Friday, August 30, 2013

American Apple Pie

I used to think I didn't like apple pie.  Biting into a slice of pie and crunching down on an apple just sends shivers down my spine.  Recently it occurred to me that I don't actually hate apple pie.  I just hate the texture of most apple pies.  This pie is the result of some experimentation and results in a pie that does NOT have crunchy apples.  

This pie is amazing.  Double crust, or crumble topping- either way, it's delicious.  If it's not one of the best pies you've had in your life, I will eat it for you. ;)  If you want to make a crumble version see the notes at the bottom of the recipe- you'll need to omit some of the sugar in the pie recipe so it won't be too sweet.  I've included my favorite crumble recipe as well.

I know most people use Granny Smith apples for apple pie, but I love using Braeburn's.  They aren't quite as sour as Granny Smith but they are a tart apple and they don't turn to complete mush when baked like many other apples.  I think they have a better flavor as well. Give them a try!

All-American Apple Pie
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

-Double pie crust
-6 HUGE Braeburn apples (or 8 medium)
-2 Tbsp Minute tapioca granules.
-1/2 lemon (for squeezing)

-1/2 cup butter
-3 Tbsp flour
-1/4 cup water
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1 tsp vanilla

Peel and slice your apples. (After I peel mine, I use an apple cutter to cut them into thick slices.  Then I cut each of those slices very thinly into 4 pieces.  These thin slices cook fast and won't be so crunchy in the finished product.)

Toss minute tapioca and a couple of squeezes of lemon juice with the apples.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Press one pie crust into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.  Stir in vanilla. Reserve just enough of this mixture for glazing the top (Keep it in the saucepan, but remove it from the heat and put a lid on it).

Pour the rest of the mixture over the apples and toss to coat.

Pour apples into pie crust.

Top pie with the second pie crust.  Make sure to vent it well.

Brush reserved sugar mixture over the top of the lattice crust. If it has thickened too much, move it back over low heat (lid on) for a minute or two until you are able to work with it.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over while baking.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Lower heat to 350 and bake for 45 minutes more. Because I prefer an apple pie with NO crunch, I then turn the oven off, and leave the pie in the oven for another 30-60 minutes. It is done by now, so this step is totally up to you and how you prefer your pie. (Use a wooden skewer to test the firmness of the apples if you're not sure!)

Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Allow to come to room temperature before serving. This will "set" the juices so it's not runny.

You can heat individual slices up in the microwave if you want hot apple pie!

Top with vanilla bean ice cream.

For Apple Crumble Pie:  Toss apples with all of the mixture (Do not reserve any for brushing.) Top with crumble topping and bake as usual.

Crumble Topping
-1 1/4 cups flour
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup butter, melted and COOLED

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Add cooled melted butter. Toss until chunks form.  Sprinkle topping evenly over pie.

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