A 3 pound bag of Macintosh apples was calling my name late on a Saturday night. I pulled out my recipe box and realized in a frantic panic that I had “Gram’s stir and roll pie crust” but did not have the recipe for “Gram’s apple pie.” I’ve watched my grandmother make it nearly every time I’ve gone to visit and I’ve watched my mother make it numerous times. Despite this extensive firsthand experience with how to make the magic happen, I’d forgotten half the important details. I couldn’t recall if it was only brown sugar that was used, and how much, and precisely how long and at what temperature the pie should be baked.
Fearful that it may already be too late to salvage my plans to make pie that night, I called my mother. She sounded groggy (it was midnight after all) but she fortunately had enough wits about her to tell me all the important details. I’m sure I’ve called for this pie recipe several times before. This time I’ve written it down.
Apple pie is one of those recipes that takes longer to type out the break down 0f the steps involved in assembly than it takes to make. My recipe says: “cinnamon, br sug 1/2c-1c, let sit a while, lil flour if soupy, 400 degrees, 45m-1h, pan under for drippings.” This was the boiled down essence of my conversation with my mother and I know precisely what this means. Unfortunately it does not translate well to others. D would chide the fact that “apples” are not listed. I’d argue it’s an apple pie, of course there are apples so there’s no need to write it in (just like my hummus recipe does not list chick peas). How many apples? It’s also irrelevant to list exactly since it is as many as you need to over stuff your pie shell, which is equal to an eyeballed guess while filling a bowl as to how many you think you can squeeze in there before you’ll have problems.
- pie crust (See previous post for easy stir and roll crust recipe)
- 2 1/2 to 3 lbs of apples (equal to roughly 8-10 apples)
- 1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 to 2 tbsp flour
- Peel the apples and slice into bite size chunks into a large bowl.
- Add the brown sugar to the apples and stir well.
- Add the cinnamon to the apples and stir well.
- Let the apples sit for at least half an hour and up to several hours, stewing in the cinnamon, sugar, and their own juices. This is what makes the pie extra yum!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare your pie crust (this will depend on the type of crust you’re using). Frozen crusts work in a pinch, but nothing beats the taste of homemade. A decadent butter crust would be awesome, but the easy stir and roll recipe from my previous post is a good standby, no frills, “I want pie now” type crust.
- With the stir and roll: mix all the ingredients together. Use your hands to press the dough together and ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed and incorporated. Squish it into a ball and cut it in half with a knife.
- Flatten 1/2 the dough into a hockey puck disk between two sheets of wax paper. Roll out the dough until it is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pie dish.
- Remove the wax paper from one side of the dough, slide your hand underneath the other sheet of wax paper and plop the rolled dough into the pie dish. Remove the other sheet of wax paper from the top of the dough.
- Using the tines of a fork, poke holes around the bottom and sides of the bottom pie crust.
- Check the apple mixture. Give it a good stir to see how much soupy liquid has accumulated. Stir a tablespoon or two of flour into the apple mixture if it’s soupy.
- Pour the apples into the waiting pie crust, mounding them towards the center.
- Roll out the other half of the pie crust as before. Plop it on top of the pie. Cut off any excess that overhangs the sides. Use your hands to pinch the top crust to the bottom crust, then go around the perimeter with a fork, pressing the crusts together. Cut some air vents in the top of the pie.
- Place in the oven, with an empty baking pan underneath to catch any drippings.
- Cook at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to 1 hour until the top is beautifully browned, the mixture is good and bubbly and the apples are tender.