I’ve had a request or two from friends to post a recipe on apple pie and I’ve finally grabbed the courage to do it. I say courage because it is a bit challenging. It takes patience and practice to master the pie crust or pâte brisée which is essentially what envelopes the tender slices of apples inside. But with some reading up and watching videos, I learnt that there are a few cardinal rules in making a pie of any kind:
- All your pie ingredients (except flour) have to be cold
- Pick apples that are not juicy. The juicy kind tends to make the pie crust soggy.
Stephanie Jaworski from http://www.joyofbaking.com has jotted down many useful tips on baking an apple pie. She suggests letting the apples rest for a little while so that they emit all of their juices before they go into the oven for baking. She has great videos on making pie crust and apple pie.
Coming back to my experience in making this American Classic – it was fantastic. I followed the rules to a tee and I got a great pie in return. A few pressure points (yes I am well aware that I amusing masterchef lingo) one has to bear in mind while attempting an apple pie:
- Your pastry might crumble apart time and again, but you have to pull it together and roll it out anyway. They don’t call this kind of a pastry a patch work pastry for no reason.
- Work on a dry surface. No water. No moistness. The pastry will stick to the work surface if its wet.
- If you don’t have patience, this is no recipe for you. It’s not going to be a quickie in the kitchen. Every time you work with the pastry, you need to refrigerate it.
- Finally, work fast. The pastry does not have time for you. The butter in it will melt making it difficult for you to work with the pastry.
This recipe is essentially eggless and I tried avoiding using eggs to give the pastry a glaze for that brown oomph. I used milk instead and it turned out pretty fine.
As for the kind of apples, I found the dark red variety to be the best. The light red ones or golden apples are way too juicy for this recipe.
For the pie crust
- 350 g all purpose flour
- 226 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp ice cold water
For the filling
- 4 big apples, the dark red variety
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Peel the apples. Remove the core and slice them length wise. An apple should fetch you 8 slices. (check joyofbaking on how to slice apples for pies)
- Now, as you slice the apples and throw it in the bowl, keep squeezing the lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning.
- Once you are done with slicing the apples, add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and nutmeg. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it sit for 30-60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine flour, salt and sugar. In a food processor or a blender, combine the flour with the cubes of butter. Pulse till the flour becomes a sandy texture. Now, add a tablespoon of cold water and blend further. Ideally, you should be able to bring the dough together now. If you are then you don’t have to use the other tablespoon of water.
- Pour the dough on to your work platform. Knead for about a minute and bring it together to form a ball. Divide the dough into two equal halves and flatten it out into a 12 inch round. Wrap both the portions with cling film and refrigerate them for at least an hour.
- After an hour, take out one portion of the dough. Flour your work surface well. Place the dough on the floured surface and start rolling it out from the center using a rolling pin. Roll out to an even thickness until you get a 12 inch round pastry. Roll in the dough back to your rolling pin, brush off the excess flour on it and roll it out on a 9 inch pie dish. Press the pastry towards the pie dish, on the bottom and the sides. If there is a crack or a two, take scraps from rolled out pastry and patch the gaps. Trim the ends of the pastry (on the brim of the pie dish) using a knife. Cover the pie dish with a cling film wrap and refrigerate it again. Repeat the same for the next dough portion. Place a parchment paper on a baking tray, place the rolled out pastry on it and place it back on the refrigerator.
- Now, the apples must have drained all its juices. Plop them back into a colander with a bowl underneath and leave it for another 30 minutes. Till you have close to 1/2 cup worth juice.
- Once the apples have drained out all the juices, transfer the juice into a sauce pan. Add 2 tbsp butter into it and simmer it for 5-8 minutes until the mixture becomes thick. Now add this sauce to the apples along with a tablespoon of cornflour. This sauce gives a wonderful, caramelly flavour to the apple pie. Combine the apples with the sauce and the corn flour and set aside.
- Take the prepared pie dish as well as the rolled out pastry out. Place the apple filling inside the pie dish and even it out. Cover the apples with the rolled put pastry. Crimp the edges of the pastry around the pie dish using a fork or your fingers. I cut out leaves and stalks with the remaining pastry dough to make it pretty. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.
- Now, place an aluminium foil on a baking tin. Place the pie dish on it and refrigerate it for another 30 minutes. You do this to avoid overheating the base of the pie. Also, you don’t want the juices to spill into your oven. Preheat your oven to 220 C.
- After 30 minutes, take the pie dish out. Make 4-5 slits on the surface to let the steam out. Brush the surface with some milk. Sprinkle some sugar on top.
- Place the pie dish, along with the foiled tin on the bottom in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. When you stick a knife into one of the slits, the apples must be tender but not mushy.
- Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Life is made 🙂
Adapted from Stephanie Jaworski’s Apple Pie http://www.joyofbaking.com/ApplePie.html