Nicola's Grandmother's Apple Pie
- 5 or 6 apples for 9-inch pie, 6-7 for 10-inch. I generally use Mackintosh, but I used Pink Lady for the pie I made here.
- About 1/3 or ½ cup brown sugar
- About 1-2 tsp cinnamon
- About 1-2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 cups flour (white flour is much easier to work with – if you want to use whole wheat, I would only use ratio of ¼ WW: ¾ white)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup shortening (kind of gross, I know)
- ½ tsp salt
- About 1/8 cup water (1 oz)
- 1 egg
(This is enough for top and bottom of either a 9 or 10 inch pie. Either way you will have some pastry left over. 9 inch is easier)
1) Clean pie plate.
2) Peel and slice apples. I like to cut my apples really thin so they cook well.
3) Preheat oven to 375F.
4) Clear a large work space on the counter and dust it very generously with flour. It’s easier to do this ahead of time when your hands are still clean. You might also want to measure the water out beforehand.
5) Measure flour, baking powder, shortening, and salt into medium bowl. With your hands, crumble together to combine, but try to handle minimally. Give the bowl a couple of shakes. The mixture should mostly resemble coarse crumbs.
6) Add water and knead dough minimally to form a shaggy ball. You may need to add a bit more water, but it’s better to have your dough too dry than too wet.
7) Divide dough in half and place the bigger half on the floured work surface. Using a generously floured rolling pin, roll into a circle big enough to cover the bottom and sides of the plate. Fold the dough over halfway and then halfway again to make a quarter circle. If the dough sticks to the counter or falls apart at this stage, you’re probably better off rolling it out again than trying to patch it up.
8) Place the folded dough over the appropriate quarter of the pie plate and unfold it. You may need to do some patching at this stage. With a fork or your index fingers (I use my fingers), press the dough down around the rim of the plate to make it stick. Using a knife, slice off the extra dough (using a sawing motion) and place it back in the bowl.
9) Put the apples in the crust. I like to break up the bits that are sticking together, in the hopes that this will help it cook more evenly. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The measurements here are just rough guidelines – I just like to have an even coat of brown sugar over the apples, and you should take into account the sweetness of the apple variety you use. Likewise, I just take a couple of pinches of the spices and sprinkle them till it looks fairly even. I’m not sure if my measurement approximations are very accurate.
10) Repeat rolling step for top crust. Keep in mind that it’s harder to patch the top, so try your best not to have any cracks. It might be easier to roll it out, scrunch it back up into a ball, and roll it again, which makes the dough more pliable. Again, press down the edge and cut off the excess dough.
11) If you like, roll out the excess dough and cut into little decorative bits. I generally just do the leaves with a knob in the center, but you can get fancier if you like. Mostly, this is a way of using up the extra pastry and covering your mistakes.
12) Cut a couple of air holes at the top of the pie.
13) Beat an egg and brush on to the pie (I don’t add any water or milk. I think for pie crusts, it’s better not to water it down.)
14) Stick it in the oven! For apple pie, you probably don’t need a tray underneath, but I like to do it anyway. It’s supposed to bake for about 30 minutes, but I like to leave it in for more like an hour, so that the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles. That way the filling is better cooked. You may want to turn the pie periodically so it browns more evenly.