When it comes down to it, who can make a better apple pie than Grandma’s? Grandma really did know how to turn them out. So much flavor: I have a sharp memory still of walking through Grandma’s door and being assaulted by the mouth-watering aroma. It would be a pleasure to make one now. So let us.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter (room temperature)
½ cup lard (room temperature)
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp. fine sugar
1/3 cup of iced water
8 tart or green apples
8 sweet or red apples
½ cup fine white sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp.fresh lemon or orange juice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ Tea spoon Cinnamon
2 tbsp lemon zest
For The Pastry
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl; mix thoroughly. Add the butter and lard, at room temperature, and blend together using your fingers. Mix well until the dough mixture looks and feels like bread crumbs.
Add half the iced water to the mixture, and kneed together. Pinch the dough with your fingers; if it is too dry, add up to 2 tbsp. of ice water, until the dough blends together.
Turn the dough out onto a cool work surface. Form the dough into two round clumps and wrap each separately in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1½ hours (up to 24 hours).
For the filling
Peel and slice the apples into 1/5-inch slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss the apple slices with the sugar, brown sugar, spices, salt and lemon zest.
Place the apples into a heavy-bottomed casserole dish or Dutch-oven and cook over medium heat, covered, over until the apples are tender but still holding their shape. Begin to test after 12 minutes, and do not cook longer than 20 minutes.
Transfer the apples onto a baking sheet and allow to-cool to room temperature. Strain them through a large colander set over the sink or a bowl. Remove as much of the juice out of the apples as possible by either shaking the colander or by using a wooden spoon to gently toss the apples.
The assembly line – putting all the good things together.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 F and place the oven rack at the lowest level.
Remove one dough ball from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (5 minutes), and then roll the ball to a diameter of approximately 12 inches, with a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch. Work as quickly as you can, sprinkling a little bit of flour onto the surface and the top of the dough to prevent it from sticking. If the dough becomes too sticky or pliant, put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Place the rolled out pastry into a nine-inch pie plate, easing it onto the plate and pressing lightly. There should be excess pastry hanging over the sides of the pie plate. Place your strained apple mixture into the centre of the pastry, leaving an edge all around. Brush some milk over this outer circle. Repeat the process with the remaining rolled pastry, placing it gently across the plate on top of the apples.
Seal the pie by crimping the edges. Then, running a sharp knife around the outer edge of the plate, gently cut off any excess pastry. Slice four slits on top of the pie to allow the steam to escape.
Brush the top pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar (Demerara if you have it). Go over the slits with a knife a second time to ensure they are open.
Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Keep a sharp eye on the pie after 35 minutes to ensure the crust does not bake too long. When finished the pie should be golden brown.
Remove from the oven. Eat it either hot or cold, with fresh whipped cream, ice cream or fresh hot custard.
Originally written by Ian Leatt for Lifestyes55 paper (http://lifestyles55.ca)