(Golden) Delicious Apple Pie

(Golden) Delicious Apple Pie

Apple pie is one of the most classic American dishes. It’s the perfect dessert when you want something a little bit lighter that flourless chocolate cake; which for me, is admittedly rare since I’m a crazy chocolate fiend, but even I switch things up now and again! What I love about apple pie is how super easy it is to throw together. All the ingredients are typically ones you have stocked at home and the recipe is pretty fail proof. It’s easier than pumpkin pie to make and just as delicious!

Killer Apple Pie | Land of Laurel

To me, apple pie means fall and Thanksgiving, it means winter and foggy windows, it means filling the house with the smell of cinnamon and cloves, but most of all it means a gathering of friends or family. I like my apple pies tart and spicy, just like my friends, so it’s pretty much the perfect dessert for a girls night. Ha! Plus, apple pie is the perfect house freshener: put an apple pie in the oven 20 minutes before your guests come over and your whole house will smell like heaven! It’s a multipurpose dessert y’all! Check out the recipe below for a super easy and delicious evening.

Killer Apple Pie | Land of Laurel

Ingredients

1 – pie crust

7 – medium, organic, green apples, granny smith is the classic

1 – medium, organic, multi-colored apple, fugi or gala work well

1/2 cup – organic, brown sugar

1  – lemon, zest and juice

1/4 teaspoon – salt

1 teaspoon – cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon – cloves

1/4 teaspoon – nutmeg

4 tablespoons – organic butter

1 – organic egg

Recipe

Split your ball of pie crust dough in two and roll out half, keeping the other half cool in the refrigerator for later as it will form the top crust. Use your rolling pin to help convey the rolled bottom pie crust dough from your counter to you pie pan, then use your fingers shape the dough inside. Leaving half an inch over the edge of the pan, cut off the excess dough. Pop the bottom crust into the oven to pre-bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and set aside to cool. Turn the oven to 425° to pre-heat for the pie.

While the bottom crust pre-bakes, begin peeling, coring, and thinly slicing your apples. You want your apples to be roughly peeled, so don’t worry about getting every last bit off. I use this awesome kitchen aide attachment I have and love, and then slice the peeled, cored, and spiral sliced apple in half.  The kitchen aide attachment or counter-mounted version are fantastic because they do all the peeling, slicing, and coring at once, but this isn’t difficult to accomplish with a simple knife alone.

Place the apple slices into a large bowl, add all other ingredients except the butter andegg, and use your hands to toss everything together. Once apples are evenly coated, place in cooled, pre-baked pie shell in a spiral pattern, coating the bottom before placing additional layers. Use small or broken slices to fill any odd spaces. Once you’ve piled your mound of apples into the bottom shell, you will have some excess liquid in your bowl, pour about half over the apples in the pie shell and compost the rest. Cut butter into 8 evenly sized pieces and sprinkle over mounded apples.

Roll out the other half of your pie dough and use it to cover your mounded apples. Pinch the edges into the pre-baked bottom crust and remove any excess. Cut openings in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Coat the top pie crust completely with a whipped egg yolk to give it a deep finished sheen. To make decorative leaves, cut leaf shapes out of excess down, using the knife to carve leaf veins into the tops. Coat leaves with lightly whipped egg white mixed with food coloring and place on pie shell.

Bake at 425° degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° and bake for another 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving, refrigerate after slicing. Pie keeps well and can be baked and left on counter up to 36 hours in advance, before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for best results!

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Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Yesterday, I shared my recipe for perfect pie crust, here is how I make my perfect pumpkin pie. Are you ready for amazing? Get pumped! I love pumpkin pie. It is the perfect fall dessert. Personally, I stock up on the good organic canned pumpkin during the fall and make pumpkin pie year round, whenever I feel like it. What can I say, I’m a rebel! I made the pie below a few years ago when I was getting excited about my crust and had yet to learn about the not so great affects of food dyes…

 

Pie with Leaves | Land of Laurel

 

So you’ve made your pie crust, you’ve rolled it out, you’re ready to go. You’re just missing the most important part. The filling! Mmm mmm mmmm mmm good! The yummy part. The creamy part. The spicy part. The #getinmybelly part. Nom nom nom.

 

Pie with Braided Crust | Land of Laurel

 

If you’re making pie from scratch for the first time, pumpkin is a good choice. It’s almost impossible to mess up. It’s easy to make with minimal clean up. And it’s absolutely, knock your socks off delicious! Time to start baking!

