Does an easy apple pie recipe exist? Jennifer from our Kitchen Council thinks so and she’s sharing her top five tips for making an apple pie that’s not only delicious, but stress free.
Anytime is technically a good time for pie, but there’s something about autumn and the holiday season that makes apple pie seem especially timely and inviting. It’s a simple pleasure, yet one that can be daunting to the novice cook. However, apple pie is actually relatively easy to prepare at home if you keep a few basic concepts in mind. While it takes a bit of time and effort, homemade pie is so much better than anything you’ll purchase from the store, and there’s something incredibly gratifying about knowing you’ve prepared it yourself.
Here are five tips that will help you achieve a stress-free apple pie.
Tip #1: Understand a few basics about working with dough.
Store-bought pie dough is always an option, but homemade pie dough comes together quickly and is not difficult to prepare. It tastes wonderful. For best results, work with pie dough while it’s chilled, but not so cold that it cracks under the weight of a rolling pin. Let dough sit for a few minutes at room temperature before working with it. You don’t need to use much flour when rolling out dough; less is definitely more. You can always re-roll pie dough if necessary, but you might need to chill it again first. Dough that has been rolled more than once can become elastic, meaning that it will shrink if you overwork it. This is only a temporary issue that will fix itself if you let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Tip #2: Use Stemilt apples that offer a good balance of flavor and texture.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with a mix of Stemilt apples to keep things interesting. Piñata® apples are a wonderful choice. Their crisp texture withstands the heat of the oven, and their juiciness leads to an exceptionally juicy and flavorful pie. Granny Smith apples are another classic option, with a firm texture and a balance of juicy and tart that shines in pie.
Tip #3: Save time by using a hand-crank apple coring machine.
Vacuum based apple peeler, corer and slicers are reasonably priced workhorses (they average for around $20-$25). Most apple pie recipes call for anywhere from 8-10 apples. Peeling, coring and chopping them by hand can be messy and time consuming. The same job can be done by a hand-crank machine in mere minutes.
Tip #4: Taste the filling.
When it comes to apple pie ingredients, less is more. A good apple pie recipe allows the natural flavors of the fruit to shine through. If you’re using a sweet apple, you won’t need much sugar, but you might want some lemon juice for acidity. Tart apples may require a bit more sugar, but little or no lemon juice. Before adding the filling to the pie shell, taste it and see if it needs anything.
Tip #5: Don’t stress the imperfections.
Whether you’re going for a plain top with vents or more intricate lattice work, keep in mind that a homemade pie does not need to look like it belongs in a magazine. Rustic food is comfort food.