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Sunday, May 11, 2008

old school apple pie

apple pie

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things *ever* was spending time with my grandparents, who live on the Pee Dee River in rural North Carolina. They grew (and still do, although less volume) every fresh vegetable imaginable, and had all kinds of fruit trees right by the house - figs, peaches, pears, apples, etc. My Gramma and I would bake all kinds of cobblers and pies, which, looking back on it, probably planted the seed for my love of cooking. These days it's fun to impress A and his family (all from Pittsburgh) with recipes that aren't so common outside of the southeast -- recipes taught to me by my Gramma. One of A's favorites is this apple pie.

Grocery list: shortening, flour, salt, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, golden delicious apples (6 cups sliced -- about 5-7 apples depending on size).


The most authentic southern pie crust is simple, although it pains me every time I have to purchase shortening (crisco - yes, really). Cut up 3/4 cup of shortening into little pieces in a bowl, then add 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp salt.


Mix with a fork until the consistency is that of little clumps of dough. Add 1 T of ice water at a time, working with your hands, until you can form the dough into a ball (usually about 3-4 T of water). Knead until smooth, then split into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.


Next, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and make the filling. Peel and slice the apples to make 6 cups. Add 3/4 c brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and 3/4 cup flour, plus 1-2 T of cinnamon. Pour 2 T of melted butter over the mixture. Work the apple slices with your hands until they are coated with the filling.


To finish the crust, roll out the ball of dough on a floured surface until it's 2 inches wider than your pie pan on all sides. Place the dough into the pie pan and add the filling.


Roll out the top crust till it matches the shape/size of the pan, then transfer carefully to cover the pie. Work the bottom and top edges together, pressing around the perimeter of the pan.


Cut slits into the top so steam can escape; pat a few teaspoons of butter on the top and sprinkle with sugar. Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

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