Monday, November 26, 2007

Apple pie time

I used to make pies all the time, especially in the summer when our cherry tree was covered with pie cherries, and then later when the apple tree was full of apples. Now the birds get the cherries and the apples are few and far between. I think it's been at least a year or more since I baked a pie, and longer than that since I baked one from our own fruit.

I rashly - on the spur of the moment - promised some friends a few weeks ago that I'd bake them an apple pie. They've been hinting broadly every time we see them, so I figured I'd better come through. I hoped to get it made so I could give it to them the Tuesday before Thanksgiving as I knew we would be seeing all of them that evening. I bought the apples but didn't get any farther than that. As we are seeing them again tomorrow I decided I'd better bake tonight instead of doing my appliqué.

I have a marvelous no-fail pie crust recipe that always turns out perfectly. And I love to decorate the top of my pies with leftover pieces of the pie dough. To avoid having a soggy bottom crust you need to bake your pie in either a glass pie plate or a dark dull metal pie pan. I have my mothers pie pans that are wonderfully dark and dull - they must be well over 50 years old because I remember her making pies in them when I was very small. My crust recipe makes enough for a double crust and a single crust pie, so this time I made two apple pies, and put a crumb topping on the second one.

No Fail Pie Crust

3 cups stirred but unsifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups shortening

Stir the salt into the flour so it is distributed well. Cut the shortening into the flour-salt mixture

Mix together:

1 beaten egg
1 tsp white vinegar
5 tbsp. cold water

Add the above mixture to the flour-shortening mixture slowly, stirring with a fork while adding. Continue to mix until the dough forms a ball. I usually finish up with my hands in order to gather all the flour-shortening crumbs.

This dough rolls out nicely, doesn't tear when putting it into the pan, and the second roll out of the scraps is almost as tender and flaky as the first roll out.

Another secret to great pies - breads too - is to use a pastry cloth cover on your breadboard and a pastry sock on your rolling pin. You need much less flour this way so the dough picks up way less flour as you are rolling it out. It's easy to clean the board also - just remove the pastry cloth, shake the crumbs of flour and dough into the garbage, and then toss in the wash. My pastry cloth is sewn into a tube that fits exactly around my breadboard so I don't have any trouble with it moving.

Oh boy - I can smell those pies cooking. Bring on the vanilla ice cream - I'm ready to dig in!


Jeanne said...

I thought I had my fill of pie over the long week-end, but I could almost taste that apple pie you pictured.

Tazzie said...

Yum! My mouth is watering seeing those pies. I'm definitely going to try your crust, I have a lot of canned fruit to use, this will be perfect!

loulee1 said...

They look tasty. I never was good at pastry, so I made apple crumbles last week.

Kathie said...

apple pie, yummy
my favorite!

CONNIE W said...

Looks so delicious!!!!!!!!

Leslie said...

Thanks for the tips about the pastry cloth. I've been using the same pastry cloth for 20 years, but I don't wash it, just shake the crumbs and lose flour, fold and store. I thought that was the way it was supposed to be done! I don't have to flour it much with all the accumulation. *more research needed* :D

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Oh boy, those pies look good! I love pies, any kind of pies! Pies, pies, and more pies!

doni said...

Ummmmm - pie. My husband only likes two types of pie - hot or cold! VBG! Looks delicious!

YankeeQuilter said...

Thanks for the pie recipe and the hints. I've become really lazy with the store bought "cheater" dough (you know the kind you can put in your own pans!) I still have a few apples and several bags of blackberries in the freezer...maybe I'll get ambitious tonight!

NanaK said...

Your apple pie looks beautiful; just the thought of it makes me hungry! I used to bake pies quite often when our family was still at home. Hubby is very happy when I do make a pie...those days are rare. My pie crust recipe is similar to yours and is so easy to roll out. Guess I should make another for him soon! Thanks for the inspiration. Now, I'm going to check out the rest of your blog!

Dawn said...

MMMM - I LOVE apple pie!!!! Mine is kind of similar minus the egg and vinegar. What in the world does the vinegar do?

Anonymous said...

OK....I'm going to give the No-Fail piecrust a try......I have had many failures in the pie try!!

Crystal in Pahrump

Libby said...

I have long feared making my own piecrusts - a youthful failure gave me no confidence. Now I'm encouraged to try again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Kathy Wagner said...

Beautiful works of art! Too pretty to eat!