Yesterday was my birthday so I ate a big fat hunk of …. APPLE PIE!
Because apple pie is better than any cake I can think of, especially store-bought cake, except for, maybe, Magnolia Bakery coconut cake. But if I bought one of those I would pick at it all weekend until everyone in my family ate half the cake and I ate the other half.
I love apple pie and my mother served one for every birthday of my adult life. There was always a candle stuck in the middle, just as if it were a cake. And so the tradition continues.
This year for the first time my grandson Zev tried the apple pie and declared it delicious. He’s kind of fussy and doesn’t eat much, so I consider his validation a great honor.
Btw, the best apples to use for pie are Rhode Island Greening, Granny Smith, Idared, Jonagold, Stayman, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Gravenstein, Newton Pippin, Winesap, Northern Spy and Baldwin. Some of these are only available in Farmer’s Markets and farms. If you can get them, you might want to do what I do — make several pies when the good apples are ready and freeze them (fully baked). They are fine for about a year (wrap them in double layers of plastic wrap). Thaw and rebake to crisp the crust: place the thawed pie in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Here’s the recipe:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel, optional
1/2 cup cold butter
1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
4-6 tablespoons cold milk, juice, water or melted ice cream
To make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon peel, if used, in a large bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into chunks and add the chunks to the flour mixture. Work the fat into the flour mixture until the ingredients resemble crumbs (use your hands, a pastry blender or the pulse feature of a food processor). Add the liquid, using only enough to gather pastry into a soft ball of dough (start with 4 tablespoons). Cut the dough in half and flatten each half to make a disk shape. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it stand at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour a pastry board or clean work surface. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough on the floured surface into a circle about 1/8-inch thick, making sure the circle is larger than the pie pan by about 1 inch. Place the dough in a 9” or 10” pie pan. Pour the apple filling into the pastry-lined pan. Cut the butter into small pieces and place on top of the filling. Roll out the remaining dough and place it over the filling. Gently press the bottom and top crusts together along the flared edge of the pie pan. For a fluted rim, press your thumb and index finger against the outside of the rim, or crimp it with the tines of a fork or the blunt side of a knife. Cut steam vents in the top crust with the tip of a sharp knife or the tines of a fork. Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
3 pounds pie apples (Rhode Island Greenings, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Northern Spy, Golden Delicious, Idared, Stayman, Winesap, Baldwin, Jonagold, Braeburn
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
Peel and core the apples then cut them into slices. Place the slices in a bowl. Add the 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and flour and toss the ingredients to coat the apple slices evenly.
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