Fall is Apple Season! Of course, we are going to make Pies. Why not Apple Pie with a Dutch Crunch.
One of the things about having a food blog is that we spend a lot of time cooking. But just like filming for a movie, things don't always go as planned.
We have a fair amount of out-takes. Sometimes we're just off our game. Sometimes the light doesn't want to cooperate for the photo...or we just can't get that perfect photo for whatever reason. Or, we get to laughing too hard and screw something up simply by not paying attention to the details.
The key to a good pie is a good crust.
The story behind this pie crust...
A few years ago before I started the blog, some of my friends talked me into to doing a cooking school party at my house. They knew that I love to cook. They also knew that I have a fantastic herb garden; and in addition, I had just had my kitchen remodeled. It sounded like fun. So we did it!
The theme was Pumpkin Cooking School. We make Pumpkin Ravioli with a Walnut Cream Sauce for dinner. We also whipped up a batch of my Pumpkin Spice Soup and then finished the evening with some Pumpkin Pie.
Because it was 'school'...and I'm a scientist that used to be a teacher that can tend towards being a complete overachiever...I decided to run an experiment with pie crust as part of this event! I made the two different crust recipes that I had in my arsenal.
I made my Butter Crust, and my Basic Buttermilk Crust.
I made one batch of each night before the cooking school to allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight. Then on the day of the cooking school, we made a fresh batch of each. Sometimes baking recipes call for resting a dough overnight. I wanted to see if this step really mattered.
We discovered that letting the dough rest overnight in the fridge really did yield a flakier crust. In addition, we all felt that the Basic Buttermilk Pie Crust had the best flavor and flakiness.
Pro Tip: The trick to making perfect pie crust is to have the butter as cold as possible. I find that using the blade attachment on my food processor makes it super easy to incorporate the butter without warming it too much in the process. I put the flour, salt, and sugar in the food processor then add the butter. I let it spin until I get a sand-like texture. For the last step, with the machine running, add cold buttermilk. Let the food processor run just until the mixture comes together into a ball. Then just dump it out. Knead it slightly - if needed. Wrap the ball in plastic and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Classic Apple Pie
Pie Crust (Traditional, non-Buttermilk)
- Pulse the flour and salt together in a food processor with a steel blade. Add the cold cubed butter. Pulse in short 3-5 second intervals until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal sand. [If you do not have a food processor you can also cut the ingredients together in a bowl using two knives or a dough cutter.)
- Transfer mixture into a medium bowl. Sprinkle 4 tbsp of ice water over the mixture. Fold in the water until the dough begins to come together. Add more water if needed.
- Form the dough into two balls. Flatten each into a 4-6" wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 days).
- Let the dough sit at room temp for 30-40 minutes before rolling it out.
- OPTIONAL: Pre-bake bottom half of the pie shell. Cover the top of the dough with foil, press the foil to fit tightly. Fill the pie shell (over the foil) with dry beans, pasta or ceramic weights. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights. Continue to bake for an additional 9 minutes.
Apple Pie Filling
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Peel, core and cut apples into 1/2" slices.
- Toss apples with sugar, lemon juice and zest, salt and spices.
- Turn fruit mixture into prepared pie shell.
- Roll out dough for the top. Place on top of fruit. Crimp edges. Prick the top or cut in a few slices to vent.
- Bake until crust is golden brown - about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees continue baking for another 30-35 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the crust a deep brown.
- If possible, cool to room temperature before serving.