For the dough:
• The Food Processor Method: Place the flour, salt and sugar into an electronic food processor and mix for a few seconds. Add the butter and mix once again for about 10 seconds, until the mixture becomes coarse and crumby in texture. With the machine running, pour in the ice water one tablespoon as a time, until the dough starts forming a ball. Do not process the ingredients for more than 30 seconds at a stretch or pour in all of the ice water at once as this will result in a sticky dough.
• The Manual Method: If you don’t have a food processor, simply sift the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir them together using a fork. Add in the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a crumbly paste. Once again, pour in the ice water one tablespoon at a time and use two butter knives to cut through the flour until it can be made into a smooth ball.
• Once the dough is ready, divide it into two halves, one larger than the other.
• Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten it to form a disc.
• Wrap the discs up and refrigerate for at least an hour.
• Preheat oven to 300o Celsius.
• Retrieve the prepared dough from the refrigerator. If it is too stiff and cold, set it aside until it is cool but malleable.
• Roll the larger dough disc onto a lightly-floured surface (e.g. a marble countertop) and into a flat 14-inch circle.
• Using the rolling pin transfer the dough on to a nine-inch, deep dish pie pan and gently press the sides of the pan, leaving the rest to hang.
• Once the dough has been set onto the pan, trim the sides so that it lays about ½an inch beyond the edges.
• Refrigerate the pan for about 10 minutes, while preparing the apple filling.
For the pie filling:
• Peel, core and cut the apple into 1/2 inch slices, making about eight cups of apples.
• Toss the apples with ¾a cup of sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon.
• Turn the fruit mixture, juices included, into the chilled dough shell and mound the centre.
For the complete pie:
• Once the mixture is on the bottom dough shell, roll the small disc onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten it with a rolling pin. Place the smaller shell on top of the fruit mixture.
• Fold the bottom layer of the dough over the top layer and press it shut to form a seal. You may trim any extra dough if required.
• Flatten the edges with your thumb or press them with a fork to seal the pie and give it a decorative edge.
• Pierce the top of the pie with a fork to allow steam to escape. You may also cut four slits at right angles.
• Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar over it.
• Bake the pie for about 25 minutes, until the top crust becomes golden in colour. Once the top is done, reduce the oven’s temperature to 180oC and continue baking for another 30 to 35 minutes, until the juices begin to bubble through the slits on the top. By this time, the top crust should be a deep, golden-brown.
• Retrieve the pie from the oven and place it on a wire rack for an hour. The filling continues to thicken even after the pie has been taken out and if cut immediately, it will become too liquid.
• Once the pie has cooled, cut it into triangular slices and serve it warm with vanilla ice-cream.
Add the Christmas spirit to your pie!
These creative decoration ideas will make your apple pie fun, festive and ready for Christmas:
• Leftover pie dough can be cut into holiday shapes like Christmas trees, berries, reindeers and even snowflakes. Decorate them using food colour and glue them onto the crust of the pie using egg wash.
• Cookie cutters can be used to make small, individual apple pies. Cut out a Christmas tree from the dough discs, drop some filling into the centre and top it with pastry. Bake the pie, adjusting the baking time accordingly.
• You can also wrap your pie with red and green ribbons or bows and send them over to friends and family as keepsakes.
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, December 21st, 2014.
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