Lattice Apple Pie

Apple Pie
(from the Food Network’s show Tyler’s Ultimate, online recipe)

Crust:
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
3/4 c chilled vegetable shortening
Ice water

Filling:
1/2 to 1 c all-purpose flour
6 to 7 c apples cut into thin slices (recommended: Green Golden and Jonathan’s)
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
2 T melted butter

Preparing the Dough
1.    Stir together the four and salt in a mixing bowl (using a stand mixer helps in the next steps).
2.    Add the shortening and mix into the flour until there are no large lumps of shortening.
3.    Slowly add the ice water a tablespoon at a time, being sure to scrape the mixture down, until the dough clumps easily when mixed (about 3 T).
4.    Divide the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other, for use as the two pieces of crust when assembling the pie.

Making the Filling
1.    In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and butter.
2.    Wash, peel, and core the apples, then cut them into eighths.
3.    Add the apples to the sugar mixture and coat all the slices.

Rolling the Dough and Assembling the Pie
preheat oven to 375°F
1.    Roll out the larger dough ball until it is about 2 inches in diameter larger than the pie dish.
2.    Transfer the sheet of dough onto the rolling pin and place it in the pie dish.
3.    Firmly press the dough into the dish.
4.    Evenly spread the apple filling in the crust.
5.    Cut the dough into even strips, long enough to cover the top of the pie
6.    Lay four of the strips about an inch apart across the pie
7.    Weave four to five more strips perpendicular to the strips already laid down.
8.Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until the top of the pie is browned.

The biggest challenge we faced while making this pie was perfecting the dough. We added water to the mixer to moisten the dough, we were already doubting ourselves. It was still crumbly, but we were still able to roll it into a ball. We thought that some time in the fridge would help the dough come together. After making the filling, we removed the dough from the fridge and sprinkled our work surface and rolling pin with flour, attempting to roll the dough that was falling apart. It took a lot of extra water to make the dough workable, and it turns out that we probably needed a little more water in the mixer from the start. Since we were having trouble rolling the dough into one thin layer to completely cover the filling, we decided to attempt a lattice weave. With help from our instructor, we were able to weave the dough correctly. We then used a fork to mold the edge of the dough together and then trimmed the edges. Finally, foil covered the edges and the pie then went into the oven. The struggles with the dough were over.


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Two Pie Day: Pecan Pie

Flaky Pie Crust
from How to Cook Everything, 10th Anniversary Edition, p. 928
1 C + 2 T + extra flour
1/2 t salt
1 t sugar
8 T butter, cut into pieces
3 T cold water, more if necessary

1-2 C rice, beans, or pie weights (for precooking)

Preparing the dough
1.    Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.

2.    Add the pieces of butter and process until the mixture looks like cornmeal.
3.    Move the mixture to a bowl and carefully mix in the ice water with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, you can add another tablespoon or two of cold water.
4.    Form the mixture into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for half an hour or freeze for ten minutes. The dough can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Forming the Crust
1.    Prepare a counter top and rolling pin by dusting each with flour. Place the dough on the counter and sprinkle it with additional flour.
2.    Roll the dough out into a disk, dusting with flour as necessary. If the dough becomes soft and sticky, cool in the refrigerator or freezer again before continuing to roll it.
3.    When the dough is about 2 inches in diameter larger than the pie plate, transfer it to the pie plate by draping it over the rolling pin.
4.    Firmly press the dough into the plate and refrigerate for an hour or freeze for half an hour.
5.    Trim the excess dough from the edges of the crust and from the edges by pinching the dough or pressing a fork into it. Freeze the dough for ten minutes or refrigerate for half an hour.

Blind-Baking the Pie Crust
preheat oven to 425°F

My first homemade pie crust!

1.    Immediately after refrigerating the crust, prick it with a fork to allow steam to escape while it is baking
2.    Lightly grease a piece of aluminum foil and line the pie crust with the greased foil, butter side down. Chilling the pie crust again will help the crust turn out well.
3.    Fill the foil with rice, beans, or pie weights and bake for 12 minutes.
4.    Remove the foil and weights, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake until the crust is a light golden brown (about 10 minutes).
5.    Fill the pie and finish baking according to the pie recipe.

Pecan Pie Filling
from Karo® brand corn syrup, Ach Food Companies, Inc.

1 c dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 c sugar
2 T melted butter
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c toasted pecans
1 blind-baked or frozen pie crust

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F
2.    Combine the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.
3.    Place one layer of pecans on the bottom of the pie crust, then set them aside.
4.    Chop the remaining pecans.
5.    In a small bowl, coat the whole pecans in a few tablespoons of the syrup mixture.
6.    Add the chopped pecans to the syrup and pour into the pie crust.
7.    Place the whole pecans in a radial pattern on the surface of the pecans and syrup in the pie crust.

The pie before baking.

8.    Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center of the pie springs back if pushed down.

The completed and baked pie.

Making a pie from the bottom up was a great experience. We didn’t have a food processor, but I was able to make the dough relatively easily. After chilling for a while, the dough was not difficult to work with and only stuck to the counter a little bit. The pie plate I was using didn’t have a large lip, so I didn’t make a very decorative edge for the crust. Precooking the crust worked pretty well, but it still had a few air bubbles that I pressed out after lightly browning the crust.

After that new experience, I just had to finish the familiar routine of finishing a pecan pie. It turns out that the lack of a decorative edge on the crust, coupled with the walls of the crust shrinking slightly helped because there wasn’t enough filling to completely fill the pie plate. After baking for an hour and cooling for another, the pie was still slightly warm and I got to serve it to a bunch of the MSSM staff.

It became apparent that I should have greased the pie plate before baking the crust, but I managed to pry the first few slices out successfully. Now, I can look forward to having more pie for breakfast tomorrow.

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Considering Pies

Alex:

Since I was about 7 years old, I have been crazy about pecan pie. My mom made a pie every Christmas, and I am excited to try my hand at it. We have a limited amount of ingredients, so I doubt it will be anything fancy. This is something I worry about tomorrow’s apple pie, because it lacks molasses. However, a pie does not require numerous, fantastic ingredients to be tasty. My biggest worry with the pie is burning it because I never have been a particularly gifted baker, especially because pecan pie is filled with sugar and can easily crisp up and be ruined. I’m also concerned about proportions and making sure the pie isn’t overwhelmingly sweet or nutty. However, if we follow our plans and keep a careful eye on the pie while it is baking, success should not be too hard to grasp.

Thomas:

Making pies is easy, right? Well, making a pie is easy when you just make the filling and drop it into a frozen prepared pie crust. I’m confident that today’s pie fillings will come out nicely, but preparing crust from scratch seems much more difficult. After this, I would like to see if a homemade pie crust seems better than store-bought. Ingredients-wise, it’s probably better for you, but making the crust takes a great deal of time. Since the apple pie we are making today has a crust top, it should be worth the time to make the complete pie, but the pecan pie doesn’t need such a complex crust arrangement.

Luke:

When making pies, the most “American” pie would be the apple pie. The image that comes to mind is a old grandmother pulling a delicious smelling pie out of the oven and putting it on her windowsill. My expectations for the apple pie is just that. The perfect pie: its smell making your mouth water. For the pecan pie, I’m going to try it for my first time, which is exciting.