Saturday, October 22, 2011

Always Deliver on a Promise - Apple Pie

Sometimes I'm fast.  Usually, I'm painfully slow, with no reflexes to speak of and only picking up concepts long after the exams are graded.  When given an assignment, inevitably I wind up finishing it at last minute.  It took me a good two or three weeks from when my friend gave me the apples to actually making and delivering this pie.

Colorful, pretty apples....

With exams, homework and research, this pie was made between 1:00 and 4:00am.  Somehow, I think it was completely worth it.  Magically, the apples remained incredibly fresh in my roommate's fridge (I borrow some of her fridge space).  I really have to find the name and source of these apples, because they were seriously amazing.  Crisp, sweet, tart and flavorful, they peeled excellently.  I think I ate half the peels while peeling and slicing the apples.  The cores were hard to cut through, but I was borrowing a friend's small paring knife.  The apples also held together when cooked.  I baked the pie for a full hour, and they still retained a certain snap to them when speared with a plastic fork and rapidly devoured.

Apple tart, with fewer apples and a variation on the topping.

The crust was from the blog Not Without Salt, which used to be called Artisan Sweets after the author's bakery.  I am in love with this crust.  It's easy to work with, doesn't require refrigeration and is tender and delicious.  It's not flaky, but rather sturdy with a pleasantly mild flavor and very comforting.  

The topping was from Teens Cook Dessert by Megan and Jill Carle, originally for a Cinnamon Swirl Cake.  The idea was actually from Dutch Apple Pie from the same book.  I have no idea whether the recipes for the toppings are the same, but I don't have access to the book when I'm not at home, and it seemed like it might work.  It did :)

Finished pie!
Pie Crust from Not Without Salt
Makes one reasonably thick 9" diameter crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup milk (I use whole milk because that's what I can buy at the food court)
½ teaspoon salt

1 large mixing bowl
1 rubber spatula
2-cup liquid measure
1 cup dry measure 
½ teaspoon measure
1 9" pie pan (I used my 9" round cake pan.  Shhh...)
Lining material of choice


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prep a pie pan in your favorite method, whether that be lining with foil, parchment paper or butter, or a combination, or none at all.

2. Mix all ingredients in the bowl, then either press into the pie pan or roll out and place in the pie pan.  I chose to press because I don't have a rolling pin.

3. Bake the crust at 350°F for about 15 minutes, just to cook it and ensure that the crust won't be soggy when the pie is done.

Makes a little more than enough for one 9" round pie

6 large Apples
¾ cup sugar (white or brown, your choice)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sharp paring knife or apple peeler

Chef's knife if you have it
Cutting board
Large bowl for apples
Small bowl for peels and cores


Mix the lemon juice with the sugar in the large bowl.  As you peel and chop each apple, toss the slices with the lemon and sugar so that each slice is covered.  When all the apples are done, toss with a teaspoon of cinnamon.  You should now have a bowl of apples sitting in some sweet, flavorful liquid.  Save that!  It's useful for adding a touch of sugar and spice to many baked goods, like pumpkin bread, or cooked desserts like pudding.

Cinnamon topping from Teens Cook Dessert by Megan and Jill Carle
Makes roughly 1½ cups, enough to cover a 9" round pie + extra

¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt (optional if using salted butter)
2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 medium bowl
1 fork


Mix all ingredients together until crumbly and reasonably homogenous.  You may also use your fingers right before applying to apple pie.  Be careful, if you use 6 apples the apples will mound up and the topping may simply fall off the sides of the pie.

Some Assembly Required:

Arrange the apples in the pie crust for maximum structural integrity and top with the cinnamon topping.  Bake at 350°F for about 60 minutes, until the apples are mostly cooked and the topping is crisp.  Allow to cool somewhat, then slice and enjoy!

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