My return to baking, and it was in no way half-assed! Thanksgiving is just a week away, and I’m getting so excited for cranberry relish, turkey, stuffing, and pie. Also family time, duh. I dream of the day I get to live in a big house with a big backyard and guest rooms so I can host my whole family for this special holiday, but if I hope to successfully cook everything, I need some practice. So I decided to log some practice hours in the kitchen with one of the most cherished (and frustrating) of Thanksgiving regulars: pie.
I decided on an apple pie for a couple of reasons. The first is apple pie never makes it on our Thanksgiving spread. We just love our pumpkin pie too much. So I won’t be taking away from the special meal at all by mimicking it a week earlier. Also, I haven’t had the chance to enjoy many apple treats this fall due to Whole 30 (but let it be known I ate an apple almost every day), and after Thanksgiving my taste buds will be exclusively focused on egg-nog, cranberries, and peppermint. Finally, it’s a very family focused time of year and apple pie reminds me of both of my parents. All pie makes me think of my mom (and her flawless pie crust skills), but I also know my dad really loves a good apple pie. So my end goal became simple: make a pie so good your dad would have seconds (or thirds) and your mom would permanently surrender holiday baking responsibility to you.
Side note: If you’re reading this, take a break and text your mom and dad that you love them. Chances are they rock and don’t hear it enough.
So I started with the pie crust. Well, as you can see, I actually started with a trip to Starbucks because I knew I needed an iced coffee to keep me sharp here. But then I did the pie crust… twice. Because the first time I forgot the shortening. I’m just gonna chalk that up to the caffeine hadn’t hit my brain yet. But the second run went well! I even managed to lay the crust out evenly and do the special pinching thing that makes it look so cute.
For the crust, straight from my mama’s mouth:
Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt. My mom does this in a food processor but I just used a fork because my processor isn’t big enough. Then I cut 1/3rd cup of butter into cubes and measured 1/3rd cup of Crisco and added them to the flour mixture, combined it all until the butter was in chunks the size of lima beans. I think…it’s been a while since I’ve had a lima bean. Then I added like 9 tbsp of ice-cold water. I started with 5 tbsp and slowly combined/added more water until the dough held together but wasn’t wet. I wrapped it up in plastic wrap and shoved it in the fridge for 1 hour. *Next time I might double this recipe so that I have enough dough to actually do pretty lattice-work + embellishments. I was kind of struggling to find enough dough for that at the end.*
After an hour I rolled the dough out on a floured surface and lay it over the pie dish. I trimmed the extra dough and did the pinching thing, then put the dish in the refrigerator while I made the filling.
For the filling, adapted from The Faux Martha:
I peeled, cored, and diced 7 apples (I chose McIntosh + Granny Smith). 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of flour, 3 tsp of lemon juice, some sea salt (not measured), 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4th tsp of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
After assembling the pie, doing the lattice-work, punching out some fall leaf embellishments, and finally applying an egg wash, I popped that sucker into the oven (400) for 20 minutes. Then I turned it down to 325 and baked it for 40 more minutes. During the last 10 minutes I covered the pie with a silicon cover to prevent it from getting too brown.
I told Mark to bring home vanilla ice cream, because it isn’t really apple pie without ice cream, but he forgot. So I tried a slice solo and it was so good! The crust was flakey and not chewy; The spiced apple filling was delicious and not too mushy. I dare say, it might have impressed my father.