Good Old Fashioned Apple Pie

My laptop died about a week ago. For the first couple of days I felt completely cut off from the world, despite having a phone that gives me access to Facebook, Twitter and basically the entire internet. I don’t keep a lot of information on my computer, I’ve heard enough identity theft horror stories to know better. I do however keep pictures on it. Lots of them. And I never backed them up. My trips to San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, and a few random moments in life are all currently in limbo. I know, I know, I should have backed them up, I promise I’ll never make that mistake again. My brother says he might be able to salvage them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

The loss of these momentos had me very stressed, but I realized there was more to my computer withdrawal than that. I missed blogging. I haven’t been doing this very long, but it seems it’s become an important part of my life. So I decided to pick up a pen and some loose leaf paper and start writing up posts to be retyped once everything was sorted out. I’m probably dating myself by saying this, but there is something very soothing about actually putting my thoughts on paper. I think better with a pen in my hand; I can chew on the cap when I’m stuck, cross things out, draw arrows linking thoughts. I think I might actually keep writing my posts this way. I know it’s a waste of time and paper, but I find it relaxing.

You know what else I find relaxing? Apple pie.

I love the feeling of the dough coming together in my hands, the sense of accomplishment when I roll it into something that resembles a circle, the meditative time spent peeling the apples, and putting my face up to the oven window to watch it brown and bubble. Don’t even get me started on the smell of cinnamon and apples. And the best part, the first bite of crispy flaky crust and the sweet yet tart filling.

Apple Pie

Crust

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups butter, cold
  • 1/4 cup shortening or lard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-10 tbsp milk, cold (more as needed)

Filling

  • 5 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  1. Make the dough. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter and shortening into the flour. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it has a crumbly texture. Stir in 5 tbsp of cold milk, keep adding milk until the dough comes together.
  2. Form dough into 2 disks, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Once chilled, roll out one disk until about 1/4 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Chill.
  4. Make the filling. Toss the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, flour and cranberries. Pour into pie plate.
  5. Roll out second disk of dough. Place over the pie plate, cut off the excess overhang. Press the edges of the top and bottom crust together making sure the are sealed. Cut air vents into the top crust. Chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat the oven to 375. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Enjoy!

American Pie

The celebration of American Cuisine is finally here. Casey of Eating, Gardening, & Living in Bulgaria has invited food bloggers to share what they think American Cuisine is. I thought long and hard about this one, I even asked other bloggers for their opinions. Some people seem to think American cuisine doesn’t exist. I disagree, but I think it suffers from multiple personality disorder. The regional differences in cuisine in the states makes it hard to pinpoint one thing that could be called American cuisine. I think what all of these regional cuisines have in common is that are all looking for ways to innovate an incorporate new techniques and ingredients. I guess that’s what makes them american.

So when it came time to choose something to make I went with I feel is a traditional American meal, Thanksgiving dinner. Since it’s the middle of the summer, and I’m just cooking for myself, I made this a little more low-key than your typical Thanksgiving meal. Instead of roasting a whole bird, I just roasted a turkey breast stuffed with caramalized onions, goat cheese and cranberries (what’s Thanksgiving without cranberries and stuffing?). On the side there was sweet potato hash and roasted carrots.

And of course there was pie. I decided to make a pie with seasonal fruit instead of apple or pumpkin, and after Smitten Kitchen’s description of cherry pie as “epic, iconic, and it even has a metal song dedicated to it“, my choice was clear.

I have to say this pie kicked my butt. My original plan was to use this recipe from the New York Times, which calls for a prebaked crust. I got to work making my favourite crust (all butter, of course). At this point I should specify that it was ridiculously hot the day I made the pie, and I never actually read the recipe instructions. It took forever to make the crust, because I kept having to put all the ingredients back in the fridge to cool (cold ingredients make the best pie crusts). I finally got in all done, chilled and rolled. I put it in the oven and got to work on the filling. After about 15 minutes I took a peak at the crust and realized it shrank, like, a lot. So I stopped the oven and started making more pie crust dough. This time I stuck with the traditional soggy bottomed fruit pie technique, and I have to say it was pretty darn tasty (except for the burnt bits). I actually kinda like the soggy bottom in a fruit pie. And because of the crust do-over it wasn’t ready on time to bring to my parents for dinner, so I had to eat the whole thing all by myself.

Cherry Pie

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  1. Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture looks rough and crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until combined
  3. Press some of the dough together. If it doesn’t hold together add more water.
  4. Form a disk with the dough and chill for at least 4 hours.
  5. Roll out the dough and place in pie plate. Chill again for about 20 minutes.
  6. Save excess dough for topping pie.

Cherry Filling

  • 4 cups pitted cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Toss cherries with other ingredients, make sure cherries are well covered.
  2. Pour into chilled pastry dough.
  3. Cover filling with excess dough.
  4. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cherry filling is bubbling.

All in all, I think my american cuisine meal was quite delicious. Thanks again to Casey for hosting the event. Check out her site on July 4th for the round up of what everyone made!

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