Easy as Apple Pie

I cannot believe Thanksgiving will be here in less than one week!  I am so excited to see my family- I actually get to see my family for Thanksgiving!  I am excited also to cook and bake with my mom again- we haven’t been together for a Thanksgiving in at least 3 years!

This past week, I made an Apple Pie for my husband’s boss- he let Chris come go to my Grandmother’s funeral without the usual red tape and flaming hoops to get through.  So, as a thank you for being so understanding, I offered to bake him something- and he requested a fruit pie.  Therefore, I opted for seasonally-appropriate apple.

I love apple pie, but I haven’t made it in years.  I don’t even need a recipe- I have used the same pie crust recipe for all my pies, and I still remember the ingredients from when we made apple pies in Girl Scouts- I think I may have been about 10 years old- but that was the first apple pie I remember making.  Since then, I have made a few upgrades to my recipe.

Here’s my basic pie crust recipe; it takes the guesswork out of a homemade pie crust!  It’s very easy, and if you need a fabulous pie crust, it’s a go-to.  Here’s why: The hot water melts the fat, resulting in an impossibly smooth crust.  However, it would result in a dense crust if not for the vodka(yes, you read right); the alcohol bakes out, but it leaves lots of tiny pockets in the crust, which equate to a light, flaky crust without lumps.  Trust me, it is so worth it!

Hot-Water Pie Crust
(makes 2 crusts)

1/2 c. shortening (can be coconut oil or butter)
1/2 c. hot, hot water

1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla vodka

3 c. flour (if you want to do whole wheat- use only whole wheat pastry flour)

Measure the shortening into a medium sized bowl and add the hot water.  Stir until all of the shortening dissolves.  Add salt and sugar.  Stir in the vodka. Gradually stir in the flour; the dough should not be sticky or dry (you may have to adjust the amount of flour).

Divide the dough in half.  On a floured surface, roll the dough out to less than 1/4″ thick, and place in a pie plate (I like deep dish pie plates, personally).  Fill with desired filling, then roll the other dough half out to less than 1/4″ and top the pie.  Trim the edges, and press the tines of a fork onto the edges to seal.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 – 50 minutes, or depending on filling recipe.

Brown Sugar Apple Pie with Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Pie Crust
(makes 1 pie)

1 recipe Hot Water Pie Crust
2 tsp. cinnamon
*substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar

Follow the recipe for Hot Water Pie Crust, with following changes: Add cinnamon and substituted brown sugar before the flour, then follow the recipe as usual.  Roll out the dough as directed and place in greased pie dish; preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5-6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cardamom
pinch salt
1/3 c. flour
2 Tbsp. butter, sliced
1 egg, beaten
demerara or raw cane sugar

In a large bowl, place apples; stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, cardamom, and salt.  Let it sit while you roll out the other half of the dough (somehow this allows the flavors to marry).  Add the flour to the apple mixture; stir well.  Spoon all of the filling into the pie shell, even the extra flour.  Dot with butter.

Place other pie crust over filling; trim edges.  Finish the edges in your desired method (pressing the fork tines to seal the edges might be one of the easier ways).  Taking a knife, slice 4 -5 small vents in the top of the crust.

Brush the beaten egg over the top of the crust & sprinkle cinnamon and demerara sugar over egg wash.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 – 50 minutes.  Let cool 30 minutes – 2 hours before cutting.

*Serve with Whipped Cream, Ice cream, or Sprinkles of Cinnamon.

Just in case you need any other Thanksgiving recipes, this one isn’t a bad one!  🙂

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