Since it was Thanksgiving, I had to have some pie. Instead of buying a pie this year, I made my very first pie! For some reason, baking my own pie seemed like a very daunting task. It feels like there are many things that could go wrong. Fortunately, I didn’t run into too many problems.
I decided to make a Dutch apple pie, which is the kind that has the crumble topping. The recipe, which I got from The New Best Recipe book, calls for Granny Smith and McIntosh apples. I couldn’t find any McIntosh apples so I substituted it with Pink Lady apples.
The night before Thanksgiving, I mixed the dough for my crust and let it chill overnight in the refrigerator. Then Thanksgiving day, I took the dough out and let it sit for an hour or so to become room temperature. Making the pie crust was the part that I was worried about the most but it was not too difficult. The book provides excellent directions for how to roll out dough and make a crust. After I rolled out the dough into a big circle, I rolled the dough around my rolling pin and then unrolled it over the pie pan. If the book had not told me this, I probably would have lots of tears in my dough trying to use my hands to get it into the pan. I used a Pyrex pie pan because according to The New Best Recipe, having a glass pan is useful when doing a blind bake (when you bake a crust without filling) because you can see through the bottom of your pan to see if your dough is done. Once I got the dough into the pan, I trimmed the edges of the dough. Then I crimped the crust to make it more decorative. I folded a large piece of aluminum foil in half and then set it onto the crust. Then I put my pie weights into the pan on top of the foil and baked the crust for about 12 minutes.
For the apple filling, I cut up the apples and mixed in sugar and cinnamon. In a large pot (they recommend a Dutch oven), I brought some butter to a boil and then added the apple mixture. Then I added some golden raisins. After the apples had cooked to where they were soft, but not mushy, I strained the mixture over a large bowl. With the juice that came out, I mixed that with cream and cooked it over the stove. This is the part of the recipe that I thought was weird because it doesn’t seem like there is normally cream in apple pie. I put the apple mixture into the crust and then poured the cream and juice mixture over the apples. I think that either I was supposed to be able to strain out more juice or cook the cream more because the cream to juice ratio seemed disproportionate.
The crumble topping is a combination of melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, and cornmeal. I thought the cornmeal was an odd addition and I may actually omit this in the future. After mixing those ingredients together, I baked them in an even layer on a baking pan. Then I scattered the mixture over the top of the apples and baked the whole pie for an additional 5 minutes.
In the future, I need to do some altering with the recipe because I would prefer to have a softer crumble topping and I may have to do some altering with the apple mixture and cream. Overall though, the pie turned out pretty well and was not so scary to make after all.