Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As American As

OK maybe 30 pounds of apples was a bit optimistic, but I'm not giving up yet. This pie only my first effort with the apples, and it only used 1/15th of my stash. That's both good and daunting. But yesterday, I skipped yoga to run outside--it suddenly feels so important to soak up all the sun and warmth available to me, maybe that's why fall is my favorite season. I listened to the National (as promised) and Joshua Radin, whose music just exudes love to me. All while I rolled, peeled, chopped, baked and made the usual mess. The pie ended up extremely juicy, so juicy that some splashed on the floor when I pulled it out of the oven. I wiped it up, it was still sticky, so Megan wiped it up. Then my shoes stuck to the floor again this morning, and I wiped it up again. Perhaps apple pie juice will be one with our kitchen floor from here to eternity. The pie crust was perfect though--flaky just how I love it. And the autumnal spices paired with apples just spelled fall to me--so tart, sweet and savory. Not much can beat warm apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Apple pie a la mode is such a play of textures.

I went to a wedding this weekend for a couple friends. It was an incredibly lovely event that reflected the amazing couple so well. But part of the judge's "sermon" (?) stands out to me. She read court rulings from different marriage cases, most of which defined marriage as a socially accepted institution, a definition I found a bit cold for a wedding. But she closed by quoting from a California court ruling that said something like, "Half of marriages today end in divorce, the fact that people still choose to get married reflects the triumph of hope over experience."

So here's to hope and apple pie.

Pie Crust: from Better Homes and Gardens Baking Book 2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup butter, cold 6 or 6 tablespoons cold water Now that I've conquered pie crust, I find it a very rewarding task (as with most anything involiving eating--hello, that's why I like to cook). In a large bowl, mix flour and salt together. Cut butter into 1-inch pieces. Incorporate into flour mixture using a pastry blender. Mash together until mixture forms pea-size crumbs. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time, using your hands to mix the dough until all of it is wet and it forms a ball well kneaded slightly. (Here's where things get messy and fun.)
Split dough in half. Form each half into a ball. Turn one ball out on a heavily floured surface. Smash a little with your palm. Using a rolling pie, roll dough straight back and forth a couple times, then rotate dough from 12 to 2, roll back and forth, rotate from 2 to 4, roll. Rotate, roll, etc. until the dough forms a 12-inch circle (or something resembling a circle). Roll dough onto rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Gently unroll, squarely onto pan. Do the same with the other ball of dough. For a lattice top, just slice dough into 1-inch strips. Later, when you're attaching the lattice to the bottom layer of crust use a bit of lukewarm water to adhere the dough to each other.
Classic Apple Pie: from Better Homes & Gardens Baking Book 2 pounds of baking apples (I used Jonathon, but Makintosh works, just anything tart) 1 tablespoon lemon juice 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon allspice All these pie recipes call for pounds of apples--do these people think I have room in my kitchen for a scale or something? I totally overestimated, but all I really needed was five regular-size apples (I peeled 9).
Preheat oven to 375. Peel and thinly slice your apples. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice--this will keep them from browning.
Here's the fun/easy part. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to apples and toss with a spoon until completely coated. Place in crusted pie pan. Closer her up with your lattice top. You can paint the top with an egg white wash, but I didn't and it was fine. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool and serve.


Jamie said...

I have a bunch of apples ready to be transformed into something fall-ish.

Maybe cornstarch would work to help thicken the "apple juices" better than flour?

Lainey Seyler said...

totally didn't know that's what the flour was for.

Jess said...

did you say 30 lbs?! oh my gosh.
and by the way, that apple pie looks delish. i'm coming over. hah!
i'm proud of you for making pie crust from scratch. we certainly know you've come a long way (remember the crust/shortbread monster that lived in the back of your fridge?). but the mere fact that you forged on ahead just impresses me. i am still intimidated by what i have not yet conquered - pie crust.

Lainey Seyler said...

obviously, if i can make pie crust, we know that anyone can make pie crust.