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Food & Wine Ground >> Apple Pie (and pie crust in general) recipes?

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11/23/09 8:32 AM
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CR1chard
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 With my Mom's passing, I've been tasked with preparing the Thanksgiving meal for my family. Not a problem, except that I can't bake for shit, and my Dad has specifically requested an apple pie. I've never made a pie, so does anyone have some good crust recipes? I'll be searching the usual recipe websites, but wanted to see if any of you guys had any super awesome apple pie secrets
11/23/09 10:47 AM
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crescentwrench
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You wanna know a little secret?  The guys over at Pillsbury must have a really good pie crust recipe because I have gotten their refrigerated 2 packs and found that are quite tasty as well as convenient.  I think unless I just want to make crust that I'll use these.  It's not like pie is the only thing going on for Thanksgiving, and nobody in my family ever won a medal for making everything from scratch.  So my take is that this is one corner to cut, fo' reals.  Don't get the frozen ones with their own pie pan, get the rolled up ones next to the biscuits and cookie tubes.  

If you MUST make your own crust then the one from America's Test Kitchen is a good one.  It uses vodka to make the crust easier to work with so it won't make you angry trying to hammer a lump of dry ass dough into a circle.  

Now, for the filling I also use a tip from ATK.  They precook their apples in order to draw out moisture so you don't get a soggy pie, shrink the slices so you can pack more apple in there, and prevent spillover.  No matter what recipe I find that I want to try, I pre-cook my apples regardless.  It makes it easier to turn out a good pie.  If your recipe doesn't call for pre-cooking apples then you'll need to add one or two apples to the number they give you in order to make up for the space you're going to be reducing.   Also remember when doing this to not use anything thickening agents such as flour or cornstarch as the pre-cooking already took care of the moisture issue.  

I think the recipe they use is just apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  But they make you pay so I don't remember for sure.  Like I said, they're all pretty similar, the proportions should work from any recipe.  

What you do is take your apple slices (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, NOTHING RED), sugar and spices and cook them over low heat in a dutch oven or pot in order to sweat them out and make them tender/crunchy.  If you keep the heat low the pectin in the apples will set and the apples never get mushy no matter how long you bake your pie.  Stir them every now and then for about 15 minutes until they get slightly bendy and easy to pierce with a knife, then strain them through a colander and save the juice that they gave off.  Reduce the juice to about half and mix back into the apples.  Let it cool down a little before filling your pie.  

Then bake.  The filling is pretty much cooked so you only need to bake it long enough to get the crust good and done.  

One variation that I am always asked to make is to take your regular apple pie and just mix a can of whole cranberry sauce (not jellied) into the filling.  If you like cranberries it's freakin' outstanding.  
11/23/09 10:55 AM
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CR1chard
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 I think I have the Cook's Country with that apple pie recipe in it - I'll have to dig around. Good call on the refrigerated pie crust, I'll be doing enough shit that day

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