Tag Archives: apple pie

Stations of the Crust

A walk through the making of a pie.

Pastry Station

The beginning  and the end of pie…the crust, the dough, the very pie-ness of pie. Contrary to all sorts of nonsense, pie dough is easy. Easy as Pie.

Three ingredients – flour, fat, liquid. Infinite variations.Change the flour, change the liquid, change the fat…The basic of basic: a 3:2:1: ration of  flour:butter :water. In Ratio (Michael Ruhlman precise by weight measurements; or in more eyeballing, not quite so scientific throw together school (mine) :  2  1/2 cups flour, 2 sticks butter, 1/4-1/2 cups water. You might also want a teaspoon of salt (not quite so necessary if you’re using salted butter) and perhaps a spoonful of sugar, but if  you don’t know if you need sugar, DON’T PANIC, don’t fret – leave it out and after you eat this pie, know more, know better for the next pie.

Add the butter to the flour, rubbing it in, letting some of the pieces remain the size of pease.Sprinkle the 1/4  water on top, stir it together until it comes together in a ball. Add a little more water if it’s still too crumbly. Don’t over-mix – you don’t want to wake up and excite the gluten. When it holds together, divide in half and make into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour, or even a full day. This waiting time lets the water molecules mix with the flour molecule and all be evenly hydrated. These 2 disks are enough for a top and bottom crust.

This is the outer gold of the pie.

pie_crust

Apple Station

5-10 apples, depending on their size, how high a pie you want to make and how patient you are with peeling and coring and slicing.If you don’t like slices,you can chop the apples….but in the end you want them to fit on a fork with some crust and then fit into your mouth. Or roses….you can make roses from apples instead of slices or chunks….

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Martha Stewart Living Feb 2005 – there are YouTube videos galore about this, too.

Any apple can make an apple pie – what are you looking for in a pie? Old Farmer’s Almanac has an Apple GuideApple Guide if you don’t want to trust your own taste.You can also mix apples…really, it’s your pie.You can mix otehr fruit in, too, but then it isn’t an apple pie, it’s and apple and____pie. Apple make good company. Cranberries. Squash slices. Pears. Onions (caramelize them first). Sweet Potatoes. Regular Potatoes. Bacon. Cheddar Cheese. Etc.

Spice Station

Sugar and spice  and everything nice…

Sugar – white or brown? A little to enhance the other flavors or is it a flavor in an of itself? Maple sugar? Maple syrup will make it drippy….

Cinnamon – a little or a lot? Ginger? Nutmeg? Let your nose lead you…

Lemon juice is often added to keep the slices from browning – News alert : Cooking the apple is ALSO going to brown them, so add the sugar, add the spice and add the lemon juice if you like the taste.Or add a little of another juice. Apple juice/cider is good. Lemon juice is  very 20th century flavor in apple pie; a spoonful of lemon liquor would work, too. Grated orange peel is another option.  Caraway, dill seed or fennel seed add nice flavor. A spoonful of rosewater or orange flower water. Cinnamon and rum…lead with your nose!

barbieri_paolo_antonio_-_the_spice_shop_-_1637

Paolo Antonio Barbieri. The Spice Shop – 1637

Rolling Station

Now the component pieces start to come together as a whole. Before you gather together the pie pan, the rolling pin, the dough and the filling, there’s another decision – Is this pie to be bakes now, or is it to be assembled and frozen to be baked later? If you want to bake the pie now – turn on the oven to 425°F. If later – get rolling!

Sprinkle a little flour on a clean flat surface. Unwrap one disk of dough. With a rolling pin

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One kind of rolling pin

 

roll one disk into a circle about 2 inches wider around then your pie pan. There are lots of rolling out videos and magazine hints. In the last few months both Christopher Kimball in his new magazine Milk Street has a new no-shrink dough

and – just about everyone else has a pie rolling video out. Apple Pie alone could entertain you on the internet for weeks on end…..

Roll out one disk, put it on the pie plate.

Roll out the other disk.

Put the Apple in the bottom crust. Dot with butter. Maybe sprinkle with sugar.

Put the top crust on.

Almost pie.

julia6

The other kind of rolling pin

Crimping Station

In pie, crimping is good. It holds everything together.It can be pretty, too. Remember that that oven is heating up, and the longer the filling sits in unbaked crust, the soggier your bottom will be. And a little venting in the top. Even a pie has to let off some steam.