Here it is!

 

Perfect Pumpkin Pie | Land of Laurel

 

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie.

 

Ingredients:

1 pint organic whipping cream

1 can pure organic pumpkin puree

1 tsp salt

2 tsp organic cinnamon

2 tsp freshly grated organic ginger

1 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

eggs

2 tsp organic pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup organic brown sugar

 

This is pretty much the easiest recipe. Pre-heat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients, in any order, in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until smooth. Pour into egg-glazed pie shell very carefully. Place pie in oven for approximately 45 minutes. Check it frequently by giving the pan a gentle shove. When the top is set and doesn’t jiggle like a liquid would, the pie is done! Remove immediately and leave on counter. Serve after allowing it to sit for at least 20 minutes. It’s hard to wait, especially since you know this pie isn’t going to last long!

 

Pumpkin Pie Mostly Gone | Land of Laurel

 

I like to top mine off with a little whipped cream to which I add a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a tablespoon of brown sugar. It’s even more delicious!

Perfect Pumpkin Pie | Land of Laurel

 

Mmm… so dang good! Now if I only had more room on my plate…

 

Full Pie Plate | Land of Laurel

 

Because in my family, Thanksgiving totally allows for multiple dessert plates.

 

Hanna's Dessert Plates

 

What about you? Do you adore pie in all its delicious forms? Did you try my Perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe? How did it turn out?

Perfect Pie Crust

I absolutely adore pie. Every aspect of it. From the making of the pie crust to the americana, homey feel to the fall atmosphere to the smell of baking pies to the beauty of pies lined up in a row ready to be served. I love pie. I love pie! Pie is glorious. I love making it, I love eating it. There is basically nothing I do not like about pie. Pie always beats cake (unless it’s a birthday, then you obviously have to have birthday cake, it’s in the name, people!). Pie is easier that cake to make look great, fantastic for all occasions (except birthdays, then you have cake, are we getting this?), and generally makes you seem like an awesome baker for something that isn’t difficult to make.

Pumpkin Pie in Staub Pan | Land of Laurel

 

I learned how to make pie from my father when I was very little. He learned how to make pie from cookbooks when my mother was pregnant with me. Why? My mother’s number one craving: homemade pie. Smart woman. My dad learned a great skill and my mother got to feed her cravings. A pregnant woman’s gotta eat what she wants! Growing up, my family focused mainly on pumpkin and apple pies. When I was old enough to have an opinion we branched out to decadent fudge pies. Yum. Pecan pies? Sure thing. Ice cream pies? Absolutely. Anything pie. Anytime. Anywhere. All occasions (except for birthdays, have I been clear about this?).

 

Apple Pie | Land of Laurel

 

Now if you want to learn how to make all sorts of pies I highly recommend getting yourself a good cookbook. This one by James McNair is my dad’s favorite. You can only buy it used now though… Tragic. It’s a great book! Once you find a good pie cookbook, whether it’s James McNair or one you pick up from your local bookshop, find some guinea pigs. Anyone will do as long as they will eat pie and give you feedback. Heck, they don’t even need to give you feedback, you can judge for yourself. You basically just need some people to eat a few slices of pie so you don’t eat the entire thing by yourself. Which I’m working on right now with my latest pumpkin pie…. Ooops!

 

Last year I asked for red pie pans for the holidays and was gifted with three beautiful pans. I love them all, they’re amazing! Each one is just a little different, which I adore. Plus, when I make pie, I rarely make fewer than than three. Heck, I’d take another pie pan too if someone was offering! I have a few glass pyrex ones as well, but I just love the red ones. They’re deeper and wider and gorgeous. A good pie pan is a fantastic thing to have, but you can bake a pie in almost anything, so don’t worry if you don’t have a special pie pan. A cake pan will work, a loaf pan will work, a casserole dish  will work. If it holds water, it will work!

 

Today I’m going to give you my recipe for pie crust. The essential part of the pie. A good starting point don’t you think? You have your recipe, you have your guinea pigs, now it’s time to start baking! Here is how I make my absolute favorite pie crust. It’s the perfect amount of healthy and sweet, flakey and floury. It’s fantastic. Tomorrow, I’ll share the pie filling itself.

