Monday, October 13, 2008

Mmmm....Homemade Apple Pie.......

I was painting the top of an unfinished wooden side table on Sunday afternoon, just having a little arts-n-crafts time, when my daughter came to me and said "I feel like baking something!" Little did she know that I'd been thinking about apple pie all weekend - so I put my paints away in about 10 seconds flat we we headed out to find the perfect apples! We've never made a pie together - heck, I can hardly remember the last time I made a pie myself. But I can tell you that whenever it was, it was not a two-crust pie. I've thought about baking one now and again, but like many people, when you think of pie, your brain automatically thinks 'Pie means pie crust! Noooooo!!!!!' All of the pie crust 'anthems' run through your mind....'it has to be flaky!', 'don't handle it too much!', 'you cannot have a tough crust!', 'it's gonna be hard to roll out!' and on and on and on.... Well, for the good of conquering my own hang-ups and showing my daughter that we can bake anything we want - I decided we would indeed tackle an apple pie if for no other reason than to prove we could do it. I did not want to teach my daughter that 'a pie is too hard' to make. That's like telling her, 'math is hard for girls'. Blanket statements like that can be so harmful - especially coming from a parent. Besides, for a young girl who is enjoying cooking/baking more and more, think of all the wonderful dishes that she might never make just because a crust is involved! I had to start her off on the right 'pie foot'. And...being a pie novice myself, it was fun to kill the crust-ghosts together.
Mixing the pie crust ingredients was so simple - and the crusts rolled out with ease. I used my Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer to prepare the apples. What an awesome tool - every apple was uniformly sliced into 1/8 inch slices, ensuring a soft and tender apple filling. I do not like crunchy apples in my apple pie! We spooned the apples into the bottom crust and dotted the top with tiny bits of butter, put on the top crust - then I realized I'd trimmed the bottom crust too close to the pie plate to allow proper closure/sealing of the two crusts. So....the pie crust challenges began. We took off the top crust, emptied the out the apples, and made a brand new crust for the bottom - one I wouldn't trim so closely. That second crust.....was pie crust hell. I rolled it too thin and couldn't roll it or fold it to get it in the pie plate. I tried rolling it once again - knowing in the back of my mind that a tough crust was looming. That second roll-out was worse than the first, so I tossed the dough and made more, again. This one - with a lot of finger-crossing and praying and breath-holding, came out well - so into the pan it went. The apples were re-load, re-buttered and another new batch of dough was made for the top crust as I had to toss the orginial one. This new top crust came out fine and we placed it atop the arromatic apple filling, brushed it with a little milk and then put our labor-heavy creation into a nice, hot oven.
All in all it was a really fun baking project. I ended up making tons of dough (first batch made two crusts...then I made three singles). Thinking about it afterwards, I figured it might've actually been a good thing that I had to make all those extra crusts. Here I'd told my daughter why so many people shy away from making pie -and then our very first attempt almost turned out too perfectly (until I'd trimmed it incorrectly)! In the end, she saw alot of what can happen, and that it can be a bit frustrating but also very fun. And that's what's important.
After dinner on Sunday night, we were so excited to cut into the still-warm pie - I'd bought vanilla ice cream to have along side as well. With the first bite, my husband's eyes rolled back into his head and his pleasure was easy to see - he immediately requested a pie for Thanksgiving. My first bite was a little more exporlatory - but it was pleased....the crust flaked with my was tender and beautfully golden - the apples...not a crunch in the bunch - it was heaven in my mouth.
My daughter.....her first bite, "It's pretty good..." by the third bite, "I don't think I like apple pie'. Oh well :-) We shared the experience and that's what counts. Baking together is a real joy - like it, or not ;-)


Caren said...

That was a great one! I need to do that with Ryan, he loves to cook. Where did you get a good crust recipe? So many sound so complicated just reading them!

Me said...

Caren - I use my old Betty Crocker cookbook for so many basic recipes. It's very trustworthy. The crust was just sortening, flour, a bit of salt and a few tablespoons of cold water. Perfect! I guess I shoulda posted the recipe... Look for it here tomorrow!