I have a secret to confess...oh the suspense! It's killing you, I know.
The secret is...I am a pastry newbie. I was totally afraid of and intimidated by pastry for the longest time. I think it's my fear of failure. I wasn't ready to put myself out there and try when the results might be a tough, tasteless crust that could be outdone by something from your grocery freezer section. It's also one of those things that people always talk about as being hard. PLUS, it seems that everyone nowadays is using food processors, and I only have a little tiny baby one because our kitchen is already stuffed to capacity with baking supplies.
On Friday, I took the plunge into the scary world of pastry with the helpful advice and watchful eye of my friend Melissa. The pie was a success! Mostly. The issues had nothing to do with the crust which is good. I froze the pie after I made it Friday and baked it Saturday. The thing to keep in mind here, is that I made the most ridiculously huge pie ever made. It was MASSIVE! I baked it 20 minutes longer than the recommended time, but the apples were still a bit hard and there was a lot of liquid inside. Will (my friend who commissioned the pie) still enjoyed it. Next time, I will not make it so big, and hopefully that will solve my problems. If anyone else has pie tips, feel free to let me know! I am always looking for tips and advice.
We used Martha Stewart's Old Fashioned Apple Pie recipe.
For the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed
For the filling
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 apples (4 tart, 4 sweet)
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons for sprinkling
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
1. Combine flour and salt. Take butter from the fridge and cut into chunks. Cut in with pastry blender (or your hands - being careful not to warm things up too much) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger chunks. Add water and mix together with hands, adding a tbsp at a time, until it starts to form a dough. The key is for it to still be a tiny bit crumby at the end.
2. Divide dough into two and chill dough for two hours. While the dough is chilling peel and cut up the apples. Squeeze lemon juice on them to prevent browning. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to the apples and toss to coat.
3. When the dough has chilled, roll it out into a circle that will fit into your pie plate but hang over slightly. Put the apples in and dot with butter. Mix together your egg yolk and milk and brush the edges of the pastry with it. Roll out the other piece of dough and place it on top. Press together the edges and bursh the whole thing with the egg mixture. Put a few slits in the pie to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar, then place pie in freezer for half an hour.
4.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Position the racks in the center of the oven and in the lower third.
5. Place a cookie sheet on the lower rack to catch any overflowing juices from the pie. Place the pie on the center rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and there is a sign of bubbling juices. Cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 1 hour. Slice and serve.