I try to find good apples. Granny Smith apples are for newbs. No offense. I like good, quality apples. Fuji, Braeburn, Honeycrisp. Peeled by the Apple/Peeler/Corer/Slicer buddy from Pampered Chef and allowed to sit for a few minutes… Ok about 20-30 in a mixture of brown sugar, mexican vanilla, ginger, a pinch of salt, a dash of flour, freshly grated nutmeg and my favorite touch, garam masala. A hint of cardamom and pepper.
The crust is made with flour, salt, sugar, real butter (gagging at the thought of lard or shortening, actual heaving at the thought of margarine) and tossed together with ice water. Quickly rolled out, placed in the pan and then set into the freezer. A good crust is cool, a great crust is COLD. And minimally handled.
As the bottom crust cools/freezes and the apples create a thick spicy apple juice and brown sugar syrup I roll out the top crust, slice long pieces and weave a lattice crust on a bed of parchment paper.
By the time I have finished the lattice and put it into the fridge to stay cool the bottom crust is ready, the apples are just right and it’s time to put it all together.
Which is right about the time I remember I forgot to turn the oven on…
The apples in their sweet marinade go into the pan, the top crust is placed just so, crimped down then brushed with an egg glaze and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
Baked for just about an hour, depending on the size of the pie and this is what you get…
Why do I even share all this?
Because a great pie doesn’t “just happen” and the resulting communal enjoyment is merely a byproduct of the careful consideration and effort beforehand. Know what else? Great fellowship doesn’t “just happen” either but usually comes as the natural byproduct of individuals sharing lives, carefully investing in each other and watching as the flavors of each person, each personality melds and creates something new from seemingly disparate and opposing ingredients.
And the best results come after a great deal of heat. I know that sounds cliche and trite. But we all know it’s true.