When cooking, I try my best to keep the kitchen clean as I work. As we go through the steps, I’ll highlight my ‘keeping it clean’ tips.
The cookbook I use most is Joy of Cooking. The current edition (found in the link) is the 75th edition. I use the one my mother gave me for Christmas many years ago. It’s stained and a bit lopsided. My mother is gone now and the book has her writing in it – I always think of her when I’m using it. I use the Apple Pie II recipe. When making an apple pie, you can either put the apples into bake raw or precook them. The Apple Pie II recipe is the one from my edition using precooked apples. I like it because the apples don’t shrink during baking so the top crust sits right on top of the apples instead of having an air gap between them.
Tip: you can do this ahead of time — just put the apples into a zip lock bag and sprinkle some lemon juice over them to keep them from browning. When precooking the apples, browning doesn’t matter but your kids might want to sneak a slice before you can make the pie. (I always cut more than needed for the pie itself)
Step 2 – Assemble your ingredients. For the seasonings, I measure them out into a small bowl. If you’re looking at the recipe, you’ll notice I use nutmeg and a touch of cloves in addition to the cinnamon. You can add your seasonings to taste; be careful not to overpower the cinnamon.
Step 3 – Cook the filling. You’ll melt butter in your pan and add the apples. The recipe says to let them cook for about 7 minutes. I prefer a slightly crunchier apple so I only let them cook about 3 minutes. Then add your sugar and seasonings. Let this boil (stirring) until the syrup is thick. To test if the syrup is done, use a wooden spoon and let it drip back into the pan.
When the drip is thick and slow, it is ready.
Step 4 – Cool the apple mix. TIP: To keep this from being a hard clean up, I put foil onto a baking sheet and spread the apple mix out to cool. Put the sheet onto a wire rack so the mix will cool faster. The apples will take about 15 minutes to cool.
Step 5: Prepare to bake.
- Put your bottom crust in the pie dish. TIP: Smooth the dough against the sides and make sure there is some dough above/over the edge all the way around.
- Preheat the oven. TIP: The recipe says to preheat at the beginning. Since I’m not Ms. Speedy, I find this wastes a lot of energy. If you preheat at this point, you should be ready to pop the pie into the oven when the preheat is finished.
- Prepare the topping. This isn’t in the recipe. Separate an egg, reserving the white into bowl. Make some cinnamon and sugar mix. TIP: I make about a cup of this and keep it in a container. It’s awesome on buttered toast for breakfast too.
- When the apples are cooler (they’ll still be a bit warm – that’s OK), put them into crust in the pie pan. TIP: To make the transfer from the sheet into the crust easy and clean, pick up the edges of the foil lengthways and funnel the apples into the crust. You won’t spill any and the baking sheet just need a quick rinse (or not).
- Put the top crust onto the pie. You should have an even amount of dough overhanging the edges all the way around. Now fold the top edge under the bottom overhang and pinch all the way around. The recipe says to put water on the edge before doing this — I usually don’t. You can then make a decorate edge using a fork to press it down all around or you can crimp it (pinching with thumb and two fingers).
- Put the glaze on. I do this because it makes the top shiny and I like the extra pop of sugar and cinnamon. Using a brush, brush the egg white over the whole top and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mix.
Step 6: Bake. I use a pie crust protector during the baking period. I have a metal one but you can make one out of foil.
Step 7: Cool. The pie has to cool for at least 4 hours. This allows the syrup to ‘set’. This is what keeps the pie from spilling out when you cut a slice. Put the pie on a wire rack to cool.
Step 8: Enjoy
The last TIP: I cut individual slices and freeze them. They are so good for lunch at work — just pop in the microwave for about 30 seconds and viola Pie!