Sunday, August 19, 2007

American Apple Pie - Food in Film

Today I made my first homemade pie and I have chosen to enter it into a blogging event, Food in Film, which is hosted by Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook. The round-up has been posted on Susan's blog ~ please check out the other creative entries here!

As someone who graduated high school in 1998, the release of 1999's American Pie movie definitely still struck a resounding chord with my friends and I - it was a hilarious adaptation of the quest of high school seniors to finally "become men and women". The first movie, which would come to have two equally side-splitting sequels, features the scene for which the movie is titled. In an effort to see if his friends have described "things" appropriately, Jim ravages an apple pie. After being walked in on by his dad, this is what's left of the pie:

While American Pie is certainly not known as a cinematic masterpiece, it is definitely a movie for which a generation identifies as growing up and coming-of-age with, as The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink were for teens of the '80s. American Pie is my Breakfast Club. And below is my Apple Pie :)


And now, on to the pie!!

As I said, this was my first attempt at a homemade pie and I must say that this pie was pretty much everything I hoped it would be!! Next time I would slice the apples a little thicker and figure out how to get my dough not to crack when rolling it out (any tips??).

For the crust I used an adaptation of a Pate Brisee, substituting shortening for half of the butter. The crust was absolutely fabulous - buttery, flaky and completely melt-in-your-mouth. For the filling I used a method that was detailed in Joy of Baking. The desired effect was achieved - juicy apples in a perfectly crisp and browned bottom crust.

Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup (1/2 stick) butter-flavored shortening, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Apple Filling
2 1/2 pounds (about 6 large) apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 8 cups sliced)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch


1) In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for about two hours.

2) In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar (for the pie crust) and process until combined. Add the butter and shortening and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/4 cup water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tub until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

3) Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

4) After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12-inch circle. Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

5) Then remove the second round of pastry and roll it onto a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.

6) Place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl (to capture the juices). Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have at least 1/2 cup of juice. Pour collected juices and the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 6-7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup and is syrupy and lightly caramelized.

7) Meanwhile, remove the top pastry crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it has time to soften and become pliable.

8) Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch. Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine. Pour the apples and their syrup into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the apples. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make five 2-inch slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the pastry while you preheat the oven.

9) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack before preheating the oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the stone (or pan) to catch any apple juices.

10) Set the pie on the stone or pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits. Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes.

11) Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.


Ally said...

Looks Great! Great idea for the food in film event!

Susan said...

Too funny, Michelle! I had pie on the brain, too, but for an entirely different sort of movie. Your first attempt sure looks like a winner, and your clever entry is very much appreciated. Thanks!

Carrie said...

The pie looks great! I'm so happy your first attempt went so well!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Michelle, I wish I could have a slice of this pie right now - it looks so good!