There is nothing quite like homegrown apples, and I could hardly wait to make the apple butter and apple jelly. However, after doing so, I noticed that there were still plenty of apples in the bucket.
These particular apples reminded me a little of Granny Smiths. They are quite firm to the bite, but are not as tart as the Granny Smith variety. I decided that they would probably make a good old-fashioned apple pie. Keep in mind that for a good apple pie, you want apples that hold their shape and don’t “cook away.”
Until a few years ago, I was hesitant about making an apple pie from scratch. Probably what bothered me the most was the thought of making a flaky crust. I must admit that for years, I would pick up those commercially made pie crusts at the grocery store rather than tackle the task of pastry making. Actually, I still do that from time to time.
When I finally got up the nerve to try to make an apple pie from scratch, it was one of those “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” situations.
You can imagine my delight when one of my pies came out of the oven with a beautiful flaky crust. To give the crust more flavor, I opted for a combination of shortening and butter. A crust made only with shortening is usually bland in flavor, and a crust made only with butter is too crumbly and hard to roll out.
The following recipe is from my cookbook Treasury of Southern Baking, published by HarperCollins in 1993.
OLD-FASHIONED APPLE PIE
Two crust pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold shortening
1/3 cup cold butter
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix.
Add the shortening and butter. Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal, with just a few lumps about the size of peas. Add the ice water gradually and process until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from processor and shape into two disks. Chill for about 30 minutes.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples (or similar apples)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon and mix. Add apples and stir to coat.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll out each portion into a circle larger than a 9-inch pie plate. Fit the first crust in the pie plate, and trim the edges.
Fill with the apples, and dot with butter.
Wet the rim of the bottom crust with water. Place the remaining crust on top and seal to the bottom crust by pressing around the edges with a fork.
Brush the top with a little cream to give it a delicately browned crust. Prick the top crust several times with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. If the crust seems to be browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with a piece of aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.