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Knock knock knock.
Happy Holidays, Ho Ho Hos. I am back with another treat for your holiday table that’s gonna send you straight to the treadmill January 2nd. But we’re American, that’s what we do. So cook, enjoy, celebrate, and don’t fret right now. Eat PIE.
My Granny was an exceptional pie maker, and she passed on her skills to my Aunt Marcie, who is also an exceptional pie maker, my sisters and my stepmom Laurie. Laurie was so determined to become a pie master that she had Granny give her a full instructional kitchen seminar and Laurie video-taped it. Maybe I should get ahold of that video and post it here! On second thought, maybe not because my Granny is really cute and someone would probably see it and put her on TV.
There’s a different pie for every palate, but one enduring classic and likely favorite of most people is apple. Here I will provide you a spiced up version guaranteed to delight your guests and their taste buds with its aroma, looks, and deliciousness.
What you need:
- One recipe of The Gentleman’s Perfect Pie Crust http://thegentlemancaller.net/perfect-pie-crust/
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- about 8 apples (3 lbs.) ideally a mix of greens and reds (Granny Smiths & Fujis are my ideal combination)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg*
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- zest of a lemon
- juice of a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 pats of butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half, beaten with one egg yolk
- turbinado, coconut sugar or other coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Zest the lemon. Cut it in half, set one half aside. Fill a large bowl halfway with water; squeeze half the lemon in the water and drop the rind in there, too. Peel apples, core, and quarter them, and put them into the mixing bowl filled with water and the half lemon squeeze.
Process the apples in a food processor with the slice attachment. This is going to give you a consistent slice. Put your apple slices in a large bowl (you can dump the water and re-use the one you just had them in), add the flour, sugars, honey, spices, lemon zest and the juice of the other half of the lemon. Let it rest a sec. *Regarding the asterisk beside the spices, grinding or grating your own makes them more robust. If you have a grinder and a microplane grater, use them on your spices and get more flavor.
If you’ve followed the Perfect Pie Crust recipe, you should have two disks waiting for you in the refrigerator. Roll out one of your disks on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 9 inch pie plate. Trim the excess.
Spoon the apple mixture into the bottom crust. Place the 5 pats of butter evenly dispersed on top of the apples.
Roll out your second crust. Roll on the top of the apples to cover with ample overhang.
Using your kitchen shears, trim around the perimeter leaving about a 1/2 inch overhang. Tuck the overhang under and crimp the edges. Crimping is simply the process of smooshing the two crusts together and creating a nice looking rippled pattern. If this isn’t something you do often, you might get a little frustrated. Stick with it; take deep breaths.
Put 5 little vent slits in the top crust. You may also cut a little decorative vent if you like.
Brush the top with egg yolk and cream mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
As you can see, I put the pie on a baking sheet with a piece of foil. Pie has a tendency to leak, and scrubbing baked sugar out of your oven is not a chore you have time for at the holidays. Or ever.
Final step pre-oven (and I should have photographed this): make 4 four inch strips of foil. Crimp them together end-to-end so that you have about a 48 inch strip of foil. Carefully place this around the perimeter so that it’s not really touching but gently resting on the crimped edge. There is a silicone tool for this process https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/adjustable-pie-shield/1017857401?Keyword=pie+shield but foil works just as well.
Into the oven she goes!
One hour at 400 degrees. At about 45 minutes remove the foil cover on the edges. Continue baking for 15 more minutes.
Yes, your house is going to smell heavenly but you MUST allow it to rest for at least an hour after you remove it from the oven. Otherwise it’s gonna be slop pie. And you’ll probably burn your tongue on the molten sugar. So just wait, ok?
Look at that! Don’t worry now, friends… I am going to post an easy ice cream recipe that you don’t need an ice cream machine to make very soon. Perhaps an egg nog ice cream… Pie and ice cream is an unbeatable combination.
Hope yours turns out beautifully.
That’s all for now.
The Gentleman Caller