Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jerry-Rigged Apple Pie

jerry-rigged apple pie

I will preface this whole post by stating what is probably incredibly obvious: I am not Betty Crocker. I mean, I like to get my bake on every once in awhile (generally between the months of October and December) but I have friends who are s-e-r-i-o-u-s bakers. And I do not count myself among them. Actually, I don't consider myself in their hemisphere. But I do have a couple of recipes up my sleeve that always get rave reviews (my mother -- the consummate Francophile -- told me that contrary to popular belief, French woman can't make everything but that almost every one of them can make a few things very, very well. I have glommed on to that philosophy with a vengeance so if you're French and disagree, don't tell me!). In the fall, after a family apple-picking adventure, there's only one thing that my family wants: my Jerry-Rigged Apple Pie.

My husband talks about this pie CONSTANTLY. As soon as the weather starts to turn even the tiniest smidge cooler, he whips out the calendar so we can schedule our family apple-picking adventure. He's so obsessed with this pie that he'll actually go apple-picking when the Pats are playing. I mean, for my guy, that's love bordering on obsession.

I sort of stumbled into this pie several years ago. I made the filling from one recipe, added a little from another , made the crust following the instructions from a third and then tweaked it over the course of a couple of tries. And the Jerry-Rigged Apple Pie was born.

This is an incredibly easy recipe though you do have to leave a little time for items to chill in the fridge. On a level from 1-10 (1 being for beginners), I'd give this a 3. If you can hold a peeler, you can handle this. So without further ado: 

For the Filling:
  • 8-9 apples*, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • Juice of 1/2 of a large lemon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar 
  • 1 tbspn cinnamon
  • 1 pinch mace
  • 1 pinch nutmeg 
  • 1 pinch allspice
*I use whatever apples are best for cooking that are available on the day we go picking. My favorites are Macoun and Empire because they're on the tart end of spectrum but I usually throw in a couple of of whatever we have. Because I'm crazy like that.
  • Place apples pieces in a large mixing bowl.
  • Squeeze and mix in lemon juice. Add juice incrementally to preferred taste.
  • Mix in sugar, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg & allspice.
For the Crust*: 
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 egg 
* This crust is easy to make, the process is relatively kid friendly and the crust is really malleable so you can have fun making jazzing it up. We've done all kinds of shapes though the family favorite is hearts (thus the decoration in the picture above). I usually use a deep dish pie plate and this recipe makes enough crust to handle a top and bottom crust with enough left-over for decorations.
  • Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
  • Add butter and shortening. Cut in using the "pulse" button on the processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. 
  • Add buttermilk and pulse until moist clumps form. 
  • Take out of processor and roll the dough into a ball.
  •  Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap separately and chill 1 hour. (Can be prepared ahead. Refrigerate 1 week or freeze 1 month. Let dough stand at room temperature to soften slightly before using.)  
  • Once chilled, roll out dough and place in pie plate. Place back in fridge and chill for 20-30 minutes.
  • Fill pie crust and roll out top crust cutting off extra crust and setting aside.
  • Use eggwhites to create an eggwash. spread on pie crust.
  • Roll out extra crust and create decorative shapes as desired. Place on pie and use egg wash on top
  • Cut vent holes in the crust (oops, forgot this on mine last night!)
  • If desired, sprinkle large granule sugar on top of crust
To Bake:  
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Place the pie pan on a baking sheet (to catch any spill over) and cook in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. 
  • Turn the oven down to 350° F. and continue to cook for about another hour, until the top crust is a beautiful golden brown. If/when the edges start to darken too much, cover it with aluminum foil.  
Serve with vanilla ice cream and prepare to be praised.

I usually make one pie just after we go picking and make enough crust/filling for 2-3 more pies; it freezes well and gets me through a dinner party or two as well as Thanksgiving. I think I might give it a go doing it this way this year  because you can never have enough pie, right?

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