The Apple pie, the taste of Americana, not just a dessert. Part of who we are and a taste of being every fall. Sometimes it's a full weekend day experience with a trip to pick your own favorites at the Orchard complete with warm cider and fattening tasty donuts.
Fall the leaves change, football, tailgates, chili, and apple pie...Oh Boy!
My thoughts on making the BEST APPLE PIE EVER!
Many of us have our favorites....I have made many of great apple pies, but none touch my Grandma's! Let's not forget it's the love, care and attention to detail that makes such morsels special.
How to make a better crust:
My first preference is to us a blend of fats. I like 1/2 lard and half salted butter myself, I think it is the richest and most flavorful, but play with it! Nothing says you only have to use shortening.
The next thing is to keep all ingerdients cold!!! I would challenge myself to make the flakiest crust possible...nothing wrong with a mealy one...just liked the challenge. I would cut up my cold fats into big butter pat size pieces and toss with a little flour and chill them in the refridgerator. Then I put everything together fat, flour, salt ( you need to make sure you add enough if you want a buttery flavor ) and ice cold water. Bring it all together as quick as possible then wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30-60 min before rolling it out.
MY PIE DOUGH RECIPE
2 lbs Pastry flour ( all-pupose will work as well)
10 oz lard
10 oz butter (salted prefered)
1 1/3 cup ice cold water
salt added to taste
Makes plenty of dough for 1 double crust pie or 2 streusel topped pies. You can always alter this to make your own pies unique...who says you can't add a little cinnamon or sugar to the crust??????
Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are two of the most common with year around availability.
I love the tart Nortern Spy! A mix of sweet and tart apples is always the best way to go.
McIntosh and Cortland get mushy when cooked so I would only use them in combination with other apples that keep some texture.
I always prefer smaller apples, they have more flavor. A dry growing season equals smaller more flavorful apples and a rainy growing season makes for larger more watered down in flavor apples.
I used to always make my pies the traditional way toss apples with sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg etc. and bake. ( I always liked to add a few generous pats of butter as well ) Then I learned the.................
SECRET TO MILE HIGH APPLE PIE!!!
You have to pre-cook the apples or in the case of mile high apple pie pre shrink them! I love this technique and use it every time now. I cook the apples in a large pan with butter, sugar, and spices and cook about 15-20 minutes or untill just tender. It's great for many reasons, first you cook the apples down so you get more flavor, second you can taste them and adjust the amount of sugar, spices, salt, etc. My final reason for loving this technique is it works great for making a pie with Splenda! My Dad is diabetic and I use this technique. I was able to cook the apples and keep adding Splenda until it was sweet enough for my taste and made an excellent pie. Some downside to this technique is the time cooking the apples and cooling them somewhat before filling and baking, but boy it makes for a great pie! A big thank you to Cook's Illustrated for this technique!
Hopefully you can use my thoughts on Apple Pie to make yours the very best one around!!!
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