As I begin this adventure in food documentation & recipe sharing, I must make it clear I am no professional (at least not in writing nor cooking). After some time in the kitchen as a wife & mother, routine and responsibility led to interest and entertainment. I found recipes my family liked, as well as many they didn’t…but there was always one that remained a winner on my daughter’s plate, so I’ll start off my collection with it!
Although making an apple pie from scratch can seem like a challenge, I like to divide the process into small easy parts; each being a portion of time and a pod of work snug between chores and errands. But before you get all excited about the smells soon-to-be coming from your oven, I sadly need to remind you that the first step of the process is to prepare and chill the pie crust dough for at least one hour: patience! So, first, let’s mix away…
The Most Perfect Pie Crust
- 1-1/2 cups (190g) of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (12.5g) of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4g) of salt
- 8 tablespoons (125g) of butter, cold
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) of water, cold
I like to keep it simple…and bakers and cooks all around the world will probably bicker and moan, but in my kitchen, I like to do it my own way! Of course, I follow instructions and love to see the results in doing things the right way; but like I said, keeping it simple! So, I mix all the ingredients in a bowl or food processor and let the dough form, kneading and punching it until it’s uniform and looks just about ready. Give it a little disk form shape, wrap it in see-though wrap, and place it in the fridge for at least an hour. It can stay there for a lot longer as well, no problem!
For the Filling
- 8-10 cups (1kg) of peeled & sliced apples, 1/4″ thickness
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup (30g) of all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoon (3g) of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (100g) of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) of vanilla extract
After peeling and slicing the apples in uniform 1/4″ thick slices, add them to a bowl, along with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, but gently so the apples don’t break or get smushed, until thoroughly combined. Set the filling aside as the oven preheats, in order for the apples to release their juices.
Now we’re ready! Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
Roll out the chilled dough. I think I can guarantee a flake & mush free dough at this point. I have had so many bad experiences with dough! So, I have taken my time to find the perfect fool-proof mixture of ingredients in order for NOTHING to go wrong. Let me know how it works out for you! Place the rolled-out dough on the dish of your choice – I’ve done square, deep, round, flat – your kitchen, your choice! Just be sure to tuck in well and smooth it out evenly. The bottom corners always need to be squished and the dough needs to be evenly spread so we don’t get odd crispy parts or thick uncooked ones. This is a careful hands-on process that must be done with love and dedication; you’ll end up loving your results even more at the end, I promise.
Spoon the apple filling into the crust, laying as many of the apples as flat as possible. I like to use my hands in the kitchen, so I pat them down well in order to achieve extreme flatness, letting any air bubbles out. Don’t pat too hard however, you don’t want to squish the uncooked crust below. Be sure to leave some of the liquid of the apples in the bowl, this is why it’s important that you spoon the apples out and not turn the bowl over onto the pie. The excess liquid will make for mushy cooked dough! Now, trim and flute the edges as you wish. I like to pinch them all around, you can also use a fork.
To Make the Crumble Topping
- 1/2 cup (100g) of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (2.5g) of ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup (95g) of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (95g) of chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup (75g) of butter, melted and cooled
Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, all-purpose flour, and walnuts in a medium sized bowl. Slowly stir in butter and mix lightly with a fork. Depending on your choice of crumble topping you can mix very little to get a more chunky crust; or you can mix well to get a thinner more even coating. Your choice! In the picture above I used the thinner, even coating. Simply sprinkle over the apple until you cover the entire pie, but not the crust edge you so delicately trimmed earlier.
Bake for 20 minutes. Then, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C). Trust me, you don’t want to mess with temperature instructions. Bake for another 30 minutes, always checking that the crust edges are not burning! Allow pie to cool completely before serving – we hardly ever do! Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy.