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Country Apple Pie

 

For most of us, just the thought of making a pie is scary. This is why many buy their pre-made crusts at the supermarket. The problem is, after all the old folks are gone, no one will remember how to make a pie crust โ€“ this is where you can carry on the tradition. I made a free-form pie that works especially well for beginners.

Where to Begin: I like to make the crust first, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it until the filling is ready. The crust will be harder to handle as it gets warm and soft.

Crust:
6 tablespoons cold butter
2 cups sifted unbleached white flour (or 1 cup white flour, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
5-6 tablespoons cold water

Pie:
5-6 medium apples (sweet cooking apples; Fuji, Braeburn, Empire, Cortland, Mutsu, Golden Delicious, etc.)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

The Crust:
1. Have a large baking sheet or pizza pan ready. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the pan. Using a paring knife, cut the butter into quarter-inch slices, then into small cubes. Put into a large mixing bowl or food processor.
2. Add the flour and sugar; pulse the processor, or smash with the pastry blender, until the butter and flour are blended into small pieces.
3. Add 4 tablespoons water and mix in until the dough starts to hold together. If the dough is still too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time. Once the dough barely holds together, pour it out onto the counter and form it into a ball. Flatten the ball into an inch-thick circle. Use immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days.
4. To roll out, place the cut parchment paper on the counter or table. Place the dough in the center of the paper. Start rolling from the center of the dough, pushing out to the edge. Turn the paper and roll again. Keep turning the paper and rolling until you have about a 14-inch circle. Cut off any ragged edges so that you have a nice looking circle; press the dough back into the circle.

The Filling:
5. Preheat oven to 375. If the apples are smaller, use 6 apples. Cut the apples into quarters and cut out the seeds with a paring knife. Slice the apples into quarter-inch slices. (You can peel the apple skins if you want; I leave the skins on if Iโ€™m in a hurry.)
6. Place the apple slices into a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and sugar. Using two mixing spoons, toss the mixture with the apples.
7. Place the apples into a mound on the crust. (The apples will shrink down as they bake.) Spread the apples evenly, leaving two inches of dough around the edge. Start folding up the edges of the dough, making a pleat with the dough about every 1 1/2-2 inches. You should have about a two-inch rim of folded dough on top of the apples.
8. Cover the apple opening with a piece of foil. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about another 10 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and the apples are oozing. Let cool on a rack or on the stove top for 15 minutes before cutting.

To Serve: Serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream or vanilla ice cream/frozen yogurt.

Other Ideas: If you have some good caramel sauce, drizzle it lightly over the pie in a zig-zag design while itโ€™s still hot.

Tools:
Large baking sheet or pizza pan
Parchment paper
Paring knife
Cutting board
Measuring cups, spoons
Food processor, pastry blender, or fork
Rolling pin
Large mixing bowl, small bowl
Ruler

By: Anne Vassal

BY GL ON 12/5/2009 7:01:00 AM

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