Baking pie from scratch is an art. If you invest your time and effort in creating the all-American apple pie, make it unforgettable. A few secrets for delicious apple pie will make your family sit up and take notice.
The basic recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, the classic red plaid 1968 edition. I received one from the 1971 fourth printing as a wedding shower gift, and we have been close ever since.
1. Begin with the classic Plain Pastry recipe, page 230, for a double crust pie. Note my tweaks!
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt [rounded teaspoon]
2/3 cup shortening [also slightly rounded]
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water [ICE COLD]
BLEND SHORTENING WITH FLOUR UNTIL PASTRY RESEMBLES SMALL PEAS. This step is important and the right tool is the key. I use a metal flat-bladed pastry blender that cuts the shortening into the flour until it resembles fine meal.
ADD A FEW TABLESPOONS ICE WATER AT A TIME, TOSSING WATER INTO MEALY FLOUR WITH A FORK OR THE PASTRY BLENDER TO MOISTEN. Continue adding water one tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly into flour, until pastry holds together and can be formed into a ball by hand. The pastry will be moister than you think it should be. The amount of water you add will be closer to 7 tablespoons than 5. Note that if pastry is over-mixed, it will be tough.
2. For the filling, turn to page 238, Perfect Apple Pie. I begin with this basic recipe with a little tweaking:
6 to 8 tart apples, pared, cored, and thinly sliced [6 cups] [See note below.]
3/4 to 1 cup sugar [I use a generous 1 cup of sugar.]
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour [Add another 1/2 tablespoon flour.]
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon [I use the 1 teaspoon.]
Dash ground nutmeg [I omit the nutmeg. My family prefers cinnamon only.]
Pastry for 2-crust 9-inch pie
2 tablespoons butter
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. I prefer using two kinds of apples in the filling: 3 cups of a tart apple such as Granny Smith or Jonathan and 3 cups of an apple such as Yellow Delicious or Gala.
HERE IS THE SECRET TO TANGY AND DELICIOUS PIE FILLING: Sprinkle the apple slices with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Toss to coat. The vinegar adds a delicious savory tang to the apple filling. If you are not fond of vinegar, don’t worry. The filling tastes like apple cider.
Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and a dash salt; mix with apples. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter. Adjust top crust, cutting slits for escape of steam; seal. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Cover lightly with foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until juice bubbles through slits in crust and pie is done.
For classic Dutch Apple Pie, drizzle the cooled pie with a glaze made with 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and enough apple cider vinegar to make a glaze.
Bake this pie for 4th of July
and stand back and watch the fireworks!