Blue Ribbon Apple Pie

Sunday November 8, 2009

We always knew Mom's apple pie was the very best.  So it came as no surprise to us when her perfectly spiced, exquisitely light-crusted creation won top honours at a recent local baking competition.  It goes without saying that Mom's pie is now a mandatory addition to any family shindig. 

"You must have patience to assemble a pie," she tells us.  "It is really a work of art." Her recipe was handed down from her mother, but has since been tweaked for our modern tastes (read here: less sugar and lard).  Without further ado, we present her award-winning apple pie:

For the crust
:

This recipe will make about 4 double crust 8-9 inch pies. Make it and divide into 4, using what you need immediately and freezing the rest in separate packages.  Use refrigerated crust quickly, as it will spoil within a few days.
 
Mix flour, baking powder and salt, then work in the shortening with a pastry knife or your fingers.  The result should be tiny, even crumbs.

Blend brown sugar, vinegar, and eggs in a 2-cup measuring cup, then add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix by hand, only until the dough is evenly moist. Let it sit 10 minutes or so. It is now ready to use or freeze for a later time.

For the filling:

I like Macintosh or Gala apples for pie. I have also used other varieties, sometimes mixing types or throwing in some rhubarb or cranberries for color and extra flavor.  There is no right or wrong apple; it really depends on your preference. Some cook up soft while others keep their chunky shapes.


This time I used the apples from the tree in our yard.  They are wonderfully flavorful and bake up just the way I like. Late winter apples tend to have thicker skins, which I usually peel, but the fresh harvest apples I just chop up leaving the skin on. To determine how many you need, heap the chopped apples into the empty pie pan until you have enough.  It is such a convenient way to measure, and I like to use glass pie pans because I can look underneath to make sure the crust is golden when baked.

Now I’ve told you almost all my secrets...


Mix the apples and spices in a big bowl, stirring well.  Allow to sit - the apples will draw moisture.

Sprinkle some flour on your rolling surface.  Take a section of pie dough, about the size of a medium apple, and form into a ball.  If sticky, dust with flour.  Gently press the ball of dough flat, then roll out with a floured rolling pin, trying to keep a circle.  Hold your pie pan over the rolled dough; it should measure larger than your dish to ensure you have enough for the sides.  With experimentation you will learn how thick you like your dough.  I prefer mine on the thinner side.

Lift carefully, using a floured knife if needed, then lay into the pie pan.  Scoop your apple mixture into the pan, making sure to include all the juices.

Roll out a second piece of dough, a little smaller than the first, for your top.  When it measures the approximate size of your pan, cut inch long slits to allow steam to escape during baking.  Carefully lift the dough and center over your pie. 


Gently press the top dough at the edges to encompass the apples, then trim with a knife, using the edge of the pie pan as your guide.  Now pinch the two edges to close the crusts and make small peaks.  For fun, re-roll leftover dough and cut shapes to decorate the top.

Finally, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over the finished top.  Bake at 350F (180C) for an hour, or until the crust is golden and the filling is a little bubbly.  Enjoy!

by Valerie Boucher

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3 Comments

on Nov 17, 2009  Marayna  1,082 said:

This makes me want apple pie and I'm not even a fan of apple pie!

on Nov 10, 2009  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

I can vouch as well. Mom's apple pie is so good you'll want to eat it instead of dinner. Those 3 hearts on top... how adorable!

on Nov 09, 2009  plimper said:

I can personally vouch that this truly is the best pie in the world.

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