This week was the first week for my grand experiment. I decided on apple pies because I had a lot of apples in my house already (my 16yo likes apples in his lunch, but has recently gotten very picky about his apples and we had a large number of "rejects" that were still good apples but not perfect enough for him).
It took a long time to get all the apples cut up. With my apple peeler-corer-slicer, it should have been fairly quick. But about half of the apples got stuck when they got to the point where they would enter the corer. So I would have apples that were half-peeled, and not sliced at all, and I'd have to pull the apple off the machine and finish it up myself. To cut enough apples for 3 pies took me about 2 hours.
Then I made the crusts. I've always had good luck with crusts, and have never really had a bad one. I didn't learn to make pie until I was in college and was dating my husband. He really liked pies so I made my first pie for him, a lemon meringue I think, or maybe a chocolate cream. Once I got a pastry cutting tool it became so much easier.
For the top I used my fun apple topper tool. I saw this years ago at a Thriftway store and had to have it. It cuts out one big apple shape and a bunch of little ones.
I had to stop in the middle to take my daughter to school, since her car is broken. While I was out, I did my grocery shopping. I had two pies cooling while I did this, and finished the other pie and cleaned up the kitchen afterward.
The final step was to choose the recipients for my first week of pies. I chose one family because they are going through a hard time right now, with a son wrongfully convicted and in jail. The husband was happy to see me when he opened the door and I said "Happy Wednesday"! He showed me the progress he'd made on his project--he is putting in hardwood flooring in his living room and dining room. I felt like I'd brightened up his day, and he'd brightened mine as well.
I chose the other family because the wife is having health problems and just had another surgery a couple of days ago. The husband was afraid that their dog would knock me over so he met me outside.
After pie deliveries I had to pick up my daughter from school. I was telling her about my deliveries and she asked me why I was baking pies all of a sudden, and I explained my inspiration to her.
These pies were pretty time-consuming, but so worth it. My husband really enjoyed his pie for dessert tonight.
Next week I think it will be Key Lime Pie!
Paula's Apple Pie Filling
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen, 2008, foodnetwork.com
Prep Time:40 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 8 servings
•3/4 cup light brown sugar
•1/4 cup all-purpose flour
•3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
•Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
•7 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
•1 lemon, zested and juiced
•3 tablespoons butter, diced
•Egg wash, for brushing
•Sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. In another bowl, sprinkle apples with the juice of 1 lemon and toss. Stir in the sugar mixture to evenly coat the apples.
Set aside. Make pie crust recipe of your choice. Roll out chilled dough into 2 circles and use 1 round to line a 9-inch pie pan. Chill the other round.
Mound the apple and sugar mixture into the pie pan lined with dough. Dot with the cubed butter.
Using a pastry cutter, cut an even number of strips from the remaining rolled out dough. Transfer every other strip to the pie top and weave in the lattice by folding every other strip back onto itself and laying another strip perpendicularly. Fold the strips back across and repeat until completed.
Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Trim the overhanging dough and crimp edges.
Bake pie for 45 minutes. Let rest 20 minutes before slicing.