 

Fudge Pie | Land of Laurel

 

Start with the crust. I always make crust for two or four pies and freeze the extra dough. You almost always make crust for two bottom crust pies (or one pie with top and bottom crust). It’s just how it’s done. And don’t cop out and buy store bought crust, it’s just not as good. Plus you miss all the fun part. Making crust is fun!

 

The ingredients: 

2-3/4 cups finely milled organic whole wheat flour ( try 1/4 cup less if your flour is not so finely milled)

1 tsp salt

2 sticks organic butter

1 cup ice water

egg

 

Add when appropriate:

Sweet pies-

2.5 Tbsp organic brown sugar

1 Tbsp organic cinnamon

1 tsp organic cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

 

Savory pies –

1 cup  grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbsp rosemary or thyme

 

Since I am planning on pumpkin pie for my dough, I made mine with the sweet pie recipe. First get a big bowl with lots of extra room. This can get messy. Then combine the flour, salt, and spices in the bowl, mix well. Then add the sugar. Once these are well stirred together, cut the sticks of butter into slices 1/4″ thick. Add them to the mix a few add a time. Then get one of two things, a pair of forks or a handy pastry cutter like this one:

 

Pastry Cutter | Land of Laurel

 

A pastry cutter is ideal for the next part, a pair of forks will work. If want to do this entire process in a mixer, that will also work, but when you cut in the butter by hand (with the forks or pastry cutter) you get a better tasting, flakier crust. A machine just can’t duplicate this.

 

So! You cut in the butter. This is basically mashing the butter into the flour mix. You want there to be some pieces of butter in the mix, you don’t want to blend them to smooth. Make a rotating movement with your wrist to mash in the butter if you’re using a pastry cutter and it you’re using forks, give it everything you got, ’cause it’s probably going to hurt!

 

Once all the butter has been cut into the mixture, start sprinkling the ice water over it teaspoon by teaspoon. Be very careful you do not add too much water. You will most likely not need the entire cup of ice water, so go slowly. You really just need the dough to start clumping. Once the dough clumps a bit, hold off on the water and dig in with your hands. If you can shape the dough into the ball, you’re done! That’s all the water you need. Sometimes the dough at the bottom of the bowl doesn’t get quite as much moisture as the rest, but you can usually roll this into the middle of the dough ball.

 

Guess what? You just made pie dough! Yay! The not so great part? It’s not ready for rolling into a crust yet. Put it into the fridge for a few hours or into the freezer for twenty minutes or so. You need the dough to be cold and slightly hard to the touch before you can roll it out. Hard like the resistance of your thumb pushing into a muscle, there is some give, but it’s pretty firm to the touch.

 

Once your dough is cold and firm, you’re ready to roll! You will need a rolling pin, but if you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle will work too. Can you tell I’ve made a pie in a dorm room before? I know all the tricks. Yes, fancy cooking tools help, but you can totally do this with or without them, it just takes a little more effort.

 

Sprinkle flour over a large flat surface, the bigger the better! 😉 Place your cold, firm dough in the middle of your flour. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the top. Then, using the part of your palm that meets your wrist, carefully push the ball of dough outward from the center in a gentle motion until the dough is not longer a bowl, but rather more flat and about 3/4″ to 1″ thick. Now it’s time for your rolling pin. Put about a tablespoon of flour in the middle of palm and run the rolling pin through it until it’s covered. Then place it in the center of the dough and, applying pressure, push outward. Move the pin back into the center and pull the rolling pin toward you. Continue starting from the center and rolling the dough outward, alternating the direction you are rolling. You may want to occasionally flip the dough over and sprinkle with more flour to prevent it from sticking. You will want the dough to be thin, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.

 

When your dough is thin enough, get your pie pan and place it close to the dough. Then carefully roll the dough over the pin and use it to move the dough, centering over the pie pan. Then cut off the excess and bunch the dough edges to form your crust. Take your egg and scramble it with a fork and use a pastry brush (or your hands!) to brush over the crust edges and sides (not the bottom).

You’re done! Now time for the filling. Your pie is going to be delicious. Your crust is going to be flakey, golden brown, and wonderful, just like this guy below.

Pie Crust | Land of Laurel

 

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I share my recipe for the absolute best pumpkin pie ever! Do you have any pie secrets? Great recipes? Or are you the kind of person who would rather just buy a pie?