Friday, October 18

Grandpa French's Famous Apple Pie

I'm naming this after my Grandpa French because it was his recipe and it's amazing in all its simplicity.

Pie Filling
6-7 peeled apples (I prefer Jonathan apples)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg (I do mostly cinnamon and a few dashes of nutmeg)
3/4 cup sugar

Wash the apples, then peel them. Slice them into bite-size pieces (you can cut them into ice-cube shapes or, if you have a fancy spiral peeler like my mom, you can cut them into flat pieces. Mix well with sugar and cinnamon/nutmeg and let sit while making the pie crusts. (The flavor will soak into the apples the longer it sits).

Pie Crust Recipe (made twice--first for the bottom crust, then for the top crust. Doubling doesn't seem to work as well for me)
1 stick salted butter (softened--not melted--maybe stick in the microwave for 10 or 15 seconds if it's really solid)
3 Tbsp shortening (I use Crisco)
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
3-5 Tbsp cold water (start with 3, add more as needed)

Mix the first three ingredients together--well--before gradually adding in the flour. Mix well until the pieces are blended. Start with 3 Tbsps of cold water and mix (you will want to remove your rings and knead by hand eventually) until blended. You may need a little more water, but try blending everything before you add any.
Once the dough is blended into a ball, remove from the bowl and place on a floured, flexible cutting board (my mom uses saran wrap laid onto the counter). Note: Know that you need to roll it out onto something that bends so that it's easier to flip the first rolled out crust into the pie dish for the bottom of the pie, and the second crust onto the filling for the top. Flatten the dough with your hands the best you can before using a rolling pin. Make sure you flour the rolling pin so the dough doesn't stick.
Note: this is not my picture and the pie crust should NOT have visible chunks of butter. Blend more if that is the case.
This is my picture, excuse the blurriness.
When you have rolled out the dough to a circumference greater than that of the pie dish, carefully (lifting the flexible cutting board or saran wrap) flip the bottom crust into the dish. You'll want to be careful to aim well the first time so that the dough covers the entire inside of the dish or you'll have to start over. My cutting board is very flat and bends like paper so it is really easy for me to maneuver the crust over the dish. If the dough doesn't look perfect, just remember it's the bottom of the pie so no one will see it anyway.
You do not need to grease the dish because the dough already has plenty of butter and shortening in it. Gently smooth the bottom crust out, then, using a knife, cut around the pie dish so that the extra dough hanging over falls off. You don't need that dough.

Add your filling to the pie dish and smooth the top with a spatula so the top pie crust won't be so lumpy.
Make the second pie crust and take your time because the appearance of this one matters a little more than the bottom one did.

Take extra care when you place the rolled out pie crust on the filling this time because it's not as easy to re-do once it has touched the filling. Once in place, cut off the excess dough and pinch around the edge of the dish, sealing the pie shut. There are a number of ways you can do this. I just pinch it all the way around.
Cut some slits in the crust (otherwise your pie crust just might explode while baking ;). Then you bake the pie at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes (check after 30--in my oven, it's done by then). When you're done, it should look something like this!

Let cool for at least five minutes before eating! Enjoy hot (or warm) with vanilla ice cream! Yum!

Let me know if you try this recipe and how it turns out for you!

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