 

Baking Station

Now is the time to pass this pan, with apples and butter and flour  through heat, where it will be transformed. It’s not really pie until it comes out of the hot oven.

Start at 425°. After 10 or 15 minutes take a peak – is it browning up? Is it smelling good. A good pie crust is golden brown, not pasty palely white. Let it cook! Turn it down to 375° when you see color on the pastry, and let it continue baking until juices are bubbling.Let the fruit cook, too. 30-45 minutes – don’t rush it.

Cooling Station

If you REALLY want to eat pie hot – even though pie is not at all it’s best then – use spoons and dish it up like like a baked pudding. Forget all pretense of slices.

As it cools, contemplate – whipped cream, ice cream, cheddar cheese?

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Henry Ward Beecher on Apple Pie

[B]lessed be the unknown person who invented the apple-pie! Did I know where the grave of that person was, methinks I would make a devout pilgrimage thither, and rear a monument over it that should mark the spot to the latest generations. Of all pies, of every name, the apple-pie is easily the first and chief.

Apple-Pie should be eaten while it is yet florescent, white or creamy yellow, with the merest drip of candied juice along the edges (as if the flavor were so good to itself that its own lips watered!), of a mild and modest warmth; the sugar suggesting jelly, yet not jellied; the morsels of apple neither dissolved, nor yet in original substance, but hanging, as it were, in a trance between the spirit and the flesh of applehood.

Not that apple is no longer apple! It, too, is transformed; and the final pie, though born of apple, sugar, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon, is unlike none of these, but the ideal of them all, refined, purified, and by fire fixed in blissful perfection.

Enjoy!

 

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Filed under Autumn, Pie

A little apple pie

I’ve been  telling you I have apple pie on the brain…..

and when I’m studying about a certain food, I  sometimes want to

EAT IT

All the time. Persistent cravings can lead to less then great food choices…..

So, when I grabbed a coffee at a certain Golden Arches while at the bus station….and they offered

APPLE PIES

2 for  DOLLAR

AND they smelled sooooooo cinnamonly good….

ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

I knew to resist.

And I did.

McDonalds-Apple-Pie

Mom didn’t have time today so WE MADE YOU THIS BAKED APPLE PIE . Thanks, but no thanks, Micky D

But then there’s the trip homeward bound. I’m tired. My guard might have been  a little bit down. I was hungry and home is still a while away. Pure curiosity compelled me to try the Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Artisan Roll

mcdonalds-Artisan-Grilled-Chicken-Sandwich

100% grilled chicken breast filet seasoned to perfection with ingredients like salt, garlic and parsley – seared in our kitchens, no preservatives added. Crisp leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, and a vinaigrette dressing. All atop our delectable artisan roll.

It wasn’t bad. I’m still not sure what made the roll artisan. I believe artisan has officially jumped the shark in the food descriptor world, though, if it’s on a McDonald’s menu.

And Egad that pie smelled good…..and for a dollar, one little, measly dollar that I had in my hand because the coffee was also only one little dollar….and it

STILL

smelled ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

So when the kid at the counter asks, “Apple PIE??????”

My head nodded in agreement, somewhat independently of my brain and better judgement. He rang up the order….the chicken sandwich had one bag and the apple pies (I would of had to had been more verbal to get only one.) had their own. Oh, that smell!

The chicken was good, the fries a disappointment – maybe it was BK that had the good fries? but no matter. I had a Little Apple Pie to go with the coffee.

applepieapplepieapplepieapplepieapplepie happy apple pie song in my head

Apple-PieMcD

Apple Pie and Coffee. What could be better?

Just around the corner,
there’s a rainbow in the sky,
So let’s have another cup of coffee,
and let’s have another piece of pie.

Apple pie and coffee. Yes.

The coffee was good, maybe a little better then good. Not great, but really good.

And the pie.

The pie.

How could something that smelled THAT good, have so little taste whatsoever??????

I could feel it in my mouth, but there was no taste there. No too sweet, no too greasy, no tart or bad.  Just no. Nothing.

If I hadn’t been able to SMELL it, I wouldn’t have known it was there at all.

How can something be all scent and no flavor and still be sold as a food item?

I was not at all tempted to eat pie #2……Maybe it was something in the artisan roll or the chicken or…..

But the bag it came in smelled so wonderful., like I always want those little car air fresheners to smell and they never, not even quite, do.

applepie air freshner car

I carried the pie home, mostly because it smelled so pie.

