What do you do when it's 90 degrees outside and you are hot, grumpy and hungry for comfort food?
You might do what I did . I baked an apple pie.
I know, it sounds silly, but there's nothing like a good home made apple pie even if it's hot outside. I made my first pie when I was 10 years old. My mother came home from work and couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the pie I had baked. I've been baking ever since. There is something gratifying about being in the kitchen baking from scratch for someone you love...or yourself. I usually make a crostata but this time I decided to make an old fashioned apple pie with crust made with lard and butter. I once had a pie where the crust was made with lard from the farm and it was the lightest, flakiest pie crust I've ever eaten. I wanted to capture that taste again. However, I wanted to add some butter so when found Ina Garten's recipe for "the perfect pie crust", a combination of lard and butter, I knew I had to try it. With a little adaptation, it was the perfect pie crust for my apple pie.
Add generous amounts of cinnamon and dot the apples with butter before covering with the top crust.
Brush the top with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Pierce with a fork to let the steam escape as the pie bakes.
The crust should be a golden color, puffy with flaky edges. Put the pie on a rack to cool a while before you cut into it. This let's the apples and juices set a little.
Then, while the pie is still warm, cut a very large piece, scoop up the extra apples that spill out because it's still warm, top it with ice cream and enjoy. Every. Single. Bite.
By the way, did you know that pie is very good for breakfast? It's fruit, right? And you can heat it in the microwave for a few seconds for that warm-out-of-the-oven goodness.
Perfect Pie Crust for Apple Pie inspired by Ina Garten
1 1/2 sticks very cold unsalted butter
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold Crisco shortening
1/2 cup ice water
Dice the butter into small pieces. In a food processor with a steal blade, add the flour, salt and sugar and pulse a few times. Add the butter and Crisco and pulse about 12 times until the dough is crumbly and the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water a little at a time until the dough forms into a ball. On a floured board roll the dough into a ball and flatten slightly with your hands. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for 25 minutes.
Use half the dough for the bottom crust. Roll out on a floured surface about 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Line the tin. Trim the dough around edge leaving about 1/2 inch.
Peal and core about 10-12 green apples (about 4 lbs.). Cut in small pieces and dump into a large bowl. Toss to coat the apples with 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon cinnamon . Mound the apples into the prepared pie tin. Sprinkle with more cinnamon and dots of butter.
Roll out the rest of the dough and place on top of the apples . Pinch the edges together with your fingers. Brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Poke with a fork in several places. Place the pie on a large baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour or until the top is golden. While it's baking, run to the store for vanilla ice cream. When the pie is still warm (not hot), cut a big wedge and serve with the ice cream.
If you can find it, cinnamon ice cream is exceptionally delicious with warm apple pie.
Keep the pie covered with tin foil at room temperature.
Warm any left over pieces of pie in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or in a toaster oven for 2-3 minutes.
Ina Garten's Barefood Contessa Family Style cookbook she is one of my favorite chefs, t.v. personalities (did you see her April 1 cocktail episode?) and author of numerous cookbooks.