Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Baking

Two balls of pie crust dough and my "Pi" plate

I have been taking a class on Saturdays for the last 10 weeks in order to become a certified tax preparer. Today is the last day of the class, and we planned to have a potluck. I volunteered to bring a pie. You know me, I have to make everything from scratch unless I have no other choice.

I knew that I wanted to bake an apple pie since I haven't baked one with the homegrown apples this year. Last night I made the pie crust dough, separated it into two balls, wrapped each one of them in saran wrap and stuck them in the fridge. This morning, I got up around 7 A.M. and started slicing apples. I cut up about 12 apples since they are smaller than commercial apples, and I have plenty of them. I like to make my apple pies with extra apples.

I rolled out the pie dough. One ball was to line the pie plate, and the other one was to cut into stripes for the lattice top. I let the pie bake in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, then brush on egg wash all over the lattice top and let it bake for 25 more minutes until it was golden brown on top. The house smelled so good with the freshly baked apple pie. I wish that I could bottle this scent so my house could smell like a bakery all the time.

Here's the my apple pie recipe:

Pie crust:
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
6 tablespoons of cold milk (or water), plus 5 tablespoons of cold milk (or water) as needed

A bunch of homegrown apples (or 6 Jona gold apples). I don't peel my apples but you may peel them. Cored and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
To prepare the pie crust, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or plastic knife until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of milk over the flour and gently toss with a fork. Push the flour to the side of the bowl to form a well. Add the remaining cold milk and mix until all is moistened and combined. Divide the dough in half, and form each half into balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Note: try not to overly handle the dough with your warm hands. The pie crust will bake like flaky pastry with all the butter pieces embedded in it; however, if you handle the dough too much, the butter will melt then it doesn't come out as flaky.

In a large bowl, mixing the apples with sugar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set it aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one ball into a 12-inch circle and place it into a 9-inch pie plate.

Transfer the apple mixture into the pastry lined pie plate. For the top crust, roll out remaining dough, cut it into stripes and weave them  (as shown in the photos). Alternatively, you can just place an entire sheet on top, seal and flute the edge. Cut slits on top crust to allow steam to escape.

To make the egg wash, crack egg in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt, whisk with a fork, and brush on top of the pie after it's been baked for 25 minutes. After egg wash is brushed on, bake it for 25 more minutes or until it's golden brown on top and apples are tender. To prevent the top from over browning, you can place a sheet of foil on top if it needs to be baked longer.

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