Cookin it up With Elizabeth: Making an Apple Pie!

This week, Elizabeth showed me how to make a pie crust and an apple pie. She actually makes her own pie crust and what a difference it makes! It was easy with Elizabeth walking me through the process, but I’m not sure how I would have done on my own. Baking is an exact science, so it’s good if you don’t leave things out, or guesstimate. Apparently, measuring is important as are the tools used for the job. The final product was fantastic. Lauren thought it was the best apple pie that she has ever had! Here’s a slide show with all the steps…If you have time, play this once and walk away from your computer so you don’t have to hear it stutter through the whole thing and then come back in a few minutes and replay it.

Two-Crust Pie:

2 ¼ c sifted all purpose flour
1 t salt
¾ c plus 2 T shortening
1/3 c cold water

Sift flour and salt into bowl. With pastry blender or 2 knives, scissor-fashion, cut two-thirds of shortening into flour until it looks like cornmeal. Cut in rest of shortening until it looks like large peas.

Sprinkle some of water (about 1/3) over different parts of mixture, tossing quickly with a fork adding additional water as needed until mixture begins to stick together when pressed gently. (The dough should not be wet).

With your hands, lightly form dough into a ball gathering the mixture that remains in the bowl. Place ball of pastry on floured surface. I use (and recommend) a pastry cloth and a little “stocking” for my rolling-pin! Divide pastry dough in half and form into 2 balls. It makes enough pastry for an 8” or 9” pie.

Bottom Crust:

On lightly floured pastry cloth, place one of balls of pastry. Flatten gently with floured, rolling-pin. Always begin from the center and roll out to the edge of the dough in all directions to make an approximate circle. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle, you can “cut and paste” pieces by adding a little water and adding the pastry and rolling it into the pastry to help make a better circle.  The circle should be approximately 1 ½” wider than your inverted pie plate.

Gently fold the pastry in half; lift onto pie plate with fold at a little less than center and unfold. Make sure pastry is firmly in pie plate by gently pushing dough to sides and bottom of dish. Trim pastry to edge of pie plate.

Top Crust:

Roll the top crust as described in the first paragraph under “Bottom Crust”. Arrange filling in lined pie plate. Fold top crust in half. With your fingers, moisten edge of lower crust with water. Lay top crust over filling, with fold at center and unfold. With knife or scissors, trim upper crust ½” beyond edge of plate. Fold edge of upper crust under edge of lower crust and press together. To make a fluted edge, place index finger on inside of pastry rim; with thumb and index finger (on other hand!!) and pinch pastry at that point. Repeat every ¼” or so around the edge of the plate. With a knife, make slits on top to allow steam to escape.

Special Notes:

I use this recipe even when I’m making a single crust pie, i.e. pecan, pumpkin, etc. I make the extra pie crust and put it in the freezer for use for another time. This is especially helpful during the holidays!

Pastry scraps are pretty special in my home. My grandmother and mother turned them into “piecrust cookies”. As a child, we eagerly awaited the scraps to be gathered together, rolled out, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and placed on a cookie sheet. The dough was pricked with a fork to prevent large pastry bubbles. Bake at 425˚ for approximately 10 minutes or until golden.

I put strips of foil around the edges of any pie I am making to prevent over-browning. I remove the strips in the last 15-20 minutes.

Apple Pie or any Berry Pie

Pastry for Two-Crust Pie
6-8 large apples*
2/3-3/4 c sugar (depending upon how juicy, sweet apples are)
2 T flour
½ t grated lemon rind
1-2 t lemon juice
¼ t nutmeg
½ t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
1-2 T butter cut in small pieces

I use a mixture of Cortland/Macoun and/or McIntosh – whatever looks good – usually just add 2 McIntosh because they are very sweet but don’t hold their shape as well as the other more sweet/firm apples.

Combine all ingredients, but the fruit and butter. Arrange fruit in pie plate and sprinkle sugar mixture over fruit. If you prefer, you can arrange half of fruit in pie plate and pour
half of sugar mixture over fruit and add remaining fruit and sugar. Dot filling with butter.
Follow directions for Two-Crust Pie.

Bake at 450˚ for 20 minutes and then reduce to 375˚ for 40 minutes.

Apple Pie or any Berry Pie

Pastry for Two-Crust Pie
6-8 large apples*
2/3-3/4 c sugar (depending upon how juicy, sweet apples are)
2 T flour
½ t grated lemon rind
1-2 t lemon juice
¼ t nutmeg
½ t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
1-2 T butter cut in small pieces

I use a mixture of Cortland/Macoun and/or McIntosh – whatever looks good – usually just add 2 McIntosh because they are very sweet but don’t hold their shape as well as the other more sweet/firm apples.

Combine all ingredients, but the fruit and butter. Arrange fruit in pie plate and sprinkle sugar mixture over fruit. If you prefer, you can arrange half of fruit in pie plate and pour
half of sugar mixture over fruit and add remaining fruit and sugar. Dot filling with butter.
Follow directions for Two-Crust Pie.

Bake at 450˚ for 20 minutes and then reduce to 375˚ for 40 minutes.

This was so much fun. There is something really therapeutic about the whole process of making an apple pie and what you get at the end is so good.

A couple of other things…

I have updated my “Restaurants at a Glance” page and hope that it is easier to use. The restaurants now link back to the original posts and the restaurant web sites are still there.

The next post will be another session of “Cookin’ it up with Elizabeth”… We made two fantastic sweet potato/yam recipes. I am hoping to bring one of them to Thanksgiving dinner in Connecticut – What do you think Pam?

Bon Appetit!

Robin And Lauren

1 Comment

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One response to “Cookin it up With Elizabeth: Making an Apple Pie!

  1. Kathy Hines

    Wow! That is a beautiful pie and looks so yummy! With no soup next week, I might have to give it a try for our Thanksgiving feast! Thanks, Elizabeth and Robin!

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