Friday, November 18, 2011

Apple Pie

Miss El, my middle daughter, called me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be able to come to Wisconsin to see her and my oldest MS. R in their play. They live in a town of about 500 their school is a couple of miles from their home and serves several towns in the area. MS R has been active in her school's theater since they moved up there five years ago, her first roll was a table in Beauty and the Beast, but she quickly moved on to bigger and better rolls. When Miss El called she reminded me that she had a small roll in this one too, the play Jane Eyre A Musical Drama yes you read that right. MS R played Mrs. Fairfax the almost deaf matron of the home, she has a knack for stealing any scene she is in and did well. Miss El was the young Jane Eyre, from her talking I expected her to have a couple of minutes on stage she really was really the only character for the first 10 minutes of the show.

The town they live in (go figure) doesn't have a hotel so I stay in a nearby town, this time I had these luxury accommodations.*

Luxury Suite

complete with Spa

and a downright bacchanalian breakfast buffet
The drive from my hotel to their house is about a half an hour over undulating roads cutting through pine woods, small farms and a bevy of apple orchards. It was the right time of year so I wanted to stop and get some apples this trip and maybe a little fresh apple cider. On the suggestion of MS R I stopped a Sunrise Orchard to pick up a bag of Honeycrisps. If you aren't familiar with them they are a really rockin' good apple a little on the sweet side and have a great crisp texture. I bought maybe a little more than was prudent so it was time to make pie.

This year I am learning how to bake dammit! I enjoy baking, I love baked goods but breads have never been my thing the whole process is too precise for me. I have spoken about my love/hate/therapeutic relationship with well flour and basically all leveners anyway I can probably count on my fingers the number of times that I have made a pie I can count on one finger the number of times I made a crust, so I threw it all in there and made this little baby.

The Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
10 TBLS (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces I put mine in the freezer for about an hour
4 TBLS (about) ice water

The Filling
About 3 pounds of Honeycrisp apples peeled and cored, sliced thin
3/4 cup sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBLS all purpose flour
1 TBLS butter

For the crust
Whisk flour and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and shortening and rub in with fingertips until coarse meal forms try not to be like me and over work, for the love of god stop. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons water; toss until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if mixture is dry. Gather dough into ball; divide in half then flatten into disks about the size of . Wrap in plastic, chill at least 1 hour (can be made 1 day ahead). Keep refrigerated, Soften slightly at room temperature before using.

For the filling
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl mix apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Let stand until juices form, about 15 minutes then mix in flour... set aside.

Roll out 1 dough disk on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Place dough in prepared pie dish, spoon in filling, dot with butter. Roll out second dough disk to 13-inch round. Drape dough over filling. Seal top and bottom crust edges together; trim to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under then crimp. Brush pie with milk and sprinkle with a little with a little more sugar. Place pie pan on a baking sheet and place in oven. Reduce temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until crust is golden brown, apples are tender and filling is bubbling thickly, if it starts to get too brown around the edges cover with foil. This will bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool for at least an hour before you cut into it... I know it is hard but well worth the wait.

*I tease a little about the accommodations but I do have to admit that since I make these journeys alone and the only thing I do at the hotel is sleep I tend to find the least expensive place that I can. This hotel though lacking in luxuries is a clean place owned by a nice family.


  1. Well for the record your pie looks delicious!! I am impressed with your crust Bryan. I bet the girls loved that you were there.....awesome.

  2. It is never a sign of luxury when the hanging rack is not actually in a closet! But clean and friendly go a long way in my book. Quiet doesn't hurt either, and I suspect there was no roaring Interstate outside your window! Apple pie is on my menu this week....

  3. Lovely accommodations...but the pie, my dear, steals the show. What a treat! There is nothing like a homemade pie during this time of the year. Thank you for sharing with me...I hope you have a wonderful week full of feasting and family.

  4. I'm happy the play went well! Happy American Thanksgiving!

    As for your accomodations: tres chic!