November 7, 2020 Today I baked an apple pie to celebrate America. No matter what your politics, I think we can at least agree on apple pie!
I love apple pie but I often struggle to get it right: the apples are under- or over-cooked, or the filling is runny, or it has Paul Holiday's dreaded soggy bottom. But this time it turned out perfectly.
There is a secret ingredient in this pie, inspired by a gift from my quilting friend Kelly Ashton. After tasting what it did to this pie, I'll probably never make an apple pie without it ever again.
No matter which way your politics run, this is a pie worth sharing, and so, because I can't invite you all over to my house for a slice, here's the recipe. (Pay attention to the techniques -- they do matter.)
6 large Honey Crisp apples or other firm, tart variety*
(Avoid apples that turn mushy when they bake)
1/4 cup brown sugar*
1/4 cup white sugar* (Plus 1 T extra to sprinkle on top of the crust)
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon (Vietnamese cinnamon is AMAZING!)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 Tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger*
2 Tablespoons butter (I like salted butter for this. If you don't have salted, add 1/4 teaspoon salt with the spices)
1 package of Pillsbury pie crust (2 rolls) or make your own
9" pie dish
Strips of aluminum foil long enough to fit around the pie dish
*The amount of sugar may seem low compared to other recipes, but remember that the crystallized ginger adds sugar as well. The sweetness of the apples makes a difference too: if you are using a very tart apple such as Granny Smith, you might add a bit more, unless you like a tart pie. Ultimately, adjust to your taste and to the type of apple.
Take the pie crust out of the fridge or freezer and let it come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel and core the apples, and slice them 1/4" thick. Make these cuts parallel, not wedg-y so that the thickness is uniform across the whole slice.
Squeeze the lemon juice over them to prevent them from going brown.
Mix the sugar, spices, crystallized ginger and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour over the apples and stir until the apples are coated and the sugar has mixed with the lemon juice.
Put one sheet of pie crust in a 9" pie dish. Ease into the bottom of the dish without stretching the dough.
Put the apple mixture in the pie crust. Scrape all of the juice from the bowl into the pie crust. Dot with butter.
Beat the egg in a small bowl.
Put the second sheet of pie crust over the top. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with egg, using a pastry brush, then press the top crust down to seal the edge. Trim off any excess dough and crimp the edges with a fork. (Or, don't trim and make a fluted edge with the excess dough).
Cut several slits in the top of the crust (important so that steam is released and the filling will thicken.) Mix a dash of cinnamon with the extra 2T of sugar. Brush the top crust with egg then sprinkles with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes, then cover the edges with the strips of foil so the edges don't over cook. Bake another 20-25 minutes.
Cool completely before serving (if you can wait) so the filling can finish thickening.
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