19.10.11

 Fall has indeed arrived, here in Chicago most of the pretty leaves are decorating the streets instead of the trees, which, I don't mind. Its been rainy the last day or two, and supposed to be rainy today as well, which again, I don't mind; I've been told that I would enjoy Portland. I have had a very busy last week or so. The bebes are cutting lots of teeth, Julian's bottom two have erupted this week along with his budding sense of independence, Lord help me. We have finally moved his crib into his room, it took me a long time but  I was ready for his big move, he is taking to it well. We really enjoyed co sleeping up until about a month ago, when Julian would wake up in the middle of the night wanting to play, or nurse when he wasn't hungry, leading to sore nipples and a cranky husband. There's lots of talk about what's right when it comes to babies sleeping through the night, Julian still wakes up about two to three times a night, which is inconvenient and sometimes frustrating but I think that he will grow out of it when he needs to, and Im ok with being a little sleepy till then.

I have had quite a few things on my mind and heart this last week, and I think its the change in seasons thats inspiring me. There are so many things that I want to do and try, canning, for example. My momma sent me a beautiful glass jar of home made peach preserves, and it was so delicious, it really inspired me. I also picked up this book about eating seasonally, having a well stocked pantry, canning, growing herbs and being frugal and creative and making delicious food all at the same time. I especially like that there are quite a few recipes that include vermouth to deglaze cooking pots, and a spin on rice pudding that involves quinoa. But, today I am making a pie, and I suppose thats what this post was intended for. Oh, yes, I was thinking about the whole eating seasonally thing because Im making an apple pie, and I don't want this to turn into a blog about apples. but they are in season so there will be quite a few posts involving apples, and probably various types of squash.

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A good pie starts with a good crust. Some people use lard in their pie crusts, which yields a very flaky crust but lard is disgusting so I will not be using it. It even sounds gross. LARD. egh. I think all butter crusts are the best so thats what Im making. I always make sure to pre measure out all of my ingredients and put them in the fridge to chill before hand, because when you are making something like a pie dough, you want everything to be very cold. I cut the butter in three slices length wise, turn it, slice three times again length wise and then cut across and it makes little cubes that are easy to handle, but I stick them back in the fridge because the heat from my hands will melt the butter a little, and I also put a couple of ice cubes in some water in the fridge so that I have it ready when it comes time. I also do a double layer pie, so I make the recipe twice in a row, I do not do a double batch and then half the dough. 

Butter Crust 
1 + 1/4 c all purpose flour
pinch of salt 
10 tbsp unsalted butter 
Ice water 

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Mix together the salt and flour, and then using your hands, incorporate the butter , or you can use a pastry knife to "cut in" the butter into the flour. When I use my hands I just pick up the butter chunk and put some flour in my hands and rub it in between my fingers till its crumbly, if you do it by hand it takes quite a while, but I think I prefer it over using a food processor. When you have "cut in" all the butter, you can start adding the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, till the dough starts to hold together. Sometimes it take three tablespoons sometimes it takes five, but you don't want the dough to be slimy or to wet, you want it to just start to hold itself together. When I get to this point I turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it into a ball, pressing in all the bits that fall off. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and smash it into a disc, and put it into the fridge for about two hours. Repeat if you want to do a double layer crust for your pie. 

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Filling
about 6 - 8 apples, depending on the size
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar 
1/2 c butter 
pinch of salt
juice from a lemon

Today I used three grannies, three goldens and  one honeycrisp for the filling. Peel and core your apples, slice them to the size you'd like, I prefer a medium slice, so that the apple cooks through but you can still tell it was at one point a real apple, you get a good crunch. After slicing I squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the apples to keep them from browning while I make the sauce. The sauce is pretty much a caramel sauce, melt the butter, add the sugars, butter and salt and stir just a few times, if you stir too much your sauce will get what I call, sandy, which is bad, you want a good smooth caramel. Bring your sauce to a boil and then turn the heat off and let it cool. 

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Assembly 
1 egg white

Preheat your oven to 400. I like to do a lattice crust, I think its really pretty and looks harder than it is. The dough will be a bit hard to work with for about a minute but when your hands warm up the butter in the dough it will become much more pliable. Roll out both of your dough rounds on a floured surface, one to about 12 in. in diameter, the other a bit bigger. Fold the 12 in crust in half, so that its in a half moon, and then again so that its in the shape of a pizza slice. Folding the crust like this makes it easier to move from the counter to the pie dish. Unfold the crust and press it into the bottom of the pan (I like to use glass pie dishes so that you can check the bottom when its in the oven, to see if it is burning or cooking too quickly.) Poke the crust with a fork so that the crust wont bubble when it cooks. Brush the egg white on the bottom crust, I do this so that the crust wont get soggy, the egg provides a barrier for the apple juices. Set aside. With a knife, slice 3/4 in stripes through the whole round of rolled out dough. I put the little slices into the fridge so that they are easier to work with, the warmer the dough. the more flexible it is, but the more likely it is to stretch and break. At this point, I mix the apples with the sauce and start placing the apples in layers into the pie crust. I try to make sure that its really even because the apples will shrink when you cook them, as they release their yummy juices, if you have unevenness then your pie will be lopsided on top when it starts to bake. After Ive places all the apples into the pie crust I take the crust slices out and leave them sit for about two minutes. Place the largest strip in the middle of the pie vertically. Place two more strips on both sides of the middle one. You have five vertical strips of dough over your pie. Now take the 1st, 3rd and 5th strips and fold them back on them selves. Place one strip across horizontally, it will overlap strips 2 and 4. Fold strips 1 , 3 and 5 back over horizontal strip 1. Fold back vertical strips 2 and 4 back over themselves, the opposite way you did with 1, 3 and 5. Place horizontal strip 2, which will overlap vertical strips 1, 3 and 5. Continue in this pattern till you have the whole pie pie covered. Pinch off the excess dough and crimp the edges together. I brush the top with a bit of eggwite and sprinkle with brown sugar. Put it in the preheated oven, and bake for about ten or 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 and cover if the top seems to be browning to quickly. Keep it in the oven for about 45 more minutes, or until the bottom starts to turn golden brown. I always make sure to put a pan underneath to catch and drippins. 



ta - da! 


I love serving this with good ol vanilla ice cream and coffee, but it would also be good with a glass of milk. 

2 comments:

  1. what's the name of that book you picked up?

    ReplyDelete
  2. the word book is actually a link to the book :)

    ReplyDelete