I wanted to save the bag it came in. As it cooled, it smelled less

sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

Hmmm – heat activated scent. Just like my antiperspirant…….

The next day, when I made my Bengal Spice tea and the scent reminded me of apple pie, and I remember the apple pie in the bag. Why not give it another go? Maybe French Fries negate Apple Pies….a stretch, I admit, but still a possiblity.

I put the apple pie in the microwave to heat for half a minute.

My kitchen was suddenly a Great Bakery, where everything

smelled sooooooo cinnamonly good….

ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

Magic.

And the taste?

Still elusive. Non-existent. Not there. Nada.

I drank the tea as the so-called pie cooled, and for the next little while  lived in the fantasy of having baked a pie because that’s how my kitchen smelled while I transcribed apple pie recipes and poems.

 

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Filed under Pie

Cookbook Club(chair)

Evidently cookbook clubs are a

thing

thing-thing-1

A rather silly thing. If I know a group of people who all have the SAME cookbook, I’ll borrow it. And then I’ll just check out the dishes they’ve been dishing and maybe shop it a little more…..But every one cooking from the same book, at the same time …. unless they’re planning to cook their way through the book, which has done with assorted classics, books by Julia Child

julia1

or by Marcella Hazen

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or other assorted sorts who have stood the test of time. But with something new?

So I hereby decree another sort of cook book club –  the

Cook Book Club Chair.

I’ll sit in the chair and read the cook book and write about the cook book. Eventually, some one will get hungry and get up and cook, and we can talk about that, too.

Book Review

Confections of a Closet Master Baker

by Gesine Bullock-Prado. 2009, Broadways Books

Confections GBP

1st read – July 2013; re-read Dec 2015

The timing of the first read tells me I bought it 2nd hand at a really great used book store that was next to my most frequently shopped supermarket. The store had great selection and fantastic help and was around for less than a year. Why does Plymouth have such a hard time keeping a book store open????? A lament for another day.

I had to double check the title more than once because my memory kept mangling it :

Confessions of a Closet Baker

or

Conversations of a Master Baker…..

Close, but no cigar. In subsequent reprinting, it has a new title: My Life From Scratch – not poetic, but easier to remember

My Life fom Scratch

Off the top – Bullock is yes, that Bullock – this is Sandra’s younger sister, who is proud to take her Big Sista’s ‘Sandmedowns’ but is also a trained lawyer in her own right. She worked in her sister’s production company, met the man she married (and seems to still married to) and felt wholly out of place in Hollywood.

Bullock-Prado

The Book is not really a cookbook, it’s a memoir with recipes, and an essential run through of her typical workday, so the first chapter is 3 am… and at the end of the chapter there is a recipe for Golden Eggs, one of the confections that was an early hit and has a family story, too. Her website G Bakes! has many of the recipes (and more!) as well as videos.

19 chapters and 17 recipes. (3 am – 6pm from getting ready in the morning to arriving back home again at night)

She actually writes well, and her German opera singer mother, as well as her movie star sister, keep things lively. And the ins and outs of starting a business aren’t exactly dull, either, and the fish out of water aspects…..there’s plenty going on to keep your attention, but with the bakery day as the framework, it’s also pretty focused.

The recipes she shares all have backstories, too.

The recipes often call for food processor, blender and /or stand mixer, and instead of down home and Grandma versions (or in her case Oma versions), they seem like scaled back production versions.

There’s a cheese cake and a cream pie that each have a different kind of cookie crust –  one Oreo that I will definitely be trying…especially since Marnie from work made me a chocolate ice cream pie with an Oreo crust for my birthday… because if birthday’s aren’t an excuse to eat ice cream, why bother? and Oreo’s  re-imagined as pie crust is GENIUS.

There is also an apple pie where the apple filling is cooked down somewhat, hence no empty dome with skim of apples at the bottom pie later that made me wish it were still October to get really good apple…

Although I thoroughly enjoyed eating – READING – this, I wasn’t sure that I’d actually be making anything from it. Lots of butter and cream, natch, and good doses of spice and sugar and high quality chocolate but…it made me think about the kitchen, but it didn’t get me out of my chair to check and see if I had any this that or the other thing.

There’s probably a reason I do the more folksy brownies/slumps/plain ole cookies then

CONFECTIONS

I have earmarked the apple pie and the cookie crusts.

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