Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Freedom Pies

I considered writing a rousing yet sappy blog on liberty and the corruption thereof, but I'm not sure I want to pollute this space with politics and the negativity it breeds. So instead, I'm posting a recipe for that quintessential American treat, apple pie! I think it will do your soul -and mine- a lot more good than an enraged rant! Plus, it will make you oh so popular at your Independence Day BBQs this weekend!

Whenever I bake, I Google, Google, Google until I can't take it anymore. Then I create my own recipe, blending the best together. The recipe below is one such little mezcla. My top 3 sources are cited at the bottom.

Also, in baking recipes they give you the ingredient measurements for this part and that part separately, which makes sense for when you start using them but doesn't help when the baby's crying, you're trying to get to the store, you don't know if you have enough flour (eggs, butter, etc.), and you're thinking "How damn many damn teaspoons are in a damn cup?! Aaahhh!". (Apparently, 48) For this reason I've included a master list of ingredient totals before the recipe. Specific ingredients lists are given before the instructions for the pertinent part of the recipe.

Finally, use your head. In so many recipes it specifies to use this or that particular pain-in-the-ass thing. I based this recipe on what I keep in the house. If you want to zest a lemon and/or and orange and/or go buy special chunky sugar to top your pie crust, that's your business. (Hopefully, if you do, it is your business, because if you're doing that for personal enjoyment you should probably just give that time and/or money to some starving African kids or homeless dogs or something.) But I didn't include it because I think it makes recipes overly complicated and not user friendly.

Freedom Pie

Yield: One 9” pie (8 servings)
Prep Time: 20 Minutes (plus time to refrigerate crust dough - 30 minutes minimum)
Bake Time: 50 minutes

For you health nuts, et. al., one website gives this nutrition information:
1 serving (1 piece) equals  
    414 calories
    16 g fat (7 g saturated fat)
    14 mg cholesterol
    227 mg sodium
    67 g carbohydrate 
    2 g fiber
    3 g protein

Total Ingredients:

1 egg
6-8 apples (or 3-4 lbs or 8 cups) (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Jonathan are commonly recommended. I used Fuji, FTW)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
14-18 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 7/8 sticks – 2 ¼ sticks)
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening (optional)
½ cup (6 to 8 tablespoons) ice water
1 tablespoon milk

 Crust Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup (6 to 8 tablespoons) ice water
choice of the below:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
(refrigerate dough 4 hours)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening

(refrigerate dough 30 minutes)


Crust and Baking Instructions: 

1. Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.
2. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor or large bowl.
3. Add the butter (and shortening, if desired) by pulsing 8 to 12 times (or use your fingers or two bread knives, cutting opposite ways) until the butter is the size of peas.
4. With the machine running (or your tired little hands still working) add the ice water until the dough begins to form a ball.
5. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball.
6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate as described above.
At this point you should either be moving on to the filling, going the f... to sleep, or doing some other likewise productive activity. After what is sure to feel like a million years for one eager to eat pie...
7. Sprinkle flour onto rolling surface.
    I. Tip: I used plastic wrap. That way cleanup was easy and I could just flip the dough into the pan instead of trying to peel it off and pick it up without tearing.
    II. Tip. You will need to constantly flour the rolling pin and dough, otherwise the dough will just tear off when you roll it.
8. Cut the dough in half.
9. Roll each piece into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. (Honestly, I didn't do this. Dough was too flimsy.)
     I. Tip: I needed to add more cold water at this point but I only used half the water when making the dough.
     II. Tip: Press rough edges back in to keep dough both from cracking and from becoming an irregular shape.
10. Place one circle in the pie pan, making sure it fits snugly, with about 1/2 inch overhanging the rim. (If it's too small, just put it back on the board and re-roll it. Don't stretch the dough!)
11. Add filling and dot with butter. (See below)
12. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere.  
13. Place second circle over top, folding the extra from the bottom crust and pinching together with your fingers or a fork.
14. Slice about 5 slits in the top.
15. Top with egg wash. (See below)
16. Sprinkle with sugar.
17. Bake that bitch. 
      I. 400° for about an hour, depending on your oven.
      II. Tip: It's ready when the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.
      III. Tip: To avoid excessive browning of crust edges, wrap in foil (just the edges, not the whole pie!) for the first 15-25 minutes of baking. In my experience, this is a bloody waste of time and tin foil, but it is consistently recommended in pie recipes. The recipe that recomended it this time says to bake at 375°.
      IV. Tip: If you're not down with foil, you could try baking at 425° for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350° for about 40 minutes.
      V. I baked at 400° for the first 20 minutes and 375° for a further 40 minutes and it came out perfectly.
18. Cool it, bro. On a wire rack, that is.
I somehow wound up with a bunch of extra dough. Eoin gave me the idea to roll it out and bake that too. I had plenty of egg wash left over, so I threw that on there with some sugar and cinnamon and it was pretty good. Obviously, you only put that in for a couple minutes.


Filling Ingredients:

6-8 apples (or 3-4 lbs or 8 cups) (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Jonathan are commonly recommended. I used Fuji, FTW.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter 

Filling Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, combine sugars, salt, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.
2. Cut each apple into quarters.
    II Tip: Find a comfy chair.
    I. Tip: Peel the apple before you cut it, with a potato peeler instead of a knife, using diagonal strokes.
3. Cut each quarter in thirds, crosswise. (I thought the pieces could have been a little smaller, honestly, but it might have affected cook time, and it turned out fine anyway.)
4. In a large bowl, toss the sliced apples with lemon juice.(Seriously, large means HUGE!)
5. Add the sugar, spice, and everything nice mixture and toss to coat. (I always make a mess on this step. For less mess, you can use a large tupperware container with the lid on. If your bowls fit together right, you might be able to shake between them. Or just make a mess, whatevs.)

Topping Ingredients: 

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon sugar


Topping Instructions: 

1. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk until foamy.
2. That's it. There's only one step. The sugar is for sprinkling overtop, not for beating with the egg wash. You're done. Move on already.

Don't forget the vanilla ice cream!