Sunday, November 3, 2013

Apple Pie for You and Someone Special--Just in Time for Thanksgiving When Someone Says, "Bring the Pie!"

10-inch pie for dessert ("A" is for apple) and a coffee cup pie for someone who needs one, like my grandson, Rhyan.
I'm not a big pie eater.  Well, if I'm in Santa Fe I eat coconut cream pie.  If I'm in Florida, I make cherry pie for my family and, well, I eat some. But if I'm home, I bake, but I don't eat much.  A bit of crostata.  A bit more of pumpkin once a year. Honestly, one piece at Thanksgiving and one piece the next morning for breakfast.   I make tarts for gifts and have a bite.  (Especially lemon.)   Overall, I'm a chocolate person.  And while I don't EAT a lot of pie, I certainly bake it and do taste it.

Read all about Alyce's Pie Making here in Pie 101.(Step-by-Step Instructions)

Apple pie is tops for most pie lovers. I've made apple pie since I was probably 20 or so.  I'll probably make it until I die.  Because it makes folks happy.  Just mention it. Just pull out that fresh pie and flash it around. Leave it on the counter when friends are coming for dinner. PIE?  FOR US??  HOMEMADE?  YOU MUST LOVE US!  (I do.)

 It's that American thing, I guess:

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet...Don McLean and all that

Apple Pie for Thanksgiving --enough for one big one and another tiny one for you or...

This pie tastes mostly of apples...and isn't overly sweet.   If you like a cinnamon-heavy pie, you'll need to increase the cinnamon to 1 1/4 teaspoons.  Or, if you like really sweet pie, increase the sugar to 3/4 cup.

Directions for the coffee cup pie are at the end; you'll need an extra apple for it, but should have enough pastry scraps for a one-crust -- just the top--baby pie.


2 9-10" pie crusts (recipe below)

6 medium Granny Smith apples, cored, not peeled, and sliced thinly+
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon Chinese or Vietnamese cinnamon, divided (some for crust and some for the apples)
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup granulated white sugar  plus 2 tsp for bottom crust and top crust
2 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1 teaspoon heavy cream, half and half or milk


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place one pie crust in the 9" glass pie pan, trim, and crimp (pinch) edges.
3.  Use about 1 tsp of the sugar and mix with 1/8 tsp cinnamon.  Dust the entire bottom crust with the cinnamon-sugar  mixture.
4.  In a large bowl, mix apples and lemon juice.  Add flour,  2/3 cup of sugar, the rest of the cinnamon, the nutmeg and the salt.  Toss gently, but well.  Carefully pour or spoon apple mixture into the crust.
5.  Drop the diced butter evenly over the apple mixture.
6.  Place top crust over the pie and trim so that there's about an inch overhanging the pie. Save pastry trimmings for coffee cup pie or cinnamon pie crust cookies.#
7.  Pinch together the crust and either press edge of crust into the pie plate with the tines of a fork or crimp.
8.  Using pastry brush or your fingers, brush top crust with cream or milk and dust evenly with the last teaspoon of sugar.
9.  Make several small slits (evenly spread) through top crust for venting the filling as it cooks. You can make a design; I make a "K" for Kathy, for example, or an "A" for apple and a few "arrows."  Othertimes, if I'm feeling terribly artsy-fartsy, I draw something lightly with a toothpick or the sharp end of the knife before making the slits.  (Make sure and take a "dotted-line" approach, leaving space between the slits if your writing or drawing.  Otherwise, the letter or object you're outlining will sink right into the pie.)
10.  Bake 15-20 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake 50-60 minutes or until pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling out of the slits.   Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

6-8 servings

+Use a food processor, if you have one,  to slice the apples--otherwise slice thinly with a sharp knife.
*If it's getting too brown, carefully lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top of the pie.
#Pie crust cookies:  Roll pieces of leftover pastry, fry up in hot oil very quickly, and roll in cinnamon sugar

Prep note:  I usually prep the apple mixture and put  that aside.  Then I tackle making the crust.  I roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pie pan.  In goes the apple mixture and I set the whole thing aside while I take the second crust out of the frig and roll it.  I next roll the second crust loosely around the rolling pin (or you can carefully fold it in half and then in half again) and gently lay it on top of the buttered apples. Trim, crimp, and it's ready for the oven.
Here's the pie before baking.

Piece together the crust for a baby pie if need be.

Alyce's Double Pie Crust Recipe:

2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup salted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup iced water  (Use a 1 cup measuring cup and pour in 1/2 water; add ice and use quickly.)

+In food processor, place flour, butter and salt. (This may also be done with a pastry cutter or two knives.)  Pulsing, cut butter into the flour until there are 1/2" sizes pieces (and some smaller and some larger) of buttered crumbs.
*With machine running, pour in water slowly.  When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the machine, stop the machine, and turn dough out onto a well-floured board or counter.
*Gently and quickly pat dough into a ball and divide ball evenly in half.
*Wrap one half and refrigerate it.  Take the other half and press it into a flat disc.  Dust the dough with flour, and, with a floured rolling pin, roll from the center out to the edges moving clockwise around the dough until the dough is about 10" in diameter.  Move the dough every few rolls of the pin so it doesn't stick.  You may need to keep putting a bit of flour sprinkled underneath.
*Remove dough from frig and repeat for top crust.

All baked up with somewhere to go.

+No food processor:  Use a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers.  Read up on this method here.

Here's Rhyan's coffee cup pie before it was baked. I rolled out the scraps to make the top for this baby pie.
To make the coffee cup pie:
Slice up one more apple and, in a small bowl,  stir it up with a big tablespoon or two (if you like sweet) of sugar, a good pinch of cinnamon, a  1/2 teaspoon or so of lemon juice, and a heaping teaspoon of flour.  Spoon it into a buttered, oven safe coffee cup+.   Roll out the scraps left from the big pie dough into a circle about 5" across (or a bit larger than YOUR cup--you can also pat  or "paste" them together),  and place on top of the cup. Trim a bit if you need to.  With a sharp knife, add an initial or a drawing to vent steam.  Bake along with the big pie*; it'll be done somewhat earlier --when it's browned and the juices are streaming (or dribbling) out of the monogram.

+My cups are Apilco porcelain made in France, available through Williams-Sonoma.
*If you're somewhat unsure about the oven safety of your cup, definitely don't put it in at 400 degrees; wait and add it to the oven when you've lowered the temperature.

Have fun baking and taking care of your loved ones,

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