apple pie morning
Even as I speak... or blog... I await two pies bubbling in the oven: one round nine-inch and one smaller oval (to make use of leftover apples and dough).
My grandmother used to make apple pies quite often. The fillings were always delicious, but the crusts could be rather thick and tough. Grandma's father and grandfather were bakers, but I wonder whether they ever told her to show the flour some mercy. Her cookies, which were also potentially tooth-chipping, might have come from the same dough. Not that anyone ever complained or refused an offering!
Well, pastry dough ain't easy. Not always, anyway. I'm wondering if the dry winter air had something to do with my struggle...
Yesterday I made the dough for the pies I am now baking. I followed a recipe from Apple Pie by John Edge, for "cheese straw" crust, using shredded cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper. (I'd made this a couple of years ago and don't recall any problem.) This time the proportion of flour to butter seemed too great (3 cups, 1.5 sticks) because the dough remained crumbly and resisted coming together. So I kept adding water and pulsing the food processor (despite instructions to pulse sparingly) and then chilled the dough overnight.
Today, with my Silpat mat and rolling pin pressed into service, I began on the bottom crust. Phew. Crumbs, cracks, frustration!
As with some previous pie efforts, I resorted to creating a "Frankenstein's monster" of a crust, patching sections together.
The top layer, perhaps because it had lost more of its chill, proved less obstinate. I then cut out a central vent ("the size of a dime" per the cookbook), rolled it onto the pin and off again, and it settled into place neatly. That's the crust that's visible, anyway, so I was pleased.
I brushed some milk over it, sprinkled on some turbinado sugar, and cut a few more vents to be on the safe side. (As if apple pie steam were something dangerous.) Whether the concoction is edible remains to be determined.
Oh, but I forgot to salt the apples. (Otherwise I adhered fairly closely to the recipe for the filling, adding lemon juice, vanilla, brown sugar, a bit of flour and some pumpkin pie spice where cinnamon was called for.)
My oven timer beeped! I peeked: golden brown. But I set it for another five minutes. Suspense builds...