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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Perfect Apple Pie

The Altitude Adjustment Section
Susan Purdy — super author and my personal baking mentor — who wrote Pie in the Sky, has a great, foolproof recipe for Apple pie which is perfect for this time of year. Nothing tastes or smells better then a warm piece of pie on a chilly afternoon. And a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top never hurt.

Ingredients for crust
3 cups A.P. flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening Crisco
1 egg yolk at room temp.
2 tablespoons lemon juice of vinegar
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Procedure for crust
Prepare the pastry in the food processor. Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt to blend. Next add the butter and shortening and pulse 8 or 9 times till mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Add yolk and lemon juice or vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the water through the feed tube and pulse a few times. The mixture should start to get clumpy. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time till dough holds its shape when you squeeze it together with your hand. Don’t let it get sticky and gummy — it will be tough. Now take your perfect dough, shape it like a flat disc for easy rolling later, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This will make 2 crusts. After the dough is chilled, roll out bottom crust into 9 inch pie plate and chill till ready to use.

Ingredients for filling
8-9 cups of golden delicious applespeeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablesppons fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 tablespoons A.P. Flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons Graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar

Procedure to complete pie
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sliced apples, sugar, lemon, flour, and spices. Brush some egg glaze (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water) on bottom of rolled-out crust to prevent sogginess. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on the bottom of crust. Now add apple mixture, mounding to the center of the crust. This makes a very big pie. Roll out remaining dough to be 2 inches larger then pie plate. Fold dough into quarters and place over apples and unfold. Brush edges with egg wash and pinch and crimp closed. With sharp knife, cut 5 long air vents. Brush top of pie with egg wash and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake on a sheet pan at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 40-45 minutes more, or until pastry is a rich golden brown and the apples feel tender when poked with a knife through the slits in the pastry. If edges start to get too brown, cover with a ring of tin foil. Cool slightly on wire rack and serve warm. This can also be done with ripe pears.