Saturday, June 23, 2012

Home Made Apple Pie

I'm a big fan of the TV Show "Masterchef".  One of the thing I wanted to do last season was to personally try all the pressure tests the contestants had to go through.  I think most of the challenges are really interesting and learning them all should help me a lot in building up my culinary repertoire.  So now that season 3 has started I'm determined to follow through on my original plan.  However I'm not subjecting myself to the same time constraints and I get to do internet research so it's not quite the pressure test the contestants go through.  So this weeks pressure test was home made Apple Pie!  I've made my own pie crust for quiche so I felt this shouldn't go too bad.  There's a big discussion all over the internet on what apples are the best for making pie.  Tart apples like Granny Smith hold up their form really well while being baked while sweeter apples turn into applesauce.  I used a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious in this pie.


Pie Pastry
12 ounces of flour
2 sticks of butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 teaspoons of ice water

Apple Filling
6 Apples (yes I know the picture has 8)
1 cup of sugar
3 Tablespoons of corn starch
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Measure out your 12 ounces of flour.  Flour compacts together so pastry recipes like to give flour measurements in weight instead of volume to be more precise.  Then throw in your salt.  I added a tablespoon of sugar just because Alton Brown says it helps brown the crust.
Throw everything into a food processor and blitz to mix everything.  This is the first time I used a food processor to make pastry - usually I use a pastry cutter.  I mentioned that I wish I had a food processor to make my pie dough to a friend of mine and he graciously lent me his!
Cut up your 2 sticks of butter into chunks and throw them in the freezer for a few min.  The whole secret to flakey pie crust is not letting the butter melt.
Dump your butter into the food processor and blitz for 1 second 12 times or until the butter is broken up into little bits like this.  If you don't have a food processor you can use a pastry cutter and just work the butter until it is this small.  The advantage of a food processor is that it does this super fast so the butter doesn't melt as much.
Add your ice water while mixing.  Don't over mix your dough or it would form gluten strands and become more bread like in texture.  Mix just enough that your dough is just starting to come together.  If you press some between your fingers it should stick together.
Dump it out on a floured work area and work it into a little ball.  I sprinkled a bit more ice water to help it along.
 Like this.
Split it into two portions and stick it in the fridge.

 Core, peel, and slice your apples.
Add your other filling ingredients and mix it together.  I decided instead of 1 cup of white sugar I did a 1/2 white 1/2 brown mix.  I also didn't measure out the cinnamon so I think there's a bit too much.  You're supposed to add the juice of 1/2 a lemon in the recipe but I forgot to buy one.
Flour your work area again and roll out one of the crust portions.  I had trouble with the edges as I couldn't keep a nice rounded edge.  So I made sure that I rolled it extra large so that all the nice pastry can fit in the 9" pie pan and the yucky edges can just be trimmed off.
Loosely roll it up on your rolling pin and then transfer it onto the pie pan.
Add your apples!  Your bowl of apples should have a lot of juices in it.  I've seen youtube videos where they will pour the juices back into the pie but I didn't want a watery filling so I omitted the leftover juices.  One thing I forgot to do was to dollop little bits of butter all over.
Roll on the top layer of pastry.  I kinda tore the top pastry a bit while lifting it off the work area.  But it ended up ok in the final product.
To seal the pie, go along the edges and fold the bottom layer pastry over the top of the top layer pastry, and then crimp with your fingers.
Give it an egg wash on top.  Just beat an egg and then brush it onto the pastry.  Sprinkle some sugar on top and cut some vents.
Cook in a 350 F oven for about 60 min, and your done!

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