Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Easy as Pie

There's a list of foods i resolved to cook this year that intimidated me last year. They are, in no particular order, a whole roasted chicken, prime rib and a REAL apple pie. As of yesterday, mission accomplished!

As with most things, the build up and anticipation is so much worse then actually getting down to business and getting it done. The next couple posts are going to detail the intimidating food trifecta.

I'm going to start with the motherload, an apple pie!

I was in CA this January and had the best apple pie ever. Thinly sliced apples piled on top of each other, tucked in between 2 flakey crusts. This was the apple pie to end all apple pies.

I came home and knew i had to make one. Even though the thought of making a pie made me shudder. The crust is NOT easy to do my friend told me over lunch. My other friend told me oooh like a REAL apple pie (different friend, different lunch ;)). Yes, i told her a REAL one, made with REAL apples, not the crap that comes out of a can. So i went out and bought Betty Crocker pie mix and there it sat in my pantry for about a month.

Then Valentine's week was here and i figured it time to get this party started, so i picked up 5 golden delicious apples and set off to find a recipe. WOW there's a TON of apple pie recipes out there. I even went so far to print out a couple of them. And i set out all the ingredients and prepared to start baking.

Then i got completely overwhelmed, do i make the crust first or prepare the apples first. If i do the apples first, won't they turn brown if i take too long with the crust? If i make the crust first, won't it dry out while waiting for me to peel, core and slice all the apples? I swear i went back and forth so much, that i just decided to scrap it and i walked away.

The next evening, i decided enough was enough and it was time to make the apple pie. And the easiest recipe ever was staring me in the face right on the Betty Crocker Box. All that research for nothing, i threw away the other recipes, and decided to follow Betty's recipe!

Fresh Apple Pie

It was a looooong process, but i did it, and it wasn't as hard as i thought. Peeling, coring and slicing apples is no big deal if you have a peeler and an apple corer and slicer. I prepared the apples first, tossed them into the sugar, spice and flour mixture and let them sit while i tackled the crust.

Making the crust was interesting, i definitely need more practice, there was a lot of rolling, stretching an flouring being done, only to have a tear in it and trying to patch it up using a wayward scrap of crust. I guess this is where the 'it's not easy' comes in. ;)

The lattice work, wow, that was a whole other adventure. Here i had no clue what i was doing at all. Betty doesn't tell you how to do this, so it was just roll the dough, slice strips of dough, curse a little as the dough strips would break while trying to lace them, only to pull it back off the pie, re-roll and relace. WHAT.A.MISSION!!!

Then half way through the pie, i'm like hmmm, something doesn't look quite right and i realized i screwed up the up,down,up,down pattern in the middle of the pie. Whatever, there was no looking back, i just needed to finish and get this thing in the oven.

According to my hubby, my little pie making adventure lasted 2 hours. When i walked out of the kitchen to announce the pie is in the oven, he said that's what you've been doing in there the whole time? (um, sha! that stupid lattice crust took FOREVER to do and i still didn't lay out the strips the right way!)

About 30 minutes later, this came out of the oven. It was beautiful, even with it's flaws. MY FIRST APPLE PIE!!!! YAY!!!

Slicing into it, you can see, i need a little practice slicing apples, but it was perfectly cooked, the apples still had some texture to them and the sugar and spice mixture just enhanced the pie perfectly.

I served it with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream, also known as the best ice cream i've ever made. The cinnamon flavor was surprisingly nostalgic for me. It tasted exactly like abuela's natilla (a Spanish custard topped with a generous shake of cinnamon). In fact, the ingredients are almost identical.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

I made the recipe as written only substituting fat-free half and half for the full fat half and half. It was simply what i had in the fridge, and though i was worried that it would alter the consistancy in the recipe, it made a fabulous rich ice cream.

It was the perfect pairing for the perfect apple pie!


Nicole Mc said...

I finally tackeled a whole roasted chicken this past month. It was soooo easy, i couldn't figure out why i hadn't been doing it all along!!! :) I've since done 4 more!!! Your pie looks yummy!!!

Anonymous said...

Your pie looks great! Wonderful job on the lattice - that is something I have not yet tackled!

Oh_mama said...

Great job on the lattice,my friend! I knew you could do it!! YUM!

Anonymous said...

Here are some directions for the lattice top - it is not too difficult. The pie looks great!


Anonymous said...

Here is the website:

Lattice Crust