I'm not much of a pie person. Growing up the only pie we had was my mom's banana cream pie (I'll post that one around Thanksgiving - it's pretty much insane), and it was only on Thanksgiving. Clearly my mom isn't much of a pie person either. Most of my friends are pie enthusiasts. One of them is even the "Pie Expert". I'm a subscribing member to Pie of the Month Club, but I've still never gotten into it (one time I was staying at the pie expert's house in Indiana and she asked if I liked pie. I told her, "I like meat pies..." A word to the wise? Never say that to the pie expert).
Well, I married into a pie family. My in-laws love pie, my husband loves pie, and my kids love pie.
Since it's produce season I've been frequenting little farms and farm stands where I live. Every time I've come home with peaches or apples the past month or two, Casey has jokingly asked if it was because I was making him a pie. So a few days ago I decided to take the bull by the horns. I did some research and found a crust in this book. I figured that surely, if he's teaching me to cook EVERYTHING, there would be a stellar recipe for crust. I did some more research and found a killer filling. Since the caramelly sauce for the filling is poured in after the pie is already topped, it is baked with this sugary layer of goo which makes the crust delicately crisp and slightly sweet. I had to refrain from breaking the entire top crust off the pie, putting it on a plate and taking a fork to it.
Flaky Apple Pie
Crust by Mark Bittman, Filling adapted slightly from allrecipes.com
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt (if you use salted butter, omit the salt)
2 tsp sugar
16 tbsp (2 sticks) cold butter (the recipe calls for unsalted, but I always use salted)
6 tbsp cold water
8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (the recipe called for Granny Smith, but I used Golden Delicious and Gala- fresh from the farm)
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup butter (again, the recipe calls for unsalted)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
To make the crust, put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor, fitted with the dough blade attachment and pulse once or twice. Chop the cold butter and add it to the bowl. Blend until the mixture looks like cornmeal (about 10-15 seconds). Pour that into a large bowl and add the water. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon (adding a tiny bit of water at a time if your dough isn't coming together) gradually gathering the mixture into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (you can freeze it for 10 minutes if you are in a hurry).
While your crust is chilling, peel, core and slice your apples. Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle with corn starch. Mix the apples so that the corn starch is no longer visible. Set aside. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp flour to form a loose paste. Add your sugars and water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove crust from the refigerator, split into 2 parts (refrigerating the top crust until you are ready to roll it out) and roll on a lightly floured surface, starting in the middle and working your way to the sides until you have a disc of dough about 1-1 1/2 inches larger than your pie plate. Roll your crust onto the rolling pin and place it in your pie plate. Fill the crust with apples, slightly mounding them. Cover with either a lattice crust or a crust that has been vented liberally (I used several mini shape cutters for mine). Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the top, so that it does not run off. (*See note, below). Be sure to lightly coat your top crust. (Also, be sure to do this while the liquid is hot. Otherwise it will firm up and will not reheat to the same runny consistency).
Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes until apples are soft. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.
*If you're doing a full two crust pie, pour the sauce in (reserving a little extra for the top crust) before you top it. If you're doing a lattice top pie or one with lots of holes (like the one pictured), top the pie before pouring the sauce.