I have been thinking about this post for a while now. Mostly because I made my first apple pie and the phrase “easy as pie” has baffled me ever since.
I like to think that the person who coined that phrase was one of those wonderfully hospitable southern ladies. She may have also coined the terms “fixin’ supper” and “mad as a wet hen.” And when you ask her if she likes something that she thinks is atrocious, she will respond with “it’s lovely.”
I have some questions for this woman. One, have you every made a pie? I’m not saying it’s over-the-top complicated or difficult. But if I were to coin a phrase about something being easy in the baking realm, I might have chosen cookies. My next question to her would be, have you ever made cookies?
Maybe she mean to say “easy as pie fillin’.” Because that part is pretty darn easy.
But what I don’t think she meant was “easy as pie crust.” Y’all. I want each of you to make a pie crust. You can do it! I know you can. But I’m not going to lie to you and say it was so easy. It’s just a delicate process that requires patience and maybe a glass of bourbon.
That step right above, though. That was fun. piling apples inside of the pie crust you just mastered… I’m not sure I can name anything more rewarding.
Also, including a heart cut out can really seal the deal on why making a pie may not be easy, but is totally worth it. That, and eating it. And because I am a rockstar, I forgot to take a picture after it baked. It was delicious. I was even proud of the flakiness of my pie crust which I’ve been told can be elusive. So sometime in the near future, I implore you to try something you’ve never tried because you thought it’d be too hard. And maybe that is something like making a pie. You can do anything good, I promise! (although it may do you well to arm yourself with bourbon.)
For the crust:
2.5 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks cold butter, cubed (maybe even throw it in the freezer for a couple minutes after cubed)
1/4 C vegetable shortening, chilled
1/3C + 1 tbs ice water (I filled a large bowl with ice water and dip into it as needed)
1 whisked egg yolk
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar and mix well. Then work the butter and shortening into the flour and mix with fingers until butter is pea sized chunks. If the butter starts to get shiny, that means it’s getting too warm so throw it in the fridge for a minute or two before continuing.
Drizzle the 1/3 cup ice water into the mix and mix until just combined.
Turn dough onto floured surface and press dough together into 2 thick disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes.
For the filling:
6 apples of your choice (fuji or gala are usually recommended. I used fuji)
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 C light brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs butter
2 tbs cornstarch
Peel, core, and slice your apples into 1/4”-1/2” thick slices. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. (Told you that was easy).
Preheat oven to 425.
When you’re crust is nice and refridgerated, take it out and dust with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll each into about 1/4” thick disk that will fully cover a 9” pie pan. Now, carefully fold the pie crust in half, and then in quarters so you can easily move the crust to the pan.
Repeat the rolling with the second crust. This one will be the top. What to do with the top crust is up to you. Maybe you just want to cut some slits, or maybe you want to use a small circle cutout or maybe a heart! Go wild.
Fill your pie with the apples, and repeat the folding steps to move your second pie crust on top. (I thought i’d be a hero and just lift the second one on top. It completely fell apart. Trust me on the folding method).
Use your fingers or a fork to press the crusts together on the edges. Brush with the egg yolk and bake for 45-55 minutes at 425. You may want to place a pan under your pie in the oven to catch any juices. Also, you should see juices bubbling up inside your pie. If you don’t, it’s not done yet! If you do. Take it out and resist burning your whole mouth. Let it cool a bit and then serve.