Project Pie: I'll be baking 24 pies before Pi Day 2016 to get over my fear of baking pies. And to eat delicious things. You can join me by posting about your pies in the comments or tagging your twitter, instagram, or facebook posts with #projectpie. Make something gooey and delicious!
After I announced my pie-baking intentions last week, I got a super nice email from Elizabeth sharing a pie crust recipe that she promised was "crazy easy." It was so kind of her to send the email ("I figure if you find a recipe that works, share the hell out of it, because sometimes finding good yummy recipes is not always easy."), and it pushed me from thinking about baking another pie to actually baking another pie this weekend.
And she was right. Crazy easy pie crust - even with whole wheat.
I went with an apple pie for #2. And here's the thing about apples: I am super picky about apples for eating straight. An apple must be crisp, juicy, and sweet. Not tough or grainy or mealy or tasteless or soft or bitter. I simply won't eat it. And this time of year can be a little rough on that front. My favorites are Honey Crisp and Pink Lady, but those are difficult to come by. What I see a lot of are big bags of apples that I don't really love to eat - Macintosh, Macoun, Empire. Generally not good for eating (in my opinion), especially when they've been stored since the Fall, but they are excellent for cooking.
Those bagged apples were just begging me to make an apple pie.
And thank goodness because apple pie is freaking delicious. I forgot a little bit until my taste buds reminded me.
Of course everything we make in this house is a little bit wacky, so our apple pie has a 100% whole wheat pie crust (delicious) and is sweetened with maple syrup and coconut palm sugar (also delicious) and no refined sugars. But I would happily feed it to guests with no food restrictions. It's that's good.
Navah proclaimed it the best thing I've ever baked.
Maple Apple Pie (whole wheat, without refined sugar)
100% Whole Wheat Crust
from Elizabeth Patel
2.5 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
2 sticks (or 1 cup) butter or margarine (I used earth balance)
2 ounces cold water
2 ounces vodka
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut your butter into chunks (best if they're not all uniform in size) and put in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
3. Add the flour and butter to your food processor and pulse 8-10 times, or until the mixture looks a little crumbly. Stop before it starts to look like cornmeal. You want some different sized buttery chunks.
4. Pour in the water and vodka and pulse again 8-10 times until the dough starts to come together. Stop before it forms a big ball.
5. Take the dough out of the food processor. It should all stick together at this point. Separate the dough into two equal chunks. Using a rolling pin, roll out 1 chunk of dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about an inch wider than your pie plate all the way around.
6. Pick the crust up by rolling it onto your rolling pin and place it into your pie plate. Cut off any excess around the edges and put the crust into the refrigerator to chill while you make the apple filling.
7. Wrap the other chunk of dough in saran wrap and put into the refrigerator.
Maple Apple Filling
5-6 apples (I used Macintosh)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine (again, I used earth balance)
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Peel and cut up the apples - I used a simple corer/slicer and then cut each slice two more times lengthwise.
2. Put the apples into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 5-6 minutes.
3. Drain the liquid from the apples and then add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until incorporated.
Putting the pie together
1. Pour the apple mixture into your chilled pie crust.
2. Roll out your second chunk of dough until it's about 1/8 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
3. Place the shapes onto the pie crust in a pattern that suits your fancy.
4. Bake the pie at 375 degrees for 1 hour. If the edges start to brown or burn, use tin foil to cover them and continue cooking.
5. Serve warm.
As you can see from the pictures, I'm not perfect at pie crust making - the edges of my crust don't go over the edge of the pie plate. I underestimated how much crust (and how many apples) I would need to fill up the deep dish pie pan. But the idea here was to bake more pies and to stop feeling intimidated, not to be perfect. Remember the rules?
1. Make some pies.
2. Don't cry if they're not perfect.
Anyone else out there baking a pie this week? What kind? I need ideas for pie #3!
p.s. This vegan apple crisp is another great way to use those bagged apples.