Monday, October 8, 2012

Homemade Apple Pie


In April of 2012 I took an amazing Traditional Pie Making course at City Arts Centre, through the city of Edmonton arts and recreation programs. For about four hours, myself and the seven other participants learned all the fundamentals of pastry dough, made a pie of our own to take home, and sampled lots and lots of pie! I had always been intimidated by making homemade pastry dough from scratch, but this class completely changed that. It was an incredible experience and a great learning opportunity for me, and I would definitely recommend the class to experienced and beginner bakers alike. The pie that I made in the class was just a basic apple pie - you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see a picture of it! Since then, I have made many more varieties of pie, and discovered that  practice really does make perfect when it comes to pastry. Nothing has quite the simple comfort of a fresh apple pie coming out of the oven, and this is my go-to recipe for the perfect homemade apple pie. I made the pie you see pictured for my family's Thanksgiving dinner dessert this year and it was the perfect way to end a delicious, festive meal!

1 unbaked 9" pie shell, plus dough for another 9" pie for the top - Click here and make my perfect pie crust recipe!
1/2 cup sugar - You can use white, brown, or a mixture of both. I like to use all brown sugar for a richer, caramel flavour
2-3 tsp. cinnamon - Sometimes I will use 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
5 medium apples, peeled and sliced - Peeling is optional, but you will have more texture and chewiness if you leave the peels on. I use a mixture of Gala, Granny Smith, and McIntosh apples in the pie for a good balance of sweet/tart and soft/crunchy.
2 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
Egg wash (an egg whisked together with 2-3 Tbsp. of water) - You won't use all of this egg wash, but the leftovers it can be refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container for future pies
Granulated sugar or turbinado sugar, to sprinkle on top of pie

In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and lemon zest (if using). Allow the apple mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes. This will bring out the natural sugars in the apples and make the pie filling much more flavourful.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place the rack in the centre of the oven. Roll out your pie dough for the bottom crust and place it in a 9" pie pan. Arrange the apples in the unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon and lemon zest if desired. Cut away the excess pie crust with a butter knife, leaving approximately a 1" border of crust around the pie pan. Brush the exposed outer pie crust with the egg wash. This will be the glue that sticks together the bottom and top pie crusts.

Roll out the second 9" pie shell for the top of the pie. You will need to cut vents into the pie top in order to let the steam escape from the pie as it bakes. If you don't cut vents then your pie top will crack and the juices will bubble out. You can make simple vents by just making small slits in the centre of the pie top with a butter knife, or by cutting a design into the dough. I used small cookie cutters and cut through the dough then carefully placed it on top of the apples, with the apples peaking through. The dough will stretch as it is placed over the apples so wherever you cut will slightly open and let the steam out.

Place the top pie crust over the apple filling. Cut away the excess pie crust so that it lines up with the bottom crust. Seal together the top and bottom crusts by crimping the edges together. You can pinch it with your thumb and forefinger all the way around, use the heel of a knife and just push the two crusts together, or just fold one crust over the other for a more rustic look. As long as they get sealed together it will be fine!

Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with additional granulated or turbinado sugar. This will make the top crust golden brown and the sugar will give it a little crunch. Bake in the preheated 425F oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, until the pie crust is golden brown and the apple juices are bubbling. Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack for 60 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or a slice of sharp cheddar cheese!

*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Here is my very first homemade apple pie that I got to make in the class and take home (as you can see, my pie skills have improved a bit!):

No comments:

Post a Comment