Macintosh Apples for 25 cents/lb.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it was true. The grocery store was celebrating it's 25th Anniversary and was offering things all weeklong for 25 cents. It was a deal I just couldn't pass up. So I bought almost 4 lbs. of apples and set off on a mission to make the best apple pie.
Actually, it is officially my first apple pie. I have made apple crisp and apple cobbler many times, but never a pie with a crust. One of the reasons is due to time and the other is due to fat. Everyone knows that a good crust is made with either butter, crisco or lard. So I have always hestitated to make one, because I figured it would never come out as good if I substitued with low-fat margarine.
I decided to try a crust that was a little different from the norm, by Cook's Illustrated. It is really not meant to be a crust for an Apple Pie. It is supposed to be a pie shell that is pre-baked and ready to fill, but it sounded easy to make so I went for it. I made some changes and ran into some potential disaters along the way, but in the end with a little surgery it turned out great. Actually someone who tried the pie, said it was the BEST CRUST they ever tasted. Not bad for my first try!
8-10 Macintoch Apples
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons Tapioca
1/3 cup Sugar or more depending on sweetness of your apples, plus 1 tablespoon for top of crust
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 tablespoon Milk, set aside in small bowl
Double recipe of "No Fear Pie Crust"
Squeeze lemon juice into a large bowl. Peel, slice and core apples, dropping them into the bowl with the lemon juice. Add tapioca, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Mix well and let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour apple mixture into prepared pie crust and cover with top crust. Seal and crimp edges. Brush the top of the pie crust with milk and sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar.
Place pie on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown and the juices are slowly bubbling.
Cook's Illustrated "No-Fear Pie Crust"
Makes one 9-inch Pie Shell
*Double the recipe for pie shell and pie top crust
The pastry can be pressed into the pie plate and refrigerated for up to 2 days or double-wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month. Once baked and cooled, the shell can be wrapped tightly in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.
1 1/4 Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspooon Table Salt
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (1 stick), softened but still cool (I used Smart Balance Buttery Spread which has only 2.5 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon compared to 7 grams for butter)
2 ounces Cream Cheese, softened but still cool ( I used low-fat Neufchatel-which has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese)
1. Lightly coat 9-inch Pyrex pie plate with cooking spray. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in bowl.
2. With electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese in large bowl, stopping once or twice to scrape down beater and sides of bowl, until completely homogenous, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture and combine on medium-low until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 20 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until dough begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds. Reserve 3 tablespoons of dough. Turn remaining dough onto lightly floured surface, gather into ball, and flatten into 6-inch disk. Transfer disk to greased pie plate.*
3. Press dough evenly over bottom of pie plate toward sides, using heel of your hand. Hold plate up to light to ensure that dough is evenly distributed. With your fingertips, continue to work dough over bottom of plate and up sides until evenly distributed.
4. On floured surface, roll reserved dough into 12-inch rope. Divide into three pieces, roll each piece into 8-inch rope, and form fluted edge** (see website for photos 1 through 4). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly prick bottom of crust with fork. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes*. Cool on wire rack. (If large bubbles form, wait until crust is fully baked, then gently press on bubbles with kitchen towel. Bubbles will settle as crust cools.)
* If making pie shell and top crust, split the dough into 2 equal portions. Continue directions for shell and pre-bake for about 25 minutes, until very light brown. For top crust- refrigerate crust and after at least one hour, roll dough out in between two pieces of waxed paper to at least 12" in diameter. Peel off top piece of waxed paper and cut 5 slits in center of crust. Carefully place on top of apples in prepared pie shell.
** This step is fine if you are using this crust just as a shell for another type of filling, but for this apple pie just flatten sides all the way to the top of the pie plate. I followed the directions and the crust shrank. The fluted edge was way to low down for the pie. I would suggest putting some weights, such as dried beans in foil in the crust as it cooks to keep it from shrinking and bubbling up in the center.
What is Your Favorite Type of Apple Dessert? Apple Crisp, Apple Cobbler, Apple Pie, or Other?