I’m sure many of you are thinking to yourself right now “Make a pie? That’s crazy! Why make a pie when I can buy one that’s ready to eat?” I know this because I once thought the same way, believing that pie-making should be left to the “professionals.” While the professionals should be in control of many things in life, pie-making is definitely open to the masses (that means you!). Also, it is scientifically proven that you’ll value a pie you make yourself more than one you buy at a store.
So, I’m not going to judge you if you use this as inspiration to go out and find a wonderful ready-to-eat pie (We’re all busy people and either way you’re still treating yo’ self) — my argument is that making a pie is quick and easy but, at the end of the day, I can’t promise that it’ll be a cakewalk, especially if you have no baking experience (though remember that everybody must start somewhere). There is the possibility of disappointment along the line, but in my experience this recipe is a fool-proof way to achieve self-fulfilling self-indulgence in the form of a hand-made apple pie:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup shortening (chilled)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ~8 cups (about 6-7 whole) apples
- 1/2 cup sugar (Use less if you want a tart pie)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 9 inch pie plate
- 1 large bowl
- 1 medium bowl
- Rolling Pin
- Measuring Cup
- Measuring Spoons
- Apple Corer (I suggest one that slices and cores at once)
- Large, clean work surface
- Aluminum Foil
- Plastic Wrap
- To start the crust: mix the flour and salt in your medium bowl.
- If you have a pastry blender, use it to cut the shortening into the flour and salt mixture. If you’re like me and do not have a pastry blender, add in the shortening and begin cutting it in using two knives. Begin by using one knife to hold a clump of shortening while cutting it into two pieces with the other knife, but you can also use a frantic parallel cutting style as the clumps get smaller (I’m a fan of the frantic style. It is my version of a stress ball — just don’t let the flour fly everywhere). Cut in the shortening until you have pea-sized or smaller particles. The mix will also look a bit moist when ready.
- Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cold water onto a small section of the mix. With a fork, begin fluffing the watered area until it is possible to stick it to the wall of the bowl. Continue this process, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the entire mixture is doughy (you won’t need to use all of the water).
- Wash your hands, ’cause things are about to get messy. With your clean hands, roll the dough into a ball. You can use a small amount of water (emphasis on the word small) to add any remaining mix to the dough ball. Split the ball in half and then roll each half into a smaller ball. Slightly smoosh/flatten each ball before wrapping it in plastic wrap and placing it into the fridge. Refrigerate the dough balls for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, let’s prepare the filling! Peel and slice your apples into thin slices (an apple corer is a very useful and inexpensive aid in this endeavor). In your large bowl mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the apple slices until well mixed.
- Remove one ball of dough from the fridge (pick the slightly larger one if there is a perceptible difference). Place it on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle some flour on top of it. Using the rolling pin, methodically flatten the dough until it is about 1-2 inches wider than the diameter of your pie plate edge. Move the pie plate near the dough then roll your dough circle onto the rolling pin and transfer to the pie plate (to roll it onto the rolling pin, place the pin on the far edge of the circle and roll away from you. Once the dough is stuck to the pin begin rolling back toward yourself until the dough is fully encircling the pin. Then pick up the pin and dough, holding the rolling pin to lock it such that the dough does not roll off). Gently press the dough down so that it is flush with the pie plate, being careful not to tear it.
- Pour or scoop your pie filling into the dough-lined pie plate. Fill the plate as evenly as possible. Cut the butter into small pieces and sprinkle over the filling.
- Pre-heat your oven to 425°F.
- Remove the remaining ball of dough from the fridge. Roll it out until it is about half an inch to an inch wider than the plate. Roll the dough circle onto the rolling pin like before and transfer to the pie plate. Ease it on top of the filling. Roll the bottom crust over the top crust and squeeze to seal it. Trim excess crust if necessary and use a fork or knife or your fingers to flute the crust, if desired.
- Cover your pie’s crust in foil to prevent excess browning.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until the filling is visibly bubbling through the slits in the crust. Remove the foil at 35 minutes.
- Enjoy your creation. I hope it’s wonderful!