A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Apple Pie Can Beat Up Your Apple Pie

I'm not one to normally toot my own horn, but I have to report on a moment of triumph I had by association recently. A friend happens to work in a very foodie workplace. The subject of apple pie came up in a discussion within her department and of course someone claimed to make the best apple pie. Then another person claimed to make the best apple pie, from his grandmother's recipe. My friend, who has never made a pie, much less an apple pie, in her life, broke in and said her apple pie could wipe the floor with their apple pies. More trash talking ensued until finally it was decided there would be a bake off and blind taste test by another department the following Monday.

I got the call Sunday afternoon. It was my friend calling to see if I had a recipe I could walk her through. And I do, one that is pretty simple and never lets me down. We talked it over and during the process of her making it I got a couple more phone calls with quick questions and at the end a photo via cell phone of it just out of the oven.

And Monday afternoon....a text message that she won "Best Overall." (While I am patting myself on the back, I think my friend must be a natural at the baking and has been harboring a hidden talent for pie making.)

"Best Overall" Apple Pie
Easy Pie Dough
1/2 pound butter, chilled

2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
about 1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water

Cut butter into small pieces. Put flour and salt in a bowl. Add butter. I don't have my kitchen aid right now, so I use my fingers to rub the butter into the flour until there are no large chunks and it looks a little like corn meal. Add ice water a little at a time, tossing with the flour/butter mixture, until it starts to come together. Don't knead the dough or add too much water, only enough to get it to stick together. Divide it into two disks, one a little bigger than the other and refridgerate for at least an hour. This is definitely enough for a lattice top pie and probably enough for a double crust if you are careful when rolling it out.

Apple Filling

6 - 7 cups peeled, sliced apples, like Granny Smith
3/4 cup brown sugar

pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 T lemon juice

Toss together and pour into pie shell. Mound in the middle, as it will bake down. Lay top crust over or weave lattice and crimp edges. Brush with an egg yolk/water or egg yolk/cream glaze and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until top is golden brown and a skewer inserted meets very little resistance. If the top browns too quickly, lay a piece of tin foil over the top.

**This recipe came to me through my work at the sadly no-more Little Dipper Bakery in San Francisco.


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