I’m not usually the type of girl that likes to take shortcuts when it comes to cooking. I love the slow processes, and cooking to me is almost a therapy – a creative release – a canvas to which I can paint flavors & colors with whatever I’ve got. Since I’ve learned the nutritional value and tastiness factor of cooking with the freshest ingredients, there’s not much I don’t buy fresh. However, I just cannot make pie crust.
As hard as I’ve tried over the years, on the phone with my mom, my aunt coaching me, a chef friend giving me secret tips, I just always seem to mess up pie crust. Last year was possibly the first year I gave in completely and succumbed to my friend’s advice to just buy the Pillsbury pre-made roll-out crusts and I can’t say that I don’t very much enjoy them. In my opinion, it’s no harm since they taste much better than any rendition of pie crust that I could ever make and they saved me a lot of frustration. Then, a couple of weeks ago I found my new best pie friend – Immaculate Baking Co. crusts – at my local natural food store. I’ve also found them at Whole Foods for cheaper, now that I’ve got my eyes peeled. They are much tastier than the Pillsbury version and all of the ingredients are legit.
And so in an ode to Fall’s pickings, here’s a quick little apple pie filling that you can’t screw up. Just get some pre-made crusts and fill ‘em up. You won’t regret the time you’ve saved after you’ve had one bite.
Simple Apple Pie Filling
5-6 apples, medium-sized of different varieties (to give it some dimension)
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. (teaspoon) cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg, plus a dash extra
1/4 t. ginger
pinch of ground red chili pepper
pinch of salt
2 T. fresh lemon juice (or half of a freshly juiced lemon)
2 T. butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Thinly slice the apples. I like to use a mandolin slicer, but slices should be like thin sheets.
Roll out first crust (it must sit at room temp for about 10-15 min. but not too much longer) and place in either tin or glass pie dish. Mold the crust to the plate and make sure to push together any little pockets or cracks so that it’s one uniform piece.
In a large mixing bowl combine apples, sugar, spices, salt, and lemon juice.
Add this to the pie crust (in