the butter is cold, remove the bowl from the refrigerator, make a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture.  Add the cold buttermilk to the bowl all at once.  Begin to bring the dough together with one hand ( keep the other hand free to answer the phone).  Moisten all of the flour with the milk, using your hand to break up large clumps of milk and flour.  The dough will be rather shaggy, but you can add another tablespoon of buttermilk, if you see that all your flour isn’t moistened.  Form the dough into two disks.  The disks will be rough, and hard to shape together, but once they rest in the fridge for an hour, they’ll be easier to roll out.

5.  Chill the dough for at least an hour in the refrigerator.  At this point, the dough will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three weeks.  For freezing, roll the dough out into sheets and wrap them in plastic film.

With Love, Apple Pie

2 1/2 lbs baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick.  I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Pink Ladies.

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 – 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably fresh grated

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Remove the dough for the bottom crust from the refrigerator.  If necessary, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes or until it is soft enough to roll.

On a well floured surface, roll the bottom crust 1/8 inch thick ofr less and 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer it to a pie pan.  Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan.  Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and toss to mix.  Allow the apples to macerate at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.

Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid.  The mixture will release at least 1/2 cup of liquid.

In a small saucepan (preferably lined with a nonstick surface), over medium high heat, boil down this liquid, with the butter, to about 1/3 cup (a little more if you started with more than 1/2 cup of liquid), or until syrupy and lightly caramelized.  Swirl the liquid but do not stir it.  (Alternatively, spray a 4-cup heatproof measuring cup with nonstick vegetable spray, add liquid and butter, and boil it in the microwave, 6 to 7 minutes on high.)  Meanwhile, transfer the apples to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch until all traces of it have disappeared.

Pour the syrup over the apples, tossing gently (Do not be concerned if the liquid hardens on contact with the apples; it will dissolve during baking.)

Roll out the top crust large enough to cut a 12-inch circle.

Transfer the apple mixture to the pie shell.  Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water and place the top crust over the fruit.  Trim the overhang of the top crust so that there is only 1/2-inch of overhand.  Tuck the overhand under the bottom crust boarder and press down all around to seal it.  Crimp the border using a fork or your fingers and make about 5 evenly spaced 2-inch slashes starting about 1 inch from the center of the pie and radiating toward the edge.  Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking.  This will chill and relax the pastry, preventing shrinking.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F at least 20 minutes before baking.  Set oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on top of it before preheating.  Place a large piece of greased foil on top of the sheet to catch any juices.

Set the pie directly on he foil topped baking stone and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices bubble through the slashes and the apples feel tender but not mushy when a take tester or small sharp knife is inserted through a slash.  After 30 minutes, protect the edges from overbrowning with a foil ring.

Col the pie on a rack at least 4 hours before cutting.  Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.


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