Burnin’ Up the Kitchen – Apple Pie

My editorial board aka my friend Sam has been asking me to bake her an apple pie and write a Burnin’ Up The Kitchen post on it for sometime now.  I kept telling her I have never baked a traditional apple pie before – only Swedish Apple Pie. Every time she asked, I told her I had an apple pie story but I didn’t have a recipe (although I’m sure there has to be one in my mom’s recipes – I know I have her pie crust recipe and she made apple pie).

My Dad made a mean apple pie too – must have been from working on a farm since he was a boy and watching my Mom all those years. Anyway, my apple pie story is that one year around Thanksgiving time my Dad and I decided to do a pie exchange. His apple pie for my sweet potato pie (which I had never baked before).  I had baked coconut custard pie (delicious – thank you, Martha) but never sweet potato pie. Suffering from Oprah induced delusion, armed with a recipe from Oprah, I set out to bake sweet potato pie. There’s only one word for my results – disgusting. Epic failure comes to mind too. My poor Dad got the short end of the stick on that deal. His apple pie, as always, was delicious.

I haven’t made many if any traditional pies since then.  Apparently this is the year to try again because Sam has been  relentless with her requests for apple pie. Perhaps I will even try to make a sweet potato pie using Kim’s What’s Up mother’s recipe. My other half’s aunt makes a killer sweet potato pie – he doesn’t think she will share the recipe. She likes me – perhaps I will call her and ask.

But back to the apple pie – I finally gave in to Sam’s requests and told her she had to let me know a few days in advance as to when we would see each other and when she would want the apple pie. In typical Sam fashion, she went one better and said let’s bake the pies together. Notice – we went from one pie to multiple pies.

After texting her a reminder that Thanksgiving was fast approaching and that if she wanted her pie before Thanksgiving, we had better get moving, we set the Saturday before Thanksgiving as pie baking day.

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Mann’s Apple Pie – all the homemade goodness without any work.

Sam met me at my house for our adventure. Off we went to a local orchard for apples. I wanted two to three varieties, we settled on two – Cortland and Mutsu. I tried to persuade Sam that we might want to purchase an apple pie from the Mann Orchards’ bakery – they still used my childhood friend’s mother’s recipe.  I grew up eating those pies and Ruth Mann Fitzgerald knew a thing or two about apples and pie baking.

Then we stopped at a local Italian deli for lunch – a girl can’t bake on an empty stomach. Over lunch, we made up the list of the ingredients we needed since we went from one pie to two pies to five pies. Two for Sam, two for me and one for our friend Michelle who was driving down from Maine that night for dinner.

After a quick stop at the grocery store for the ingredients, we headed to Sam’s house to bake pies. Since we were on a schedule, I decided I wasn’t going to bother making homemade pie crust and we bought all ready prepared Pillsbury pie crusts, five boxes to be exact.

Immediately we set up a production line to peel, core and slice our apples.  Sam, being a Maine girl, wanted to use the power tool method for peeling apples.  In the end, after careful consideration  we opted to stay indoors and avoid flying apple peels and opt for the tried and true method involving paring knives, potato peelers and an apple corer.

My notes from multiple recipes.

When I don’t have a recipe of my own, I turn to cookbooks and the internet to look at several options in this case six recipes and look for the common elements.  I compare and contrast the recipes and get an understanding of what each recipe is doing.  I then set out to come out with my own variation of whatever it is I am trying to make.   First, I reviewed recipes from Allrecipes, Alton Brown, Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Paula Deen and Mom’s Apple Pie from Paula Deen.  And then I started writing my own recipe based on what I had learned from the recipes I reviewed.

