I am a slacker at this blog business. I remember when I started I had my whole month planned out, my photos edited and my copy ready to go days before things were schedule to post. I agonized over each photo and toggled the contrast, curves and highlights endlessly. I wrote the entry from beginning to end, then went back two or three times to edit.
Not gonna lie kids, I throw this stuff together the night before and you’re lucky if you get one post a week. God bless you if you still keep tabs on me. My, you are patient!
I confess to also being a baking slacker, because I don’t make pie, and it is most certainly because of pie crust. I hate making pie crust and feel like a liar using store bought. Until last week I had made two pies in my entire life. I recall with each of them screaming in frustration as the pie crust cracked or crumbled or tore. I can throw a mighty tantrum in the kitchen – I am a redhead after all.
Then I saw this post on the King Arthur Flour blog that convinced me I should give pie crust another go. It was a brilliant comparison on all butter crust, versus all shortening crust, versus a combo butter/shortening crust. The best part though, is toward the end where they add vodka to the pie crust. VODKA! I am not a chemist, but I sort of understand that subbing half your water for vodka (alcohol) allows you to create a more pliable dough without the added gluten development that adding water would give you. Additionally, alcohol cooks faster, creating more steam, which makes for a flakier crust…. I think. Here, this dude explains it.
I chose a Paula Deen recipe for the filling, because if anyone knows pie, it’s Paula Deen.
I was so nervous about rolling out the crust and putting it in the pan, I never thought ahead on how to actually do the lattice! I had never attempted a lattice top before and in my haste I just cut out strips and laid them on top! Thankfully, this dough was as easy to work with as promised and I was able to weave with ease.
And I was proud as a pageant mom when it tasted just as good as it looked! I did it! I did it! I’m the grand supreme apple pie princess!!
Some advice: I noticed in the comments of Paula Deen’s recipe that people didn’t use a full 16oz of applesauce and many doubled the “crunch topping.” I followed suit and highly recommend you only use 10 – 12oz of apple sauce depending on how “soupy” you like your pie filling. To be honest, I didn’t think the “crunch topping” was all that crunchy or fabulous. Next time I’ll make with a simple sprinkle of thick sparking sugar.
For the crust, I only wish I’d rolled it out thinner. This makes for a super thick and flakey dough. I could have had scraps leftover to make mini pies had I known!
My stand-by, no-fail, all-american, Apple Pie recipe has been found. For that I am thankful.
à la Hungry Redhead
Dough by Cook’s Illustrated
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
Filling by Paula Deen
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples
1 (16-ounce) jar applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until all the butter is coated in the flour mixture, forming pea-size balls. Cut in remaining cup flour. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use a folding motion to combine by pressing down on dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the two discs of dough.*
Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie. For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.
*I like to put the dough between two pieces of wax paper. I flour the dough first, then give it a roll or two, then rotate 90 degrees, then roll again and so on until I’ve made a full circle. Then I remove the top piece of wax paper, flip the dough and re-flour it. I repeat the roll and turn process until I reach my desired size. I use the pie plate to eye it and allow at least a half inch excess around the edge. Then I remove the top wax paper, put my hand unearth the wax paper on the bottom side of the dough and gently flip it into the pan and peel off the wax paper. Umm, google search a video on the lattice. I made it up as I went.