"It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought ... it figures"
Remember that mid 90's Alanis Morissette song, "Ironic"? The thing I remember most about it is my Middle School English teacher insisting to us that most of the lyrics were not in fact examples of Irony at all, but that's beside the point. Sadly the lyrics sort of sum up my week, you see today is my pick for Tuesdays with Dorie and I've been so excited about picking for literally two years now and ironically (or is it ironic? my brain has clearly atrophied since I received a B.A. in English three short years ago), my kids have been sick all week and I have had no time to bake! While, normally, a measly cold wouldn't keep me out of the kitchen, Eloise got a stomach virus on Wednesday and of course passed it to Helen. And just when they started to get over it, Eloise's cold turned into an ear infection, which, of course, transformed back into a stomach virus! Anyway, I had been dreaming of making this pie just about every single day since I picked it at the end of September but didn't actually get to round up all of the ingredients and get down to business until Monday afternoon. I ended up making the crust during Helen's nap while Eloise sat whining on my hip and then later assembled the pie during Eloise's nap while trying to keep Helen's little germy hands out of the sugar coated apples! Needless to say, my results were less than stellar. The pie tasted good, but it sure wasn't pretty!
Now, let me rewind a bit and say that, first of all, I LOVE apple pie. I really, really love apple pie, and I would choose it over any other dessert, even those involving chocolate (which is saying a lot!). In fact, when I was little, I often would request apple pie in place of a birthday cake! So, I couldn't wait to try Dorie's version. Now while I've made quite a few apple pies over the years, I've never made a double crusted one. Usually, my mom tops her pies with a lattice crust, and, every Thanksgiving, my Uncle Mark makes his famous Dutch apple pie with a crumb topping, so I've always stuck to either lattice or crumbs because they're the only two I've really felt confident doing. Well my friends, there is a reason that I never tried the double crust. I know that if I'd had a little more time and and a little more energy and, perhaps, if I had had a little less chaos in my kitchen, then I would have had a little more success with this pie. And, let me just say, making a double crust is not what one might call, "easy as pie". Shortly after it entered the oven, my vents caved in and the whole thing just kind of fell apart. The good news is that Dorie's Good for Almost Everything Pie Crust is really just that- with that much butter it would be nearly impossible for the finished product not to be flaky and delicious!
Now I'm still a little on the fence about the filling. You see, I've never used tapioca in a fruit pie before- I've always sprinkled a tablespoon or two of flour in with my apples. While the tapioca did not change the flavor of the filling, it did cause the apple juice to gel more than I'm accustomed to. I can't say that I disliked it, and it certainly wasn't gummy or gloppy like I feared it might be, but I missed that looser, juicer filling. I completely forgot the graham cracker crumbs that were supposed to be on the bottom crust, but my crust still stayed pretty sturdy, so I don't think that was too big of a loss. I really loved how Dorie calls for so many apples to "mound" over the crust. I don't usually use six apples in my pies, but I thought it gave a perfect ratio of fruit to crust. I went with Dorie's suggestion to use a variety of apples (yet another first for me) and ended up using Honeycrisps, Galas, Macintoshes, and Fujis- this was another wonderful improvement because it allows the filling to have so many different textures and flavors.
So, all in all, the pie was a success, and, although it turned out somewhat unattractive (ok, it was ugly), I am determined to try the double crust again... you know when the baby I'm pregnant with now is in Middle School and I have an hour or two to myself! Thanks everyone for baking along with me this week- I hope you have a wonderful new recipe for your Thanksgiving feast this year!!
All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie
from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours
For a 9 inch Double Crust
3 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ½ sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tbsp size pieces
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
About ½ cup ice water
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing- what you’re aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 6 tbsps of the water- add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a work surface.
Divide the dough in half. Gather each half into a ball, flatten each ball into a disk and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling (if your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge).
To Roll Out the Dough: Have a buttered 9 inch pie plate at hand.
You can roll the dough out onto a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a rolling slipcover. If you’re working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, plastic or in a slipcover, make sure to turn the dough over often and to life the paper, plastic, or cover frequently so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases.
If you’ve got time, slide the rolled out dough into the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest and firm up.
For the Pie
4 pounds (about 6 very large) apples
3/4 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (or dry bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
For the Glaze (optional)
Milk or heavy cream
Decorating (coarse) or granulated sugar
Getting Ready: Butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate (I use a Pyrex pie plate). If you want to use a standard 9-inch pie plate, just reduce the amount of filling by about one quarter.
Working on a well-floured surface (or between wax paper or plastic wrap), roll out one piece of the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Fit the dough into the buttered pie plate and trim the edges to a 1/2-inch overhang. Roll the other piece of dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle and slip it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Cover both the circle and the crust in the pie plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven and prepare the filling. (If it's more convenient, the crust can be well covered and kept refrigerated overnight.)
Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel, core and slice the apples. You've got a choice for slicing: you can cut each apple in half and then slice each half crosswise or lengthwise into slices about 1/4 inch thick, or you can cut the apples into chunks about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on a side. In either case, put the apples into a large bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss everything together really well- I do this with my hands. If you've got a little time, let the mix sit for about 5 minutes, until juice starts to accumulate in the bottom of the bowl.
Remove the pie plate and top crust from the refrigerator and put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the crust-this will help keep it from getting too soggy (some sog is inevitable)- and then turn the apples and their juices into the crust. The apples will heap over the top of the crust. Pat them into an even mound. Dot the apples with the bits of cold butter.
Very lightly moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water, then center the top crust over the apples. (If the crusts-top and bottom- are still very cold and in danger of cracking when you work with them, let them sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes.) Either fold the overhang from the top crust under the bottom crust and crimp the crust attractively, or press the top crust against the bottom crust and trim the overhang from both crusts even with the rim of the pie plate. If you've pressed and trimmed the crust, use the tines of a fork to press the two crusts together securely.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut about 6 slits int eh top crust. I always use the wide end of a piping tip to cut a circle out of the center of the crust as a steam vent. if you'd like, brush the top crust with a little milk or cream and sprinkle it with sugar.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake the pie for another 50 to 60 minutes (total baking time is between 65 and 75 minutes), or until the crust is gorgeously browned and the juices bubble up through the top crust. After about 40 minutes in the oven, if the top crust looks as if it's browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with a foil tent.
Transfer the pie to a rack and let it rest until it is only just warm or until it reaches room temperature.