February 13, 2012

one for the recipe box

Do you have a recipe box? Like the old fashioned kind where your grandma kept all her favorite recipes, printed in her handwriting? I do, but I'll admit I hardly ever use it. I wish I did, but instead, I inevitably end up printing off recipes from my favorite food blogs. I like the idea of writing them out by hand to pass down for generations. We still have some of Jason's dad's recipes written out in his familiar scrawl and I always like seeing them.

This recipe is one for the recipe box. It's a no frills, traditional apple pie recipe, but one that I've made enough times to know how to get it just right. My husband is what you might call an apple pie connoisseur. His grooms cake at our wedding was his mom's apple pie. It was a lot to live up to, but he loves this pie. It's high praise coming from him.

Simple Apple Pie
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

3 large granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
3 large sweeter apples, like jonathan or gala, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar, plus a little for the top of the pie
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
4 T butter
1 1/2 T corn starch
2 pie crusts (store-bought, or see recipe below)
2 T milk or cream for brushing on the top

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the peeled and sliced apples, the sugar, spices, salt, butter, and cornstarch into a large sauce pan. Stir together and cook until apples are slightly soft, about 10 minutes.

Prepare a pie pan with one of the rolled out pie crusts. Pile the apples onto the pie crust and cover with the other crust. Pinch the edges of the crust together making a curvy shape all around the pie. Brush lightly with the milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. Place on top of a cookie sheet to catch any drips.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Pie Crust
courtesy of Orangette; I doubled it to make two large pie crusts.

8 Tbsp. ice water, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks plus 2 T cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the ice water and cider vinegar.

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles the size of peas. With the motor running, slowly add the water-vinegar mixture, processing just until the dough comes together and moist clumps form. The dough should hold together if you pick up a handful. If the dough seems a bit dry, add more ice water by the teaspoon, pulsing to incorporate. If it seems to wet, add a tiny bit of flour.

Dump the dough out onto a wooden board or clean countertop sprinkled with flour. Shape it into two balls, and then press each ball into disk about 1 1⁄2 inches thick. Smooth the edges with your hands. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, smoothing out any cracks with your hands and the pressure of the plastic. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least 2 hours. (Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw it in refrigerator overnight before using.) Before rolling it out, allow the dough to soften slightly at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

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