Friday, November 21, 2008

Apple Pie

I made this recipe with the vodka pie crust last weekend, and thought it was the best apple pie I've ever made. I think that's party due to the variety of apples I used, which were all picked at my grandma's house. They are mainly old-fashioned varieties, and I couldn't name any of them for you. America's Test Kitchen suggests using a mix of Granny Smith and Macintosh. Macintosh are my favorite apples, but they can be very hard to find in most grocery stores (I think they must not travel well, as they are very thin-skinned); use whatever good baking apples you can find in your neck of the woods.

The allspice in this recipe is an unusual touch. I liked it a lot, but if you don't care for it or want a more traditional flavor, you can omit or reduce. Mary actually ground the allspice in our mortar and pestle, which made it stronger than the average stuff in a jar. (I know! We are like the freakin' Ingalls here!). It is correct that the recipe contains no thickener or gluten, which adds to the fresh flavor. It holds together well, as long as you are together enough and patient enough to bake it early in the day and wait at least four hours to slice it.

Apple Pie

(America's Test Kitchen, from the original The Best Recipe book, no longer in print)

*4 lbs apples (preferably half each Granny Smith and Macintosh, about 8 medium total. As I mentioned above, I used a mix, and a couple more than 8)
*3/4 cup sugar
*1 1/2 tbs juice and 1 tsp zest from one lemon
*1/4 tsp salt
*1/4 tsp nutmeg
*1/4 tsp cinnamon
*1/4 tsp allspice

-Prepare your dough (obviously!)and refrigerate
-Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425.
-Roll out one disc of dough on floured surface into a 12" circlish shape (I can never manage a perfect circle). Fold dough into quarters, place dough point in center of your deep dish or regular pie plate (Pyrex is best) and unfold. Ease gently into sides of pan, leaving overhang. Put back into fridge.
-Peel and core apples and slice into 1/2" or so slices, larger than you might normally do. Toss with remaining ingredients. Turn into the pie shell, making sure all the juices make it in, mounding in center.
-Roll out second dough disc and place on top. Trim edges to 1/2" overhang, tuck under themselves, and crimp. Slice an "A" into the top crust with a sharp knife.
-Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 375, and bake until juices bubble through slits in crust and crust is deep golden brown, about 30-35 minutes longer.
-Cool on rack, at least 4 hours.

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