Before today, we've always been given pie or found one during our 4th of July festivities. Back home, we were all about tradition, so every year, my brother and I would wait at the front window for our grandparents to get to our house at 7AM. Once everyone was all together, we'd venture to the center of town where we'd throw some blankets down on any vacant driveway we could find, and wait for the parade to begin.
You'd hear the bells, whistles and bands long before you actually saw anyone approaching. Floats would loft loads of candy into the air for us little kids, and we'd wave at our friends who were in the parade. Once it was over, we would walk to the festival just down the street.
Centerville's Americana festival is massive. There was always over a mile stretch of kettle corn, funnel cake, and of course, pie. We'd get to pick a sweet treat to take home, and if we were lucky, we'd get to snag a bite before heading off to the fireworks later that night.
So I decided to take it upon myself to whip up an apple pie, because well...why not!
Tender apples are great and all, but no one wants them to fall apart before they reach their mouth. I need something that's got a bit of texture still left in it; not apple sauce. So after peeling, cutting and slicing them, I tossed them in brown sugar, lemon juice, and a few spices, so I could throw them in a sauté pan over the stove. From what I learned, that initial cook keeps the apples intact when they bake in the oven, so no mushy fruit!
I can't stress enough that keeping the pie crust chilled as much as humanly possible really does help. You don't want the butter to melt and form back together because it will ruin the dough. I only rolled out one piece at a time, putting it between 2 sheets of wax paper so there was no worrying about it sticking to any counters and just rolled it into a circle that skimmed the outer edges of the paper. Be prepared for a workout when rolling; it's a process, but well worth it.
After all of that hard work, you pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. I would let it sit for at least 2 hours to cool. I know, I know...it's hard waiting this long for a dessert to be ready to eat. But trust me guys, you won't be disappointed! Once it's at room temperature, you're ready to dig in. And it's totally worth it.
Do you guys have any 4th of July traditions or desserts you always make in your house? I hope everyone had a killer weekend! I'd love to see what you all did with friends and family!
Serves 8 people
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks chilled butter cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup ice water
6 apples peeled and sliced (there are all kinds of debates about what apples to use, but I think anything with a crunch is best since you'll be cooking them down)
3/4 cup brown sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon (and lemon zest if desired)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 egg beaten (for brushing crust)
1. Sift flour, salt, and sugar in a large, chilled bowl. Add pieces of butter and using your hands, or a pastry masher, mix the flour and butter until they are combined and look like meal.
2. A 1/4 cup at a time, pour in ice water and continue to blend everything until the dough forms and it's texture is relatively smooth. Be careful to not add too much water or else the dough will get sticky. Divide dough into 2 pieces, shaping each into a disk, and put in separate plastic bags to chill for an hour while you make the pie filling.
1. Heat a large pan on the stovetop on medium heat. While the pan is warming up, in a large mixing bowl, toss sliced apples, brown sugar, lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg until mixed evenly. You'll see a little bit of liquid begin to collect at the bottom of the bowl.
2. Melt butter on the pan and then add the mixture. Once you see the liquid begin to simmer, turn the heat on low and cover it with a lid for 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove lid and strain the apples in a sieve or regular strainer overtop of a bowl to catch the liquid. Put the strained apples in another bowl and put the extra liquid in a saucepan back on the burner on low-medium heat. Sift the cornstarch into the liquid and whisk until it has thickened and darkened. Remove from burner and cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Remove dough from one plastic bag and put it between 2 sheets of wax paper. Roll until it touches all ends of the wax paper in a circle, and set back in fridge to repeat process with the second disk.
2. Once both are rolled out, decide how you would like to design the top crust. If you want it fully covered, make sure to put 4 large slits in it once you follow the below directions. If you would like to do the lattice, check out this helpful link here from Simply Recipes and cut the strips before you fill your pie.
3. Lay one of the rolled out pie crusts in your pie pan/tin (I used a simple foil pan), and using a paring knife, trim the excess away from the edge. Pour apples into the pie, then drizzle the pie syrup on top. Once covered, apply top crust and trim excess edges as desired.
4. Using the whisked egg yolk, brush the dough making sure it is completely covered in yolk so no spots are missed. Put on a sheet pan if you're using a foil tin (so it stays stable), or disregard if you have a normal pie tin. Bake for roughly 30-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cool for at least 2 hours before serving.