Sammy Lynne Apple Pie (SLAP)

roster:

  • apples, 8 – 10 sliced or 8 heaping cups preferably a mixture of sweet and tart
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3/8 cup white sugar 
  • 3/8 cup light brown  sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon, allspice
  • pie crusts, either made from scratch or pre-made
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons cold butter, sliced
  • egg wash
  • sanding sugar

playbook:

  • Squeeze the juice from oranges and lemons and set aside.
  • Peel, core and slice your apples to desired thickness.
  • Measure out eight heaping cups of apple slices and place in mixing bowl; use slightly more if you are using a pie plate that is larger than 9 inches.
  • Mix fresh squeezed lemon juice and fresh squeezed orange juice in with the apples to prevent browning of apples.  The citrus juices will also make your other flavors pop.
  • Add sugars, tapioca flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice into the apple mixture and stir throughout.
  • Set mixture aside, the flavors will work through the apples as the juice of the apples is released.
  • Roll one pie crust into the bottom of each pie plate, pressing to bottom and sides.
  • Pour apple mixture into pie plate.
  • Dot the top of the apples with chilled butter slices – 2 Tbsp. to 3 Tbsp. per pie.
  • Place the top crust on top of the mound of apples; fold crust in and crimp edges to form a seal.
  • Cut slits into pie for venting of steam.
  • Brush the crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired.
  • Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 – 55 minutes until crust is golden brown and apples are cooked.
  • After about 30 minutes, when crust edges are golden cover with tinfoil collar or pie crust shield to prevent burning of edges.

photo replay:

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First Stop – Mann Orchards for locally grown apples from a family farm.

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The apple orchards our apples were picked from.

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A bushel of apples from Mann Orchards waiting to be prepped.

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A quick stop at the grocery store to get all our pie ingredients.

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Our apple pie baking supplies lined up on the dining room table.

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We made quick work of peeling the apples (not as quick as if we had used power tools).

Notice the flat ends; we sliced the ends off for ease of handling; an unnecessary step except when you have only a few hours to peel, core, and prepare enough apples to bake five pies within that time period.

We cored each apple before slicing into thinner pieces.

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That is less than half the apples we need to prep for the pies.

Freshly squeezed orange juice and lemon juice to be added to apples.

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Place eight heaping cups of your apple mixture in a mixing bowl and add lemon and orange juice.

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Add white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and tapioca flour to apple mixture and stir.

We created an assembly line of mixing bowls filled with apple pie filling on the dining room table.

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Roll one pie crust into the bottom of each pie plate … oops, crust needs to be rolled out some more to fit our pie plate.

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Get out the rolling-pin and roll the dough a bit more on a floured surface.

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Once the bottom crust is rolled and pressed into pie plate, pour your apple mixture into plate.

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Dot the top of the apples with chilled butter slices – 2 Tbsp. to 3 Tbsp. per pie.

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Place the top crust on top of the mound of apples; fold crust in and crimp edges to form a seal. You can use a pie crimper or your fingers like Sam is in this picture.

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An apple pie with crust completely crimped.

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Slice a vent in pie to help release steam and prevent fruit from becoming mushy.

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Whisk eggs in a small bowl.

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Whisk in water, milk or heavy cream to beaten eggs; we used half & half.

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Brush cold pie with egg wash immediately before placing it in a hot oven.

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Check on pie periodically; this is after 30 minutes. The apples are not done baking; the pie crust is becoming gold in color with the edges browned.

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To prevent the crust’s edges from burning wrap an aluminum foil collar around the pie or place a pie crust shield (aluminum or silicone) around pie to deflect the heat away from the edges .

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Completely baked pies cooling on wire rack.

fifth quarter:

  • Note to self: bake one more pie than you think you will need.  Five pies later and I still have not taken a bite out of a single pie.
  • All reports are that the pies were delicious and one of my sisters thought the crust was made from scratch (I credit the egg wash for that compliment).
  • I transferred two of the bowls of pie filling into Ziploc bags and baked my pies Thanksgiving morning.  There was a lot of juice from letting the apples sit so I added two Tablespoons of tapioca flour to each batch of pie filling to make sure the pies were not too watery.
  • Pies were a great success and I wouldn’t make any changes.

One thought on “Burnin’ Up the Kitchen – Apple Pie

  1. Pingback: Favorite Episodes: Burnin’ Up the Kitchen – Apple Pie | from the sticks to the bricks and back again

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