Friday, December 2, 2011
Best Apple Pie
When I was growing up my Mom made the best apple pie. She had two secrets -- using tapioca instead of flour to thicken the juice from the apples and adding a few drops of brandy before putting the top crust on the pie. Sadly, she longer bakes but her shoes have been filled by my wonderful, hard-working son-in-law who’s been in the family for six-and-a-half years.
While his wife, my daughter who has a culinary arts degree from a college in upstate New York, is an excellent cook, it is my son-in-law who really shines with his apple pie.
He puts me to shame, in a good way I might add, by using a pie crust recipe passed down through at least four, possibly five generations of his family. To say he’s a master at scratch pie crust is an understatement. Me? Scratch crust and I parted company years ago after my first and only attempt. All I'll say is it was ugly. Until Pillsbury’s came out with their refrigerated pie crusts and the rest, they say, is history, which leads me to the reason for this post.
Ever since he came into the family I’ve been trying to find an apple pie recipe worthy of his praise. I have no desire to compete with him for the best apple pie. But he's my incentive to make a really good apple pie.
For the last few years I’ve tried to perfect my apple pie filling and every Thanksgiving, at least to me, it’s been a dismal attempt if not a failure. Personally, I think my son-in-law is too kind to tell me what he really thinks. But this year I think I might have nailed it.
A friend of mine was downsizing her large home to an apartment and gave me Simple Pleasures, 101 Thoughts and Recipes for Savoring the Little Things in Life by John Hadamuscin. While meandering through this slim volume I discovered a recipe for Sour Cream Apple Pie. The recipe follows.
I love sour cream but wasn’t so sure my son-in-law would but I decided to try the recipe because it sounded so yummy. Instead of sour cream I substituted Greek yogurt and the pie was one of the best pies I’ve ever made. It was also the first time I tried my hand at a lattice top for the pie.
So what did my son-in-law think of it? I think he really liked it because the next morning he had another slice with whipped cream. However, I have one more feat to accomplish before he will tell me what he really thinks of my apple pie.
I need to make scratch pie crust. Now that I’m older and have spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, I’m ready to attempt the final task of making a good apple pie. Not wanting to rush into these things I may even try to make it before next Thanksgiving!!!
Sour Cream Apple Pie
Double crust for a 9-inch pie
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream OR Greek yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
6 cups peeled and thinly sliced baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Yellow Delicious (I used a combination of both apples)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a 9-inch pie pan with a single crust. (Do not bake the crust before adding the filling.)
In a large mixing bowl stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Add the sour cream, egg, and vanilla and blend well, then stir in the lemon rind. Add the apples and toss to coat well with the sour cream mixture.
Fill the prepared pie crust with the apple mixture and use the remaining crust to make a lattice top. Bake 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until the crust is well browned, and the apples are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.