Monday, October 29, 2012
There's something about an impending storm that makes me want to bake. So I baked a pie - okay, so I baked 4 pies.
My DH had gotten a bunch of apples from our local cooperative extension - they were doing taste tests for macintosh apples - and he promised to return them in the form of pie. It was a great opportunity for me to practice my apple pie baking skills.
I'm pretty good at baking special "fancy" apple pies. I've even won a few ribbons for them. But the basic 2-crust apple pie still strikes fear into my baking heart! Will the apples cook to the right bite or will they be mushy? Will the bottom crust cook? Will it set up after it bakes or turn into a runny mess?
All of these baking fears crowd into my head whenever I even think about making a basic 2-crust apple pie. What makes if even more humorous is that the apple pie was the first pie I ever baked! I should be ever so confident about it. But I'm not. So practice time!
I made enough basic pie dough for a 2-crust pie, rolled it and popped it into the fridge. I sliced up enough apples for 6 cups of apple per pie. I tossed the apples in lemon water and then sprinkled the apples with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup flour, 1 Tablespoon of corn starch and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and gave it a really good stir. Then I put the pie dough in the pie tin, spooned out the apples and put them in the pie tin, dotted the top of the apple filling with 1 Tablespoon of butter...
Then - and I swear I couldn't stop myself! - I drizzled a couple of Tablespoons of caramel over the top of the filling. It's the fancy pie raising its' head.
Then I brushed the edge of the bottom crust with water, set the top crust on ... top and pressed the edge together. I used a simple spiral roll to seal the edges together and then went back and did the pinch between the index finger and thumb thing all the way around for a traditional look. Finally I put in 6 1-inch slits in the middle of the pie and 6 2-inch slits around the edge of the pie (about an inch in from the edge).
Finally, I brushed it with milk, sprinkled it will sugar, and put it on a 1/4-tray baking sheet and popped it into an over at 350-degrees to bake for an hour.
I had all sorts of internal debates about whether to start the oven on a higher temp, bake for 10-minutes, lower the temp, bake for 45 minutes. But at the end of the day, I wanted this to be a really simple and straightforward pie.
Well, except for the caramel. Because it just tastes so good in apple pie. Especially if you don't use a lot. Then it's there, but it's not "in your face" there.
My Dh delivered the pies. They were very well received and disappeared out of the tins as fast as he could cut them.
You have to love that!
Of course, now he wants me to bake another one so he can get a piece. Maybe for Thanksgiving.