It took me a long time to even try making pie. I’m not much of a baker and I grew up surrounded by ladies who could make some award-winning pie, so it was always an intimidating idea. Plus why make pie yourself if you can just go to church, or family dinner and have it made for you. So, for a long time, it was never my job to make pie, but as you get older at some point you need to pick up the task. I did finally learn to make pie a few years ago. I’m still not an award-winning pie maker by any means, I still don’t make my pie crust from scratch, and though this pie may not win the blue ribbon, I’ll settle for second place, because it’s actually not that hard to make.
I found the scariest thing to deal with was the crust. I’m going to tell you right now, that if you’ve never made pie before, it might take you a couple tries to get the crust down, but don’t give up! Once you get a feel for it, it really is easy. Also remember, you can always go out and buy the pre-made crust and that’s ok. As long as you’re not shooting to enter the county fair baking contest, all you really care about is the taste!
1 box of Jiffy pie crust mix
6-7 baking apples (I’m using northern spys and a honey crisp))
2 Tbs. Flour
¾ – 1 cup of sugar
½ – 1 tsp Cinnamon
I’m making a smaller pie with 6 apples, so I add a slightly rounded teaspoon of cinnamon, a rounded ¾ cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour in a bowl, then mix them all together. It’s good to do this first before you start getting your hands all sticky and set it aside until you’re ready to mix it in the apples.
I have 3 different sizes of pie pans, 8, 9, and 11 inch (which I only use for parties). I’m going to use the small 8 pan, if it’s your first time with the crust I would suggest you start with the smaller pan.
I like to start with making the crust. I use Jiffy pie crust mix, it’s easier than making it from scratch and honestly I like the way it tastes more than some of the other crusts I’ve had (including some homemade).
Dump the mix into a small mixing bowl. I usually try to break up any chunks in the mix first. Then add one tablespoon of water and mix it around. Repeat this until you have 4 tablespoons of water added. With your hands try to ball the dough up in the center of the bowl, if it’s too crumbly to make a ball, add another tablespoon of water, then try again. After you pat the dough into a ball, put the bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest while you peel apples.
Since I’m using the smaller pan, I use 6 apples for the pie. I’m using 5 northern spys (which are tart) and one big honey crisp apple (which is sweet). I have this nifty apple peeler corer gadget that I got from my mother. After rinsing, peel, core, and slice the apples and put them in a big mixing bowl. When all of your apples are finished, dump the cinnamon, sugar, flour mixture on top. Then use your hands to mix them all together coating all of the apples with the mix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set aside.
Flour a large cutting board and your rolling-pin well. Get your dough out of the refrigerator. After dusting your hands with a little flour, take half of the dough ball and form it into what looks like a hamburger patty and put that down on the cutting board. Roll out the dough into a large enough piece to cover your pie pan. It’s not likely to roll out in a perfect circle like you see on a cooking show, don’t worry about it, and just roll it out bigger than the pan. Use a butter knife and gently glide it under one end of the dough. Place your rolling-pin on top, then lift the dough end up onto the rolling-pin. Now your blue ribbon types make this look easy, I found it to be tricky the first few times I did it. To roll the dough up onto the pin, I use a butter knife to lift any spots of that dough that stick to the board. Once you get half of the dough up, put your pie pan next to the dough. Gently lift the dough over and ease it down into the pan. Carefully push the dough down into the pan with your fingers, try not to crack, or stretch it. Trim around the dough leaving about ½ inch left over the edge (you can always trim more later if you want).
Put more flour on your cutting board and rolling-pin. Take the other half of the dough and roll it out just like the first piece. Lift the edge up onto your rolling-pin. Now go get your apples and put them in your bottom crust, you might have to mush them in there. Wash your hands for the ten thousandth time, make sure they’re dry, and then flour your hands again. Put your pie plate next to the dough on the cutting board. Gently lift the crust over the top of the pie so that it’s covering all of the apples. Trim the edge down leaving ½ over hang. Go around the edge and fold it under, if it seems really thick, then just trim a little more off.
After trimming the edge you can finish it with a two finger push or a hatch mark. If it’s you first time go for the hatch mark, it’s easier and it looks nice.
Put your pie on a cooking sheet (with edges) in case it boils over. Cover the edges of your pie crust with aluminum foil, or use an edge cover. I got a couple of these edge covers as a Christmas gift and they work great. Place the pie in the center of the oven preheated to 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes. When the time is up pull the pie out a let cool on a rack. Tadaa! Pie!
I know if you watch a cooking show they make all of this look super easy. I know I have watched pie bakers all my life who made it look easy. I’ll tell you the truth, the first time I did this I wanted to cry. I think it takes a little practice. So don’t plan to make your first pie to take to the county fair. Don’t get frustrated that you’re not Martha Stewart, just keep trying at it. What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you make a couple of pies that taste great, but don’t look as great. I bet they still get eaten up, sometimes I think Dave misses the days when I made practice pies, because he got to eat them all.