Apple pie, and it feels like home

A few years ago, or in December 1997 to be more specific, I was an M.A student, sharing a tiny two bedroom apartment with a roommate, working 2-4 temp jobs at a time, studying whenever I could (a.k.a when I did not work or party), and eating giant size salads for “linner” – I made that up just now. That is the meal you eat when it’s too late for lunch but too early for dinner but you’re starving. Sort of like brunch but later in the day, you know. I loved that life. I never felt so free before.

I wasn’t much of a baker those days. I didn’t have the time nor did I own any measuring cups or spoons which usually ended my baking attempts with a so-so result or even worse, failure! I do encourage you to own some of these.

One weekend I baked my first apple pie. It was a recipe I clipped out of a newspaper (this is how I know what year it was) and still have the original in my recipes collection to this day. My mother came to visit me and as it turned out, it was her birthday, but I completely forgot! (This is how I remember the month.) Oops.

Luckily, I had a hot apple pie baking in the oven. I could have pretended to be pretending that I have not forgotten about her birthday and act as if in fact I did remember it, but I had no gift to give her to back me up. And also, I’m a terrible liar so I didn’t even try and immediately confessed that I just plain forgot.

But at least I had a home-made from scratch warm out of the oven apple pie… And vanilla ice cream…

One year ago: A simply delicious fall stew, Grilling in the rain balsamic marinated lamb, Black Forest Chocolate Roulade (using leftovers egg whites), Roasted Acorn squash, Improvising dinner

This is the only apple pie recipe I have used ever since. I’m happy with it. On the rare occasions that I bake with fruits (Crostata with Summer Fruit, Cranberry Cake), I usually make something with apples and this recipe is there in the thinnest folder in my fat dessert recipes binder. It’s a good way to use fruit that is old or doesn’t taste its best.

What’s your favorite apple pie recipe?

Home-made apple pie

For a 9-inch pie pan

A few notes: If you like a heaping pile of apples in your pie, use 6 apples. I used only 5 and it was just fine for me. Also, I used thick Greek yogurt (that’s what I had if the fridge) and added 1 tablespoon of water to add moisture the the dough. If you use regular yogurt which is thinner and more liquidy you probably won’t have to do this.

For the dough :

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) self-rising flour*
  • 14 tablespoons (200 grams) unsalted butter, cubed, cold pinch salt
  • 7 oz. (200 grams) plain/goat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the filling :

  • 5-6 medium Granny apples, peeled and large diced
  • 2/3 cup (or 2 tablespoons less) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons (20 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

For the egg wash :

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt and a splash of water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (I used raw sugar)
  • all-purpose/self-rising flour for dusting the pan plus rolling the dough

To make the dough ;

In a food processor pulse the flour, salt, and butter a few times until you get big crumbs. Add the sugar and yogurt and pulse just until the dough comes together into a ball. Remove from the food processor bowl, work the dough into a disk, and refrigerate at least one hour (I made it a day ahead).

To make the filling ;

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, almond extract, cook for about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Preheat the oven to 360 F degrees (180 C). Grease a pie pan with butter and dust with flour.

Divide the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 disks. Roll the bigger one on a lightly floured surface to a size that will cover the bottom and the edges of the pie pan. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer into the pan. Open it and arrange the dough in the pan without stretching it.

Pile the apples on top without any syrup that you might have in the skillet (so the pie dough won’t be too soggy).

Roll the smaller dough into a size that would fit the top of the pan. Roll it around the rolling pin and transfer to the pie on top of the apples.

Pinch the two dough together to “close” the pie, cut the excess, at this point you can decorate if you’re into it. Cut a few openings in the top to release steam, brush with egg wash and sprinkle some sugar.

Bake for 40 minutes at 360 F (180 C), lower the heat to 350 F (175 C) and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes while you scoop your vanilla ice cream into serving bowls.

More about this photo in the next Food Photography post.

* To substitute 1 cup self-rising flour, use 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoons salt


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