Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Locavore Kitchen: Peace of Pie

Baking a pie is a form of meditation for me. It's a long process...mixing the dough, chilling it, rolling it out, forming the crust, chilling the dough again, preparing the filling, filling the crust, sometimes adding a top crust or even a lattice, baking the pie, allowing it to cool. There are ingredients to be precisely measured, special tools to be used, and lots of steps to carefully follow.

When I'm baking a pie, there isn't much time to think of anything dwelling on ways I accidentally embarrassed myself earlier in the day, no fretting about the uncertainties of the future. All I can focus on is my two hands, applying pressure to my rolling pin, fluting the edge of the crust, peeling apples in one long strip, cutting butter into flour.

Perhaps the most delightful thing about pies is that there are so many amazing things that can be made into a pie...fluffy eggs with cheese in quiche, chunky vegetables in pot pies, berries and stone fruits and apples, puddings and custards and meringues. Sometimes I imagine how calm and peaceful I would be if I made pies for every meal.

I've been waiting anxiously for strawberry season to begin to make my first fruit pie of the Spring. Today I decided that I couldn't wait any longer, and baked this pie using some of the last cold storage mutsu apples from Migliorelli Farm. It may be not be the strawberry rhubarb pie that I was craving, but it definitely gave me peace of mind.

Unroll your pastry on your pie plate. Try not to get impatient when your pie dough rips...carefully patch it and move on. Trim it, fold it, tuck it, flute it...make it pretty.

In a large bowl, (preferably in a bright red Le Creuset enameled cast iron bowl that weighs a gazillion pounds) mix the filling ingredients. Try to resist the urge to eat all of the apples as-is (but be sure to sneak just few!)

Use a pastry cutter to make the topping unless yours which case use two butter knifes and grumble to yourself the entire time.

Get your pie crust. Spoon the apples into the pastry shell. Admire your handiwork.

Sprinkle the crumbly topping over the yummy filling. The pie will look like a heaping mound of goodness at this point.

Stick it in the oven. Bake it till it bubbles. Test your the pie on a wire rack. Allow it time to sit and solidify and become apple pie perfection.

Slice it up, top it with your finest vanilla ice cream and dig in! Bask in your awesomeness.

Next time I want to experiment with sweetening the filling with local honey (instead of sugar), I'd like to substitute homemade Greek yogurt (made with local milk) for the sour cream, and use homemade butter (made with local cream)!

P.S. Please bear with my less-than-amazing pics's tough shooting pie glamour shots with an iPhone, at night, in a poorly lit kitchen where 2 of the 3 lightbulbs in the ceiling fixture are out :)

Apple Crumb Pie
Adapted from All Recipes

  • Pastry for a single-crust 9-inch pie (I used this recipe)

  • 6 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples (I used 3 large mutsu apples)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used demura sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used demura here too)
  • 1/4 cup cold butter

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Line a 9 inch pie plate with your pastry. Trim the pastry so it hangs 3/4" off the edge of the plate. Fold and tuck the edge under itself. Flute the edge, then put it in the fridge to chill while you mix the filling and make the topping.

For the filling, combine the apples, butter, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

For the topping, combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

Take your pie crust out the fridge and spoon the filling into it. Sprinkle the topping over the pie.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the apples are tender. 

Place the pie on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.

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