Monday, November 11, 2013

Easy as Pie

So today, I'm writing about two firsts: my very first blog post, and my very first solo pie.

I spend a lot of time finding fun stuff on the internet (and more specifically, Pinterest). Sometimes, I actually get around to trying it myself. The more projects I've tackled, the more I've wanted somewhere else to document what I try -- somewhere I can include more detail, more pictures, and have more interaction. When I finally decided to give blogging a shot, I consulted a group of trusted friends to help my come up with a name.  As always, they came through beautifully. So here it is: My Life Unpinned.

For the pie, I trusted a different kind of friend: my 1964 edition of The Joy of Cooking that I got as a hand-me-down from my mother when I got my first apartment in college.  Often, I will consult a number of recipes from various sources (my sizable cookbook collection, the internet, my mom or grandma) before I settle on a recipe for a dish I've never made before.  However, in this case, I decided to go straight for my copy of Joy of Cooking.  It is well worn, has bookmarks all over it, and contains many of my family's favorite go-to recipes.  I knew that I could find a pie recipe that would not be over-complicated, but that would still result in a consistently delicious pie.

I did cheat a bit and use frozen pie crust from Giant.  Everyone talks so much about finicky pie crust is.  It seems like it would be very easy to understand all of the theory (minimal handling, keep it cold, etc.) but to still screw it up.  Focusing on the filling allowed me to get comfortable with that process, so that next time I can attempt my own crust.  Plus... my former pastry chef coworker admitted to me that she sometimes enjoys frozen pie crust too. That is, right before she offered to send me her crust recipe.  A quick note about the apples -- they were a mix of Granny Smith and Fuji apples, which were picked on a trip to Homestead Farm with some of the very same ladies who would end up helping me title this blog.

I successfully made it through the pie, and now I've made it through the post. Both can only get easier with more practice and more experience.

Apple Pie:
  • 2 frozen pie shells, thawed for ~15 minutes
  • 5-6 cups apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (6.5 medium/small apples)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 t cinnamon (or apple pie spice)
  • 1/8 t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/8 t salt

Place apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt.  Sir the apples gently until they are well coated. Allow to stand 10 minutes to macerate (this is a good time to clean up the mess you've inevitably made while prepping the apples). Place them in layers in the pie shell. Optionally, dot with 1.5 T of butter. I did not use butter and my pie still turned out beautifully.

Follow the directions on the pie crust for joining the upper and lower crusts.

Preheat oven to 450. Cover the pie with an upper crust and poke some holes to allow steam to escape while baking. Bake in a 450 oven for 10 min. Reduce the heat to 350. Bake until done, 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

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