Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Post #2: Apple Crumb and Pecan Pies

I’m going a little out of order and skipping to the pies. It’s what you all wanted to read about next, anyway, right?

Pie #1: Apple Crumb Pie


I had an apple pie recipe that I’ve made before that I really wanted to do again. This year, though, I wanted to up the ante and make my own pie crust. I’ve always bought the pre-made crusts from the store and they’re always just okay. This year, I figured I’d finally buy a pie plate and suck it up. So I did. I underestimated the process, though.

Start off with a ton of flour, shortening, a touch of sugar, and a good amount of salt. I used butter instead of shortening. Blend it up with a pastry cutter until crumbly. In reading those directions, I decided to soften my butter first. I read later than you’re not supposed to do that. Oops.


In another little bowl, mix an egg with some water.


Blend it into the flour mixture. I really, really wished at this point that I was using my kitchenaid mixer. Gooey floury dough is such hard work to beat, but honestly I didn’t want to get more dishes dirty. I’d already made enough of a mess!

The recipe makes dough for 2 pies (though I had to find this out by scouring the reviews, because the recipe itself, very helpfully, says “32 servings”). I divided the dough into two balls and chilled them in the fridge.

I suppose that I envisioned just smooshing the dough into my pie plate. Luckily, I decided to do a google videos search and learned about proper pie crust making technique, so I didn’t completely screw this up.

I love this non-stick roller. I bought it when I lived in small-town Pennsylvania and had invited friends over to help me make Christmas cookies before realizing that I didn’t own a roller. I then scoured my town’s stores before finally finding this. I hadn’t intended to spend so much on such a simple tool, but I guess it’s been worth it. Anyway, as with anything else you’d roll, put flour everywhere.


The google videos I saw said to spread the dough out so that it went a good 2-3 inches beyond the plate. In retrospect, my plate has such a big lip that this wasn’t really necessary, but whatever. Apparently rolling dough in an even circle is much harder than it sounds.


Getting the dough into the plate was much harder than expected. It was heavy but delicate, so I used the roller to help me out. Not perfect, but not bad for my first time.


Trim the edges with some kitchen shears. For some reason, I thought that part was really fun!


I beefed up the edges by blending in some of the dough that I snipped off. I also ate some. I was shocked to realize that it was not sweet like cookie dough, which I apparently thought I was working with. Still yummy. I wrapped my pie shells in plastic and put them in the fridge until the next day, when it was time to make pies.

Now for the filling.

I sliced up 6 apples very thinly. Sprinkle on some lemon juice.


Make a mixture of white sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Forget to take a picture of it. Just go on and dump it in your apples, tossing it as if it’s salad. Make sure the camera is on the wrong setting so that it appears dark and weird.


Spoon the apple mixture into your pretty homemade crust. The first year I did this, there were far too many apples for the store-bought crust, and I sent hubby (boyfriend at the time) to the store for another one. He was very happy about this (not). That’s when I learned that the apples shrink in the oven so it’s okay to heap them in there. Less of an issue with my deep pie plate.


Next, mix up some flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter and blend with that wonderful pastry blender. I used a butter knife before I had this thing.


And just sprinkle it all on top of the apples.


Cover it with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Then remove the pie and stand over it, inhaling deeply and fighting the urge to update your facebook status to brag about how amazing this pie smells/ looks.



Pie #2: Pecan Pie

This one is hubby’s specialty. He did this one all on his own, as he always does. According to his mom’s recipe, cream butter and sugar together. Then add karo syrup.


Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.


Hubby used to do this by hand, but he’s discovered that doing it with the mixer makes for a fluffier filling. At this point, add salt and pecans.


Pour it in my pretty crust. Because this will be in the oven for an hour, uncovered the whole time, I fashioned a crust shield with some foil to keep the crusts from burning to a crisp.


It worked!


Honestly, my presentation of the pies on plates sucked that night. It was like scrambled pies, so I didn’t bother with pictures. The next day, I tried again, and I did much better.



Delicious. Here is the crust recipe, and this is the apple crumb pie recipe. Pecan pie recipe will be in my tastebook at some point.

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