Sweet Spot

Sweet Spot: Apple Pie

*** This post was originally posted on November 30, 2016 on Erynn Loves Books’ original home, gobbleupbooks.wordpress.com with the title “”Saturday” Sweet Spot” Apple Pie” in a slightly edited version ***

I initially planned to post this first Sweet Spot, dedicated to the Thanksgiving pies I made this past week, on Saturday afternoon. However my body had other plans and I was quite sick all weekend. As of Monday night I was only just well enough to sit for a period of time at the computer and type a beginning draft of a blog post about pies that may or may not be read. But it should be read because these pies, or at least the one we dug into at Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, were simply amazing. I even got my husband, a lifelong pie-hater (*gasp*), to try it and he loved it so much he wants me to make him another.

I am really psyched about this new addition to my blog. I am even more psyched to be able to present such a delicious success story for my very first Sweet Spot. Over the course of four days and three baking sessions, I crafted three beautiful and delicious apple pies in celebration of the Thanksgiving season.

The first two pies that we (my husband was my baking assistant) made were donated to the Buffalo City Mission. My father, who is part of a local Polish running club, has a running friend who was collecting a bunch of pies for the mission and he asked if I would help contribute a pie if he paid. I said of course, but that I would rather make two. So that was that. The third pie we ate at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, which I talked about in my latest post.

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Baking in bunches (even small ones) is fun for me because it allows for experimentation to work towards perfecting recipes. I stuck with the same apple pie basics for all three pies but did vary them slightly in recipe and crust design. One of the pies we sent to the Buffalo City Mission was a plain double crust apple pie. I used a fork to make a pattern on the edge of the crust and made three slits in the top crust for air once it was placed on top of the apple filling. The other pie for the mission turned out the most beautiful, with a latticed top crust and braided edging. During the assembly of the third pie the dough was too soft as my dad took it out of the fridge a few hours early because he thought it was like cookie dough and needed to thaw before use. This is a BIG mistake you should avoid as the softer the dough is the harder it is to work with – especially if you’re trying to create a lattice or a braid or a nice decorative leaf or two like I was. Of course, my parents let me use their kitchen for the project and helped with ingredients and baking supplies so I couldn’t be upset (plus the pie worked out, so that’s good).

Now for the recipe!!! The crust recipe I’ve used is closest to the crust for my family’s apple pie, as it is the one I ate and I know it is a solid recipe. By “closest” I mean that I did not measure every ingredient but instead eyeballed a few. If you are interested in the other variations of crust recipes I used on the apple pies featured in the pictures on this post, please let me know in the comments.


Classic Thanksgiving Apple Pie

Ingredients:

For the Crust:                          [note that this recipe makes a double crust]

3/4 cup (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, cold

2 & 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar

6 – 9 tablespoons cold water

For the Filling:

6 – 8 medium/large apples

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla

Other Ingredients:

1 egg yolk

Extra water

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Extra granulated sugar

Instructions:

  1. Start by working on the crust. Cut your butter into cubes and add to a medium bowl with the flour and salt. Combine until crumbly.
  2. Add the sour cream and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cold water.
  3. Mix with a spatula, gradually adding more water as needed. Use the spatula to press the dough, folding it over onto itself until the dough becomes cohesive.
  4. Break the dough into two equal balls, then flatten slightly into discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least an hour to harden. [I froze my dough for a few days so that I could make the pie fresh on Thanksgiving Eve!]
  1. Peel and core your apples. Slice them into wedges or small cubes and place into a bowl. I used an apple peeler/slicer/corer that I borrowed from my cousin the chef, which made the job a lot easier and faster.
  2. Pour the lemon juice over the apples and set aside for now.20161120_163545
  3. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once it has melted, add the flour and stir to thicken.
  4. Add the water and both sugars. Mix well, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the temperature of the filling mixture, add nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Allow to simmer for about a minute or two.
  6. Separate out about 1/3 cup of the filling mixture and set aside.
  7. Pour the remaining filling mixture over the apple slices to coat. Make sure its thoroughly and evenly spread.
  1. Now it’s time to assemble the pie! Take the first of your chilled dough discs and roll it out on a floured surface.
  2. Place this dough, your bottom crust, into your pie tin.Press the dough into the tin firmly.
  3. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust.
  4. Cut off the excess crust that hangs over the edge of the pie tin. [Depending on the crust design, you may want to leave a bit of overhang to seal over the top pie crust. I didn’t do so, as the braid adds an additional crust layer and I didn’t want to ruin the ratio of flavors.]
  5. With your egg yolk in a small dish, add a bit of water to thin it out. Brush this egg and water over the edge of the bottom crust.
  6. Pour the apple slices into the crust, then cover with the 1/3 cup of filling mixture that you set aside earlier.
  7. Roll out the other disc for your top crust the same way you did the last. Spread the crust over the top of the pie.
  8. Trim and seal the edges. Use a fork to add a crimped pattern to the edge of your pie.
  9. Cut slits in the top of your pie for airflow. I used three large slits, but some people prefer to make 5-6 smaller slits instead.
  10. Brush the top of your gorgeous pie with more of your egg wash, and sprinkle with the extra sugar.
  11. Bake the pie at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 35 minutes. [I would strongly recommend placing the pie tin onto a baking sheet or placing a baking sheet on the oven rack below the pie to catch any drippage. Otherwise you’ll smoke out your parents’ kitchen like I did.]
  12. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, until the crust is lightly brown.
  13. Let your pie cool for half an hour before serving. [If you’re feeling  luxe, add vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!]

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So there you have it. A delicious apple pie that you can share with someone you love. Or keep it all to yourself, I won’t judge.

I’m currently working on planning for the next Sweet Spot post. If you have any suggestions of recipes for me to try, post them in the comments. Let me know what you’d like to see!  For my bookish readers, I will be posting my thoughts about Lauren Groff’s New York Times Bestseller Fates and Furies this Friday, 12/2. Tomorrow starts December and a month’s worth of bookish, baking and holiday content. I personally celebrate Christmas and while in the past I have always been a Scrooge, I am looking forward to a wonderful Christmas season this year. That being said there are so many different holiday celebrations during this winter season for a variety of different religions and cultures, and I hope you have fun and enjoy this festive season whatever you’re celebrating.

Happy Reading! (& eating)

Erynn

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