I have a weird thing with recipes… Some of them are meant to be shared with others so that more people can enjoy the goodness.   If I got the recipe from someone other than family, a cookbook, or the internet, I’m totally cool with giving it out.  Others- I’m trying to become more generous.  I have some ‘family favourites’ that I just can’t let go of.  There are also some that I’ve created myself (or I’ve altered an existing recipe enough that I consider it mine) that I have issues with giving it away.
One such recipe that I am hesitant to release is my apple pie recipe.  The crust is my grandma’s, and the filling is my own creation.  Although I’m not at the point of being nice enough to give it out, I do have some pie tips that I’m cool with sharing ;)
Crust:
  • Go for shortening.  I know there are some recipes out there for healthier ones with oil and all- but I figure if you’re going to eat pie, just make it right and awful for you and enjoy it.  I consider myself quite health conscious with other things- but I can’t bring myself to sacrifice pie.
  • Use cold water.
  • The key to a flaky crust is handling it as little as possible.  Use a pasty blender if you have one, or just use a knife.  What you want to do is put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then cut (literally, if you’re using a knife) your shortening into it.  You want it to look like grains of rice (or a little bigger). THEN you add your wet stuff and keep cutting it in. Never ever use a mixer or knead it.
  • Silicon or non-stick plastic mats are the bomb.  I got mine at Michael’s in the cake making section.  It’s a lot easier to get your crust into the pan, thus less breakage, thus less having to handle the dough. (wax paper also works ok)
  • I prefer a lattice top. Having a full cover if just way too much crust for my taste.
  • Pyrex dishes are best, because they will heat more evenly than disposable or metal ones.
  • I realize the following picture looks like chicken or fish sticks- but it’s actually the extra crust from the pie. You just roll it out and put it on a cookie sheet, brush a little butter on it, and sprinkle on some spices and sugar and bake it. Yum!
Filling:
  • Be generous with spices. A lot of recipes call for just a bit of cinnamon. I use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sometimes ginger- and a lot more than most recipes say.
  • Add brown and white sugar and butter. Like a said, if you’re going to have pie, don’t worry about calories- just do it right.
  • Feel free to add something other than apples.  Today I have extra crust from making quiche, and only two apple, so I added pears to make a pear and apple pie. It was delish. Other good ones I’ve done are mixed berry/apple and peach/apple.  I also really want to try cheese/apple sometime.  Trust me- cheese and apple is AWESOME together. Go eat an apple and some slices of cheese together. You’ll thank me. Apple/cheese quesadillas are also fantastic. 
  • Apple type matters! Janagold is my favourite for flavour, but they suck to peel. Granny Smith mixed with Fuji are also a good combination. 
Now, poll time- what’s your favourite pie? Post in the comments!

PS: Fun story. I used to work at Peavey Mart, and one time I was at the cash register while these two kids (maybe ten?) were standing behind me looking at a hunting display.
Kid 1: “I wish I had a hunting knife. That would be awesome”
Kid 2: “Why would you want a hunting knife? You couldn’t even hunt a pie!”
I was cracking up. The customer I was helping thought I was crazy.
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