Sunday, March 2, 2008

OMG Apple Pie

Well...I did it. With the help and guidance of a good friend, I pulled off not one, but TWO apple pies. And they are delicious. I expect Tim's going to gain about eight pounds by the end of the week. This recipe comes courtesy of The Pioneer Woman, and all photos are shanked from her as well.

*This recipe makes enough for two pies. If you don't have enough boyfriends to feed two pies to, you have a couple options. 1) Make the full crust recipe, and freeze half of it until you're ready to make another pie. 2) Halve the crust recipe and make one pie. You choose, but if you're going to halve the recipe, you have to do the math on your own. I'm not doing it for you.

The Crust

Here's what you need: three cups flour, one and a half cups Crisco, one egg, one tablespoon white vinegar, one teaspoon salt, and five tablespoons cold water.

Put your flour in a bowl and add the crisco. Using a pastry cutter, mix the two. This will take you a couple of minutes. Keep going until the lumps are small and mostly the same size. Coarse meal sized, perhaps.
Beat the egg in a small bowl, then add it, the water, vinegar, and salt, and mix together gently.
If you're making the full recipe, you will now need two ziploc bags. If you're making half, you need one. Divide your dough, put in in the bags, and flatten slightly.
Freeze for twenty minutes. Pull out your dough, FLOUR THE SURFACE OF YOUR COUNTER, and start rolling it out. It will probably start to stick, and if it does, use a spatula to flip it. Make sure to re-flour the counter before you flip, though.
Roll it so it's a little larger than your pan, and pop it in. Fold over the extra stuff, and get a little fancy if you want.
Look how pretty. And yummy! This is one of the flakiest crusts I've ever tasted. Set that baby aside and get started on the filling.

The Filling
*Remember, if you halved your pie crust, you have to halve this, too.
You will need two sticks of butter, salt, caramel topping, flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, one lemon, and apples. If you're making two pies, five apples should do it. For one pie, I'd go with three. You can use pecans if you want, but I don't like nuts and will NEVER use them in baking. In fact, if they weren't in this picture, I'd leave them out of the recipe entirely.
Peel and core the apples, then slice them into a bowl. Be careful not to cut your fingers off, but also try to get thin slices. Mine were much too thick. You can use any kind of apple you want, but Granny Smiths look pretty, taste good, and hold up very well through the baking process.
Squeeze half a lemon over the apple slices.

Next, add half a cup of sugar, four tablespoons of flour, and a quarter teaspoon salt, and mix nicely. Set aside.
Now, preheat your oven to 375F. In a separate bowl, you're going to start the crumb topping. Toss in a half a cup of flour and twelve tablespoons of cold butter, chopped into pieces. Using your pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it looks like this. Be patient. It'll take a couple minutes.
Now add one cup of firmly packed brown sugar and a half cup of oats. Mix well.
Add your apples to the pan and dump the topping on top. Smooth it out, but don't pack it. If your crust is sticking out significantly above the pan, you might want to wrap some tinfoil around it so that it doesn't burn. Just a little bit around the edges will be fine. Put your pie in the oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile chop up a half cup of pecans, if you want. After 25 minutes, pull the foil off of the pie and stick it back in for 25 minutes. After the second 25 minutes, open the oven and sprinkle your pecans over the top, if you're into that kind of thing. Let it cook 5 more minutes, and pull that baby out.

At this point, you want to dump some caramel on top. Use half a jar, or as much as you want. OR....keep reading beyond the end of this to see what I did. Let it cool, and serve. It passed Tim's taste test, so I think it's pretty good.

*If your pie pan is larger than eight inches, you may want to think about making one pie with this full recipe.

**Most of my recipes come from surfing the internet. A couple days ago, I stumbled upon a recipe for homemade Dulce de Leche (it's caramel made from milk). This is what I put on top of my pie. It's so simple, but you want to start it in the morning, at least an hour and a half before you start the pie, because it takes two or three hours to make. You will need one small can of sweetened condensed milk, a tall pot, and lots of water. Fill your pot so that the can will be covered with at least one inch of water when you put it in. Bring the water to a boil. As soon as it boils, bring the heat down to medium high so that it simmers, and put the can in. Make sure it's standing, not rolling around. The can will make a fair amount of noise because of the bubble wanting to escape from underneath it. I had the dryer and the dishwasher going at the same time, so I wasn't too bothered. If you have two pair of tongs, you can stick a little ball of tinfoil under the can so it's propped up a bit, and that should do it. Let the can simmer for two hours (three for a firmer caramel), and it's caramel in a can.

After the time has elapsed, turn the burner off and let the water cool with the can in it. If you take it out, it will explode. Don't ask how I learned this. Let it cool for 45 minutes or an hour, and then pull it out. If it's not too hot, you can open it, and your yummy caramel will come oozing out. Oh...YUMmmmmm....

The boring stuff:
Difficulty for all: 3.
Serves 6. Depending on how big you like your pie slices and how selfish you plan on being. Six is a safe estimate.
Pie crust takes about a half hour.
Pie filling takes about 45 minutes. Plus or minus 15 minutes, depending on how good a peeler/corer/slicer you are.
Pie bakes for almost an hour.
If you start the filling while the crust is in the freezer, this should take you about two hours from start to PIE!

Caramel takes 3-4 hours with cooling time.

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