Thursday, October 23, 2008

From Tree to Pie: an Apple's Story

Some of us here in southern California, mostly peeps who did not grow up here, try to have some semblance of a normal life by trying to pretend we have real seasons even though it is basically sunny and 70 degrees all year-round. That being said, my boyfriend and I took a little road trip out to Oak Glen California a couple of weeks ago where they are known for their apple orchards. It's a fun place to go because there are also farm animals, pumpkin patches, hay rides, and other things to check out. So, after tasting some yummy fruit wines, catching a tune from yodeling Merle, checking out the goats and sheep, and avoiding the ridiculous lines for cider donuts, we picked apples.

It was fun, but not easy. Most of the apples were past their prime so it took a while just to find enough that were worth taking. We picked three kinds of Delicious apples: red, super red, and golden. They tasted so good right off the tree! We also picked Rome apples for making a pie. Rome apples, along with Granny Smith, are great for pies. But, Romes are a little sweeter than Grannys. After a nice walk around the area we headed to the Morongo casino. OMG I totally pigged out at the buffet! Then, we both won some cash on the Wheel of Fortune slot machines. Can you ask for a better day???

Making the Pie

I used a recipe from I like the recipes on that site because they're made by normal shmucks like me and you, and there are thousands of user reviews so, like boiled clams, the best ones really rise to the top. I used Grandma Ople's recipe and it was a winner. The apples came out not too firm, but not too crisp. While my mom has shared with me many tips for making pies, she didn't really have a recipe for regular 'ol apple pie.

I am repeating the recipe here with a few of the changes I made. Also, please check out my tips for a good pie below. I didn't feel a whole stick of butter was necessary, so I used 2 Tablespoons less than that. The pie still still had a very rich, buttery, caramelly like taste. I also used 1/4 cup less white sugar because I used Rome apples instead of Granny smith. The interesting part of this recipe is that you melt the butter and sugar all down first. I urge you to lick the spoon!!! I should have counted how many cups of apple slices I used, because the number of apples is pretty much irrelevant given how widely apple sizes vary. I think I used about 10 small apples. The interesting thing about this pie, which I didn't even notice at all until recently, is that it has no spices.. no cinnamon or nothing. I didn't miss it! I think you could certainly add some in. Finally, I used store bought pie crust because I am working again and don't have time to make it myself. If you are vegetarian, check the labels on these crusts because many of them use lard. On that note, let's begin!

Apple Pie
  • 1 recipe for a 9" double pie crust
  • 6 Tablespoons butter (1 stick minus 2 T)
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8-10 Rome apples, depending on size
  1. The oven needs to be preheated to 425, but you can wait until you peel, core and slice your apples to set it, because it takes a while. (You will also want to have your crust/dough all made).
  2. Peel, core, and slice your apples. I would not do this by hand. I always use an apple slicer. It's fast, easy, and makes for uniform slices.
  3. Now, preheat your oven to 425.
  4. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir in the flour to form a paste. Stir in water, white sugar, and brown sugar. Turn the heat up a touch and bring to a boil. Turn back down to low and let simmer for about 8 minutes until it gets a little thicker, stirring occasionally.
  5. While it is simmering, place your bottom crust in a 9" pie pan and put your apples in next. You can make a lattice top crust if you like. Directions and photos at the bottom of the posting. Another nice thing you can do is use a cookie cutter to cut out cool shapes from your top crust. There are so many fun options if you start looking around.
  6. Let the melted mixture cool for a couple of minutes, then pour it slowly and evenly over the apples in the pan. Top with the top crust and pinch the edges of your crust to seal. I have a tip for this at the bottom of the page.
  7. Use an eggwash made from a whole egg and 1 T of water (don't use just the yolk like I did). Brush this on top if your crust to encourage a golden, shiny crust. If you don't have a pastry brush, you can use your finger.
  8. Put the pie on a strong cookie sheet and place in the middle of your hot oven. This will prevent juice drips from burning at the bottom of your oven and it also makes it much easier to remove your pie from the oven without breaking the crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
  9. While it's baking, prepare a foil ring to go around the edges of your crust to prevent it from burning. Instructions and picture are at the bottom of this post. You can also purchase a metal or silicon pie crust protector for this purpose. I would not skip this step as there is a good chance the crust can burn.
  10. Turn down the oven to 350, carefully place your foil around the edges of your pie, and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
  11. Let cool for a little bit, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

Do what I do (Tips!)

  1. Do bake your pie on a nice sturdy cookie sheet. It catches any of the juices that spill out of the pie and makes it easy to move the pie in and out of the oven without breaking the crust.
  2. Do make a lattice top on a piece of wax or parchment paper and then flip it onto the top of your pie. I think it's easier to weave it on a flat, dry surface. Simply cut your top crust into strips and then "weave" the strips over and under each other.

  3. Do cut out a round piece of foil and place it over the outside edge of your crust when you turn the temp down. It prevents it from burning.

  4. Do pinch the ends of the crust to seal it and make it look nice. It's just like pinching your nephew's cheeks.

Don't do what I did:

  1. Don't use your finger to spread only egg yolk all over the top. It comes out totally uneven. Instead, use a real eggwash which is a whole egg and a tablespoon of milk or water and use a real pastry brush.


JK said...

Oak Glen ROCKS!!

Juliet said...

Wow. That is quite a pie! You should be so proud of yourself! :)