Episode Five: Mom’s Apple Pie
Here in the states, they say nothing is more American than Apple Pie. Who they are, I’m not really sure. But someone somewhere says it so it must be true right? Sure, yeah, let’s go with that. I’ll take it one step further, though. There’s nothing more fall than an apple pie baked with one part love and nine parts butter.
There’s also nothing quite like your mom making you a baked good and almost nothing rivals my mom’s apple pie recipe. I’m serious, guys, it’s THAT good. When I knew I’d be doing a fall show, there was no way I wasn’t going to bring my mom on camera with me. She’s been there since day one of Jeni: Seeking the Extraordinary, handling everything from travel arrangements to covering us in prayer. My mama is one of the good ones. She’s made an appearance here and there on the show before, but I wanted her front and center, because after all, she taught me everything I know.
Most of my recipes came from her, the soups and stews and all the bits of fall goodness, but the one recipe I knew she had to teach us was her apple pie.
100% of the time, her crust comes out super flakey and the ratio of apples to cinnamon to butter is always on point…and she doesn’t even use a recipe. She just knows. It must be a mom thing, huh?
It took a few back and forth conversations of how much do you think I put of this? Should I tell them to use more or less honey? A little of this, a lot of that and before we knew it we had our written recipe for you guys.
**Disclaimer** It took me several, albeit delicious, attempts before I really got the timing and everything down without my mom’s help. So don’t worry if the crust is a little less golden or the apples aren’t quite as soft as you’d like on your first and second tries. You’ll get there and while you’re on the way you can enjoy the failed attempts. But let’s be honest, there are worse things in life.
So grab your paring knife and get your ice cream scoop ready cause here is my mama’s apple pie recipe.
What you’ll need:
For the Crust:
· 2 c. flour
· ¾ c. shortening
· ¾ tsp. salt
· 4 ½ Tbs. cold water
For the Filling:
· 8-10 medium sized apples, thinly sliced
· Approx. 2 Tbs. cinnamon
· Approx. ¾ - 1 c. brown sugar
· Approx. ½ c. honey
· 5-6 Tbs.butter
· Approx. 3 Tbs. flour
Other kitchen gadgets you’ll need:
· Rolling pin
· 9 inch pie plate
· Extra flour
· Paring knife
First things first, place a 9 inch pie plate near your station. You’re going to want to clear off a good sizes space on your counter for making the dough for the crust. Take a large mixing bowl and place your 2 cups of flour, ¾ tsp. of salt, and 3/4 cup of shortening in it. Place 4.5 Tbs. of cold water next to your bowl, as you’ll need it in just a minute. Now you get to get your hands dirty. Get your hands in the flour mixture and start to mix in the shortening with your flour and salt. It should start to resemble tiny peas when it’s been fully mixed together. Now, take your water, and slowly start to pour it into your bowl. Continue mixing together until dough forms. Make two softball sized dough balls and then stop. We don’t want to over handle our dough, so the less we touch it the better once it’s altogether. Now, cover one ball of dough and set aside. Make sure it’s fully covered, we don’t want our dough to dry out while we get the filling ready. Leave the other one out, as we’re going to roll it.
Take a handful of flour and lightly dust your working area and then turn your dough out onto the flour surface. Turn your dough out means to simply put your ball of dough on the counter. Grab a rolling pin and lightly flour it and begin to roll your dough until it reaches the right size to generously fit your pie plate. A good way to “test” it is to roll it out and almost lay your pie plate over it, just to check. Is it good? Awesome! Okay, now take your spatula and begin to flip your dough back onto itself until you can easily grab and move it onto the pie plate. This may take a couple tries, but don’t worry, you’ll get it. Once it’s safely in, roll it back out so it covers the dish.
From there you want to begin peeling your apples. Depending on how large your apples are, you may need more or less. This is one of those where you just eyeball it and do what feels good to you. But we want to use at least 8 to 10 apples. Try to keep your apple pieces are level and flat as you can. In my early days I had some ragged and thick pieces that I threw into my pie. Still tasted good, but it affects cook time, so we want to be as even as possible. Halfway through your apples, sprinkle a healthy amount of cinnamon on top with a little bit of flour, and then continue with the rest of your apples. The flour helps absorb the juice from the apples so your pie doesn’t get too soupy.
Once all your apples are mounded…mounded? Is that a word? I’m going with it. Once your apples are mounded, sprinkle with cinnamon. This is all personal preference here. Next take approx. ¾ - 1 c. brown sugar and sprinkle it on top. Then do the same with approx. ½ cup of honey. Second to last thing is to sprinkle approx. 3 TBS. of flour, again to soak up the liquid. And the pieced résistance…butter. What pie would be complete without some good old butter!? Grab 5-6 TBS. of butter and cut up into chunks and place around the top of your apples. It’s going to melt and mix with the brown sugar and cinnamon and oh it’s going to be so good!
Last thing to do is grab your other ball of dough and roll out onto a lightly floured surface, using your lightly floured rolling pin. Again, roll out until it’s big enough to cover your pie dish. The take your spatula and roll it back onto itself and then begin to roll out onto your apple filling.
Here is where you can get creative. Feel free to make a pretty edge with your crust or use the extra dough to design something fun to put on top. Some, when making a top crust, do a lattice design, which is like crisscross meets diagonal. It’s really cool, I would look it up and see if you’re wanting to tackle that. Me? I just stick with what I know. And what I know if a good old regular top with some leaves for fall.
Hey, would you look at that? You’re done! The only thing let to do is to put your beautiful pie into a 350 degree oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until your apples are cooked all the way through and your crust is a nice golden brown color.
I highly recommend eating it slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but hey, to each their own!
I had such a great time in the kitchen with my mom on this episode and I hope you enjoy your time too. Put on some music, get a little messy, and have fun!
~See y’all next time