It’s been a busy few months. A lot has happened. Also, I decided to make apple pie.
I haven’t tried to make a sweet pie since I [left Seattle](http://uwmike.com/articles/2008/10/13/the-piemaker/). I had enthusiastically bought a pie plate upon my return, but some mixed results with quiches left me a bit discouraged. Pie is a lot of work, and it can be hard to find the motivation if it’s not a 100% sure thing. A few weeks ago, though, I tried again, and found success making the [cauliflower cheese pie](http://www.recipesource.com/main-dishes/dinner-pies/cauliflower-cheese1.html) from Moosewood, and practiced doing a pastry crust rather than the healthier shredded potato shell that is recommended.
This success inspired me to try another dessert pie, and as apples are the fruit of winter, why not an apple pie?
The directions I followed are those which appear in the fruit pies section of the 75th Anniversary [Joy of Cooking](http://www.amazon.com/Joy-Cooking-75th-Anniversary-2006/dp/0743246268). I don’t use the Joy nearly as often as I should, but I really appreciate how much more it is than just recipes—it doesn’t only tell you what to add and when, it explains the philosophy and history of the dish, and why and how it works the way it does. With pastry, it gives recommended proportions of flour, fat, and water, and also tells you what the consequences will be if there is too much or too little of any of the three.
The Joy’s suggested pastry is a mixed-fat one—about one part butter to four parts shortening. I was a little nervous about this, as my previous attempts with butter have been inconsistent. The taste is definitely superior, but it’s harder to work with; my best-ever crust was a mixed-fat one, but so was my worst. My most reliable results with pastry have been when using all shortening.
I also ended up being interrupted at this point and had to leave the dough in two plastic-wrapped balls in the fridge for about two hours. The Joy actually recommends this for flavouring reasons, but I have found this makes it too difficult to work with. In the future, I will be avoiding refrigerating pastry before use.
Upon my return, I rolled out the dough, and began preparing the apples.
Now coat them with the sugar and cinnamon mixture, and load that goodness into the pie.
Like I said, I had difficulty rolling out the crust this time, so it’s a little sketchy around the edges. This is also the first time I’ve tried a covered pie. But it worked out well.
Here’s the final result. To get everything cooked properly, you first bake at high heat for half an hour to brown the crust, then you put a cookie sheet under it to prevent scorching, lower the heat, and bake another half hour to cook the fruit through. I also covered the edges with aluminum foil for this second phase, as it was looking like they might end up pretty brown when all was said and done.
I call that a success. A sugary, delicious success.
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