Mom came to visit this weekend and brought in her little suitcase a box of lard, a bag of apples and a dash of family fun! Golly it was a time.
My mom has made this pie about two hundred times, so I decided to soak in an extra pastry tutorial with my camera while she did all the work. Plus, this pie is a hot prize. I don’t usually post recipes that I haven’t actually made myself, but she my mom. She can be my proxy.
SHE MY MOM
for the pastry:
- 3/4 cup lard
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 4-5 tbsp ice cold water
for the filling:
- 5-6 granny smith apples (or any bitter apple)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)
- 3 teaspoons butter
for the top:
- splash of cream
- sprinkling of sugar
Preheat the oven to 425°F (or 415 if your pie pan is glass).
Peel the apples. Hopefully you have an apple peelerbut if not, you’ll have to pare them then slice them by hand. I had to do this and I hated it.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon. You can add more or less if you want, but this is a good amount. There’s a good cinnamon flavour but it’s not too spice-y. My mom has made this pie so many times and no one has ever said “HEY WHOA DIAL BACK THE CINNAMON”. They were too busy fork-pecking the pastry.
Stir the dough with your hand until it has absorbed all the water. BUT BE GENTLE and handle it as little as possible. An overworked dough will be tough when baked. If it feels too dry to roll out, add a bit more water a few drops at a time until pliable.
When the dough is formed, split it in two. One half for the bottom of the pie, and one half for the top.
Plop one half of the dough out onto a well floured surface (your counter, your table, the hood of your car, I don’t care) and gently roll out to the size of your pie pan. You can do this evenly by rolling your dough, then rotating it clockwise, rolling again, then turning it, and so on until it’s the right size. You should make sure to lift it a bit as you turn it to make sure it’s not sticking to the counter.
Now you’ll press the dough gently into the sides of the pan, pinching off any excess dough. You still want the dough to reach to the edge of the pan, so that we can seal it to the top of the pie later.
Dump your sugary apples into the pie bottom.
Dot the filling randomly with the teaspoons of butter. They don’t even have to be measured, you just want little blobs of butter. This will create a nice syrup inside the pie so that the filling is moist and gooey. De-lish-e-o-ci-ty.
(You’re probably wondering why the pie top is already on. Ignore that – I’ll explain later!)
Then sprinkle some flour on top. This helps to thicken the filling.
Lift that flap of dough back onto your palm like so…
Now we’re gonna do a cream wash (cream wash???) This will help turn the pastry its beautiful golden brown. It’s like a cereal box photo…
Brush onto the pie, then sprinkle evenly with white sugar.
Now use a sharp knife to cut vents into your pie. You need holes to allow the hot air to escape. Cut them in the shape of pretty little flowers, or write expletives in there when your mom isn’t looking (unfortunately my mom was looking at all times).
Next step: fluting the crust. This is where we make the crust look “not crappy”. Press the index finger of one hand between your index finger and thumb of the other hand to bend the dough around your finger. Is that confusing? Look at the picture again.
Here she is putting it into the oven.
Me: “Cleav shot!”
Bake at 425°F for about 10 minutes, or until the pie is a nice golden brown. Then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 40-50 more minutes until the apples are soft. (You can test this by gently stabbing a knife through one of the vent holes.)
I know there are already so many pictures but just look…………
You should let it cool for about 15 minutes before you cut into it or the filling is just going to run everywhere. But there is no “pie police”. I’m not gonna tell you what to do.
Look at those PASTRY LAYERS
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