Each week at “The Backyard” (aka Backyard Produce, aka my place of employment), we have a whole pile of fruits and vegetables that aren’t “fit” for our valued customers. All of the unusable foods go by the door and are fair game for anyone that wants them. More often than not, that pile is made up largely of apples. Apples are a hard one to get out to the customers in good condition. They get bruised easily, sometimes have questionable spots, and occasionally have cuts on them.
Normally, this food goes to a refugee resettlement agency since it is still perfectly edible, just not worthy to send out to paying customers. Last week, however, I went through the pile and pulled out the apples that were in the worst shape, but far from going bad, and held them back to make a pie with before I took the rest of the produce to the refugees. I realize it is not apple pie season, but I had access to free apples and I wasn’t about to let them go to waste just because it wasn’t “apple pie season.” We all know I have low standards when it comes to food. If you’ve forgotten, check out this blog post from when I first started working at Backyard. And then remember that I just moved back here after living for two years in Africa. And don’t judge.
Totally wish I could claim this recipe, but I most certainly janked it off allrecipes.com. A couple of years back I wanted to make an apple pie and I went on there and found the one with the highest reviews and is what I came back with – Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie. I’d say Grandma Ople knows what she’s doing. That recipe and the Best Ever Pie Crust, which I took their word for since I had never made a homemade pie crust, were what I put together. I made it once for my father and he made a comment along the lines of it being so good it made you want to slap yo’ mama and I haven’t looked back since. This pie is guaranteed to keep the men in your life happy. If I had a man, I would make it for him, but since we all know I don’t (see previous blog) I will just make it for my father. He seems appreciative. As long as he doesn’t slap my mama, it’ll all be good.
Part one of the pie making process involved finding a pie pan. Our one and only pie pan got thrown away by friends after I took lemon meringue pie over to their house last week. So, I was on the hunt for some cheap aluminum ones at Target. Lo and behold, Target had none. I mean, they used to have some and I could see the spot where the pie pans once sat and even saw the price of $1.29 that was once assigned to them, but there were none there. So, I headed on over to the frozen pie crust section with the idea that I would just buy the crust and pan together. Did you know that you can buy 2 frozen pie crusts already in the pan for $1.99? Only in America would it cost a mere 70 cents more to get a pie pan with pre-made pie crusts in it than just to get a plain old pie pan. Even the box of pie crust mix cost more than the two pre-made crusts and pans at a price of $2.19. I still don’t understand the math on that one, but who am I to ask questions? I bought my ridiculously cheap (and easy) pie crust and pans and walked out of the store.
I was initially planning on making the crusts from scratch, but as you read above, that idea went out the window. However, I did need to do a lattice work crust on the top of the pie, so some pie crust making was going to have to be happening. Now, if you are like my mother and sometimes a little on the lazy side and don’t make your pie crusts from scratch, you are missing out. She likes to act like it is so ridiculously hard to make a crust from scratch, but the reality is who can blame her when you can buy them so cheaply already made. Truth is, making one from scratch is pretty simple. You just can’t be afraid of a little flour and shortening or getting your hands dirty. A pie crust generally only has 4 ingredients: flour, shortening (or butter or margarine), salt, and water. That’s it people. 4 simple ingredients. One of them sure to clog every artery in your body, but also sure to make your pie crust flaky and delicious. So don’t skimp on the shortening. All you’ve got to do is combine the flour and salt, and then mix the shortening into the mixture. Some people like to do this with a pastry cutter. I prefer my fingers.
You should mix it up till it looks like this.
And your hand will look like this.
And your iPhone will look like….well your iPhone will be covered in flour and Crisco while you try to take a picture of your right hand with your left hand. Don’t try this at home people. Unless you have phone insurance.
After that, just stir in the water until the dough forms a ball. From there, you are ready to roll that sucker out. If you are like me and don’t have a rolling pin, feel free to use your hands again at this point. Now that I think about it, perhaps I enjoy getting my hands dirty a bit too much. Guess that’s the country girl in me coming out. I learned from my tortilla making experience in Africa that I’m not going to get that dough rolled into a perfect circle no matter what, so why bother. (See post here). The hands work and I’ll use them!
This is what you get in the end. Good enough right?
A little trick is to roll them out on wax paper so you don’t have a mess to clean up on your counter and then can plop the pie crust straight into the pan when you are finished. Easy peasy.
Now, for the hardest part of this whole ordeal. Peeling the apples. I don’t have to tell you how to do it. You know how. But, it does take a while unfortunately. I wish I had a daughter so I could force it to be her job, and I wouldn’t have to do it, and I could play it off as her learning how to make an apple pie. Ha. Oh, the plans I have for my yet unborn children. Anyways, peel the apples, put them in the pie pan, make the sauce that goes along with this recipe and you are ready to weave the lattice work crust.
See the flecks in that dough. Those are flecks of deliciousness, aka fat. You want them.
Weave that crust. Over. Under. Over. Under. Just like that. When its all done, this is what you get.
Looks hard, but it isn’t. Sounds healthy (apple), but it isn’t (pie).