Monday, September 22, 2008

A Long, Crusty Story (yawn!)

Oh my, pie!

Our apple tree is overflowing this year. Last year we didn't get any apples. I mean, not even one! This year it is insane how many there are. And they are good! Juicy, crisp, a bit tart. They are good to crunch into, the are good to bake with.

On Saturday, Nora, Dana and I hauled the step ladder out to the tree and we picked as many apples as we could reach. Unfortunately, we need a 30-foot extension ladder to reach most of them, but we managed to get enough for two pies.

It was sort of a disaster, I have to say. I decided to try a new crust recipe. I know-why mess with a good thing? Believe me-I learned my lesson. It was such a disaster! We made enough crust for two double crust pies, chilled them thoroughly, and went to roll them out. They rolled out fine, but they were so incredibly fragile that they basically disintegrated when I tried to put them in the pie plates. Nora and I tried a dozen times to get them to work. We added water, we added flour, we chilled the crust longer, we chilled the pie plates...After searching online, I finally learned that a pie should have a 3-2-1 ratio of flour-fat-liquid. My trial crust was WAY out of whack. WAY too much fat. Like 50% too much.

So in the morning, I got out the trusty recipe handed down from my lovely mother in law. And, of course, it was perfect. It mixed perfectly, rolled out perfectly, held together perfectly and got countless compliments. My mom told me she normally doesn't like crust but this one was yummy. Why oh why did I put myself through that frustration when I had a tried and true recipe? Heck, you don't even have to chill it, it is so good.

I like to just roll out my crust on the counter. This is after rolling out four crusts-kinda thick in some spots, huh.

After our Saturday night crust debacle, I learned to not prepare the filling until the bottom crusts are in the pie plates ready to be filled. See that giant pile of peels? I peeled 26 little apples from our century old tree. Nora helped slice them (with a child safe knife, not the one pictured!) and we mixed lemon juice in so they wouldn't brown. I feel like home grown apples brown really quickly. The filling was really tasty even unbaked! Nora snitched several sliced apples covered in cinnamon and sugar. I never thought of that for a snack, but now I know.

The finished product. Isn't it almost too pretty to eat? Maybe not. But I think it turned out really well considering the path we took to get there. We brought one pie to Sunday dinner and came home with an empty plate. The second pie is half gone, which is cool because tomorrow I am going to haul the 30-footer out to the tree and get to work.

The one good lesson I learned from my crust mistake was that my food processor mixes up pie crust with absolutely no hassle. The reason I rarely bake pie is that I hate mixing up the crust. I just don't get any enjoyment out of using a pastry blender, and I have a really nice one. Now that I can use my food processor, I am all about pies. The good thing about that is I don't really like pie. I mean, I don't really like to eat it. It isn't my favorite. That pie would still be uncut if Nora hadn't eyed it the second she got off the school bus today. But really, there are much worse snacks than fruit pie. With thirteen apples per pie, you are bound to eat an entire apple without even realizing it. Yay pie! Yay fall!

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