I found a pie dish! A gorgeous red, ceramic pie dish. It was a little expensive, but I couldn’t find another and I just had to make an American apple pie! So I did. And… my first ever American apple pie didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped.
It looked kind of perfect actually, but it was not really a success. In fact, it was a bit of a disappointment. To all those Americans-who-are scared-of-making-apple-pie-even-though-they’ve-spent-their-entire-childhood-watching-their-moms-make-pie-after-pie-after-pie, I’m sorry to have mocked you in my last post. It totally get you now! Making a perfect pie is really difficult! I now know just how frustrating it is to pull a gorgeous, golden, sugary, fragrant pie out of the oven, only to find a soupy, soggy mess under the top crust.
I mean, I’m pouting right now. And not in a Keira Knightley kind of way..
Normally, I would have just extensively cursed a kitchen disaster like this. I would have thrown it in the bin (or shared it with not very particular friends) and made myself a cup of tea to enjoy on the balcony in the sunshine. But not this time. I’m on a quest remember? I’m looking for the Holy Grail of pie crusts! I can’t turn away every time I come across a carnivorous bunny!
Please know what I’m talking about. I’m not crazy, I’m an airplane!
Sorry about that…
Aaaaaaanyway, because of the quest, I couldn’t just rid myself of the not-so-perfect pie and go outside to bath in the sun, daydreaming about the day on which I would finally submit my Master’s thesis and working on my tan. The sun always makes me feel so much better! This time, however, the – *cough cough* – ‘gorgeous’ Dutch weather didn’t really do a good job at making me feel better about my soupy pie either, especially not since I still had to take pictures of said disappointing pie…
This is what today’s weather looked like. Please mind that this photo is not even edited…
Luckily the Rocking Rebel got home early today, so he helped me hold all kinds of white boards and sheets of paper to reflect what little light there was onto the food. He also did a great job at eating half the pie.
And then there is Photoshop of course. Oh and maybe – just maybe – I have gotten a little better at food photography over the past year. At least I now know how to properly set my camera’s ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings…
So yeah, the pie looks great, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.
Yet I am blogging about it… Life can be funny sometimes.
Anyway, here’s a list of everything I personally thought was wrong about this beautiful pie:
- The filling was way too soupy.
- The bottom of the pie was incredibly soggy, as in: almost completely disintegrated.
- Unless you enjoy serving your family and friends a spoonful of pie juices and doughy bits, the pie was totally unservable.
- I forgot to dot the filling with butter before placing the dough for the top crust on top of the apples. I’m not sure how this affected the final result, but I know most Americans don’t do this.
- The crimped edges ‘uncrimped’ as the pie baked.
So what did I like?
- It looked GORGEOUS!
- The top crust was deliciously flaky and buttery!
- The apples were cooked to perfection, aka: they weren’t mushy but tender enough to eat with a spoon.
- The soupy, doughy mess underneath the perfect top crust was tasty too.
See what happened here? I like everything from the top crust up. Which means that I liked the top crust! This is a series about pie crusts, dear readers, and I just so happen to think that the part of the crust that browned and baked and everything, was delicious! If I can only get the bottom crust to brown and bake too, the crust will be perfect!
By the way, if you’re from the U.S., please tell me this: am I too critical when it comes to pies? Or would those things I summed up have bothered you too? I’m trying to get as close as I can to the real deal here…
Luckily, there are tons of pie-making tips to be found on the world wide web, so I’ll be back with another apple pie! One that is perfect!
But wish me luck! I’ll probably need it…
I’ve included the recipe so people with actual pie-making skills can tell me where I went wrong. If you’re one of those pie geniuses out there, please leave me a message in the comment section!
- 310g (or 2½ cups) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 226g (or 1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 5-7 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1400g (or 3 pounds) apples, I used a mix of Jonagold and Granny Smith
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 150g (or ¾ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 egg, beaten with ½ tablespoon of water (egg wash)
- course granulated sugar for sprinkling
- In a medium-sized bowl, I stirred together flour, salt and powdered sugar. I added the cold, cubed butter to the bowl and blended the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the mixture looked crumbly, with pea to hazelnut sized pieces of butter. I then added the cold water and stirred with a rubber spatula until the dough came together.
- Using my hands, I quickly shaped the dough into two flat discs. I then wrapped the disc in plastic wrap and placed them in the fridge to chill for one hour.
- After the dough had chilled, I took one of the disc out of the fridge and placed it between two pieces of lightly floured baking parchment. Using a rolling pin, I rolled it to a thickness of about 5-mm (or one fifth of an inch) and lined a 22-cmm/9-inch, ceramic pie dish with it. I then placed the dish in the freezer to allow the dough to firm up again (MISTAKE NO. 1).
- I first peeled and cored all the apples. I then cut half the apples into eight wedges, after which I cut the wedges into quarters. The other half of the apples I thinly sliced (might be MISTAKE NO. 2).
- I added all the apples to a medium-sized bowl and tossed them with the lemon juice and the zest. At this point, I had to run to the store to get more apples, because I didn't have enough (organized much?).
- I peeled, cored and sliced some more apples. I threw the 'new' apples into the bowl with the apples I sliced earlier.
- I then took the second dough disc out of the fridge and rolled it out to a thickness of about 5-mm (or one fifth of an inch) between two sheets of lightly floured baking parchment. I set this piece of dough aside while I finished the apple filling.
- In a small bowl, I combined sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. I stirred it together and added the mixture to the bowl with the apples. I tossed the apples to coat them with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Next, I took the lined pie dish out of the freezer and added the apple mixture (MISTAKE NO. 3).
- I then placed the dough for the top crust on top of the apple mound, tried my best to tuck it underneath the frozen bottom crust, crimped the edges and used a sharp knife to cut steam vents in the top crust. After the edges were crimped, I placed the pie in the freezer to firm up. In the meantime, I preheated the oven to 200°C/400°F and placed my oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
- I brushed it with egg wash and sprinkled it with lots of coarse sugar. Then I placed it on the rack in the oven and baked it for 20 minutes. I then cranked the oven temperature down to 175°C/350°F and baked the pie for another 35 minutes (MISTAKE NO. 4).
- After I had taken the pie out of the oven, I allowed it to cool for two hours (MISTAKE NO. 5).