Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Marc's Turkey Day Treat!

Ok, I try to be part of my family's Thanksgiving Day celebration and my contribution to the spread is homemade apple pie. Taking a cue from Ethan, I figured I'd share my piemaking experience with you. One note - I'm not wearing a Speedo while I'm making them (love ya, Ethan!).

I tried making crust from scratch one year. Its a real pain - once you get the dough, you have to roll it out and it doesn't really hold together all that well. If you knead it too much, it won't turn out flaky. So, I go with the premade crusts - they're good and easy. The newest innovation is the crusts that are rolled instead of folded - that way there aren't any creases or folds, which is great!

So, the first step is to unfold the crust and set it in the plate, making sure you get rid of any air between the plate and the crust. Once the crust is ready, its time for the filling.

For good apple pie, you need good apples. I like my apple pie to have a little tartness to it, so I go with a mix of Granny Smith and Pink Ladies. The Granny Smith are definitely on the tart side and the Pink Ladies are a nice mix of sweet and tart... kinda like me. ;) Anyway, you'll need 8-9 apples, depending on the size of the apples. Once you peel them and core them, you want to cut them into slices. I don't like to cut the slices too thin, otherwise they end up mushy when you bake them. Cut the slices a little thicker and the apples will be a little firmer.

Anyway, once you've prepared the apples, put them in a very large mixing bowl. Add a half cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, a little bit of lemon juice and a little vanilla extract. You're going to mix everything together so that the apples are coated pretty evenly with the rest of the spices.

Now its time to fill the pie. You're going to want to make sure you put in plenty because the filling will shrink when you bake it. After you fill the pie, unroll the other crust and put it on over the filling. You'll want to go around the edge and pinch the sides together in order to seal it -- you don't want it to leak out the sides and be all messy!

At this point, to make sure the crust comes out nice and golden brown, I will cover the crust with an egg wash -- beat an egg and then brush it over the top of the crust. Then sprinkle some sugar over it. The last step is important -- be sure to cut some slits in the top of the crust for steam to escape.

Now its time for baking! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes or so - and then you're done! Your pie should come out golden brown and will be a hit with everyone, assuming they haven't eaten so much turkey that they're in the guest bathroom purging.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!


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