Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grandma's Homemade Apple Pie

Okay, so it's not my Grandma's Apple Pie, but it could totally be someone's Grandma's Homemade Apple Pie. It's just that good!

Let's talk about the dough first. This pie dough recipe is an awesome recipe from the pros at Cook's Illustrated. The secret ingredient is vodka. It allows the dough to be super malleable to roll out while still maintaining a buttery and flakey texture. The vodka cooks off and the steam from the evaporating vodka is what makes the pie crust so flakey. I don't drink a whole lot of vodka (mores the pity), but the little 50ml bottles they sell at the checkout counter of your local liquor store is just enough for this recipe.

Who am I kidding? It's Thanksgiving. You've got family coming into town. Your sister's going to be telling you how her kids never throw temper tantrums. You love her and her kids, but who needs that kind of pressure? Your dad is going to be pointing out every parenting mistake you are making. You better go back for the big bottle, maybe two. It'll get you through the day and will help you keep your mouth shut as the family drama plays out.

For a nine inch double pie crust:

2 1/2c flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
12 Tbsp butter
1/2c shortening
1/4c vodka
1/4c water

Combine 1 1/2c of the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and shortening. Cut ingredients together until dough starts to collect in uneven clumps. Cut in the remaining flour. Sprinkle water and vodka over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix until the dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide the dough into two balls. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes. You can store the dough for up to two days.

While the dough chills make the filling:

6c apples; cored, peeled, and sliced (about 7 depending on their size)
2T tapioca
1/2 to 3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

How much sugar you use depends on personal taste and the type of apple you use. I use Braeburn apples and a little more than 1/2c sugar. If you use a tart apple like Granny Smith; you may need closer to 3/4c of sugar.

Mix the dry ingredients and add the apples. Mix well. Sprinkle some flour on your kitchen counter and roll out the crust. Put the crust in a 9 inch pie plate. Add filling. Put a few dollops of butter on the apple filling. Add the top crust. Cut a few X's on the top crust to let the pie vent while it cooks. Refrigerate the pie for about 15 minutes. Brush the top of your pie with water and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 450˚F for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350˚F for 20 minutes. Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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