Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apple of my eye

I had the following conversation with Gillian last night as she and Brianna were finishing up dinner:

Gillian: "May I please have some ice cream for dessert?"
Me: "No, because we don't have any."
Gillian: "Well, make some!!"
Me: *laughing so hard I can't respond*

In just about any other house, the kids would be asking their mom to buy more ice cream.  But not here, no.  My kids just naturally assume that I can and will make just about anything they want.  I suppose that's a good thing. =)  But I wasn't about to start making ice cream, so I offered her a piece of this wonderful homemade apple pie instead.  She was happy. =)

Pie is one of those things that I definitely prefer to make myself.  Especially with fruit pies, I just don't like the ones you can buy in the grocery store--too much crust, not enough fruit, and way too much gloppy goo around what little fruit there is.  With homemade, you can customize things to be the way you like, and it tastes so much better as well.  The only downside to homemade pie is that I like it way too much, and am likely to eat most of the pie myself.  That's why it seldom makes an appearance outside of Thanksgiving.  But for Tuesdays with Dorie, I'll make an exception.  I missed last week's pie (though it will probably show up here the week of Thanksgiving, I think), but there was no way I was going to skip the All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie that Emily picked.  

Apple pie is my favorite.  Without question.  I love apples, so I've been happy with all of the apple desserts we've been making for the past month or so.  What made me really happy was having my favorite apple show up at Central Market a couple weeks ago.  I love tart apples, and will happily eat pretty much anything related to a Macintosh apple.  But my favorite of these is definitely the Macoun apple.  (Thanks to Nancy for recommending them to me a couple years ago.)  And they arrived just in time for me to use them in this pie!  

Do any of the rest of you try to get the apple peel off all in one long strip?  I used 5 apples for this pie, and wasn't being that careful, so I only managed it with one apple. =)  My girls think it's cool that I can do that.  Nice that they like something that I do once in a while...

For pie, I like to slice my apples thin and pile lots of them into the pie shell.  I somewhat followed Dorie's recipe for the filling--I used the sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg as listed.  (I love freshly grated nutmeg--I use my microplane to grate it.)  I used flour instead of tapioca for the thickener, since I can't stand tapioca.  (I stood in front of it in the grocery store, but just couldn't bring myself to buy it.)  I also left out the lemon zest--I used it in the apple torte a couple weeks ago, and thought it overpowered the other flavors too much.

I skipped the crumbs to put in the bottom of the pie shell, too.  I have another method for avoiding soggy apple pie--dried fruit.  When I was growing up, my mom always put raisins in apple pie.  I love raisins, so that was fine with me.  It wasn't until I was baking on my own and tried making apple pie without them that I realized that they actually suck up a lot of the extra juice, keeping the pie filling from being too runny.  Cool.  I mostly use raisins, but dried cranberries are also tasty, and I'm sure dried cherries would be good if you like cherries.

I was already deviating a lot from the original recipe, so I did use Dorie's pie crust recipe.  I was only going to make a single crust, but started measuring out the ingredients for the double crust recipe (since it's listed first on the page).  I figured I'd go ahead and make the double version since I was getting out the food processor anyway, and freeze half for later.  Yes, the recipe does call for a double crust.  But besides adding raisins, the other thing my mom always did was put crumbs on top of the pie.  I thought about trying crust on top, but since I make pie so seldom, I wanted to go with my favorite. =)  I've tried different toppings over time, but my current favorite can be found in this recipe from Bon Appetit.  

Once last thing that I do that wasn't in the recipe...  To bake the pie, I first put it on a parchment lined baking sheet (to catch the juices that will inevitably bubble over).  Then I put the sheet directly on the baking stone in the bottom of my oven.  Baking on the stone ensures a nice browned bottom crust.  If you do this, you should make sure that the oven and stone are preheated for quite a while.  (I had good timing--I had the oven on for dinner before baking the pie, so the stone was already pretty hot. I just had to turn the oven up to 425ºF.)  I'm not used to turning the oven down partway through, and ended up baking my pie for 50 minutes at 425ºF.  That isn't a problem with my usual pie crust, which doesn't have any sugar in it.  For Dorie's, which does, I'll make sure to lower the temperature next time, since the edges of the crust got a little dark.  It was late when the pie finished, and I prefer to let it cool to just warm before serving, so I didn't get to try any until the next morning.

The verdict?  Well, if you don't already know, pie for breakfast is the best. =)  I'd much rather eat it for breakfast than for dessert, really.  (My husband thinks I'm a bit crazy. No, not just for that, either.)  As expected, I loved this pie.  I'm still a bit undecided on the crust.  Dorie's crust is definitely more tender than my usual, but mine is more flaky, I think.  Both are good.  And hers makes better pie crust "cookies."  Everyone else here loved the pie, too, even Brianna.  She loves crust, and was even willing to eat some of the raisins.  

For the original recipe, head over to Emily's blog.  And be sure to check out this week's Links to see what everyone else did with their apple pies.  As for me, I'm going to go eat another piece of pie for today's breakfast. =)


  1. Love your pie and the crumb topping. I actually like to put chocolate chips in mine when I do the crumb topping.
    Everytime I try to peel an apple in one long strip I think of the movie Sleepless in Seattle. :)

  2. That pie looks YUMMY! I have never heard of baking a pie on a stone, i only use mine for pizza. I will have to try it next time i make a pie!

  3. Looks delicious! And I loved all of the little tips and variations you offered - especially because I am not a very experienced pie baker. =)

  4. We used the same crumble recipe! Great minds, Di... ;)

    Your pie looks fab, too!

  5. Yes! I always try to get the peel off in one, long strand! So funny. The pie looks awesome. And what great memories you're giving B & G by making so much of what they eat! I love doing that, too! This pie looks wonderful with the crumb topping and it looks like excellent breakfast food. :o)

  6. I love everything you did with your pie - and I would totally eat it for breakfast!

    I am jealous you can get Macouns - we moved from Connecticut (where they are very easy to find) to Pennsylvania, where no one's heard of them. Oh well!

  7. Crumb topping looks delicious. And your crust is perfect. I never take the time to make the crust shine. too concerned with the over all pie. ah, well.

    And when you make g some Ice Cream make sure you put some on this pie. FANTASTIC!!!!

  8. And yes, I do try to peel the apple all in one piece. Never works tho!!

  9. Yum--I love your version of the pie! I grew up with a double-crust apple pie, so that's what I always make, but I love apple crisp, so I need to try this! Oh, and I ate lots of this pie for breakfast too--it is the best breakfast.

  10. I love apple pie too!! Yours looks fantastic!!!

  11. I've never been able to get the peel off the apple in one strand like that - impressive Di! I have no doubt this pie was awesome with the crumb topping and since I loved it so much I'll probably make it again soon that way. I've been eating my mini for breakfast, snack, dessert, etc - it really is good anytime :)

  12. I think your Mom would have loved your pie. Its scrumptious. I never thought about the dried fruit trick...thanks for sharing. I love apple pie too. Gosh I love the crust, but can't wait to try it with the crumb topping. I think I'll be making an apple pie for Thanksgiving this year.
    happy halloween to the girls

  13. I use my Pampered Chef apple peeler! Your pie looks good and I like the topping!
    I would eat it for breakfast too!

  14. Lots of great tips in this post. Thanks. I like homemade pies the best for just the reasons you said as well. Yours looks so great, love the edging you did on it.

  15. I want it for breakfast. . I love everything you done. Homemade pies, looks inviting=0

  16. Pie for brekkie? Excellent idea, Looks and sounds perfect. I often put raisins in with apple crumble. The pastry-shy person's way of avoiding making crust :)

  17. Raisins... hm! Sounds much better than the crumbs I put in. :) And thanks for the topping recipe - worked and tasted great! Although my pie "fell" - which was a little strange. Never had a Macoun - but would love to try them - even with ice cream!