Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Pie

I baked my very first apple pie when I was 17 years old. I had not been bitten by the baking bug back then (say that fast 5 times!) but it was my sister who was into it a lot. It was she who taught me how to macerate apples and knead a nice dough for the pastry. Ever since my first bite, Apple pie has been my all time favorite dessert.

Of all the times that I have made this I have never used an actual recipe or measurements until now. I would just throw together the ingredients and take it from there. This time I decided to use the recipe from Joy of Baking and see if my pie was good or not. And I am pleased to say that my pie is as good (if not better) than this one right here. It is everything I love; cinnamoney, flakey, sweet... This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Every time I bake a pie I remember one of my sisters who would never eat the filling but only the crust! I would bake the scraps of the dough separately just to make her happy. Oh what good times!

Recipe Source - Given as is from Joy of Baking, with my changes in red

Ingredients - Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) pie

For The Pie Crust
2 1/2 Cups (350 grams) All-purpose flour
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp (30 grams) Granulated White Sugar
1 Cup (226 grams) Unsalted Butter, Chilled, And Cut Into 1 Inch (2.5 Cm) Pieces
1/4 to 1/2 Cup (60 - 120 ml) Ice Water
For The Apple Filling
2 1/2 Pounds (1.1 Kg) Apples (About 6 Large), Peeled, Cored, And Sliced 1/4 Inch Thick (About 8 Cups (2 L)) - I chopped my apples instead of slicing them.
1/4 Cup (50 Grams) Granulated White Sugar
1/4 Cup (55 grams) Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg (Optional) - Omitted
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp (28 grams) Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Tbsp (15 grams) Cornstarch (Corn Flour)

Make the Pie Crust
1. In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).
2. Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
3. Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 
4. After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).)
5.  Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan ( I used a 10 inch pan). Brush off any excess flour and trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. 
6. Then remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.  I made a lattice top instead
Make the Apple Filling
1. In a large bowl combine the sliced apples with the sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to three hours. Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl (to capture the juices). Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of juice.
2.  Spray a 4 cup (960 ml) heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray, and then pour in the collected juices and the 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of unsalted butter. Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high, about 5 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup (80 ml) and is syrupy and lightly caramelized.  (Alternatively, you could place the juices and butter in a small saucepan and boil over medium high heat on the stove.)  - I used the stove top method.
3. Meanwhile, remove the top pastry crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it has time to soften.
4. Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch (corn flour). 
5. Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine.
6. Pour the apples and their syrup into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the apples. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make five- 2-inch (5 cm) slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the pastry while you preheat the oven. - I cut the rolled dough into strips and made the lattice top at this point.
7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place the oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack before preheating the oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the stone (or pan) to catch any apple juices. Set the pie on the stone or pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and the apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits. Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Happy Eating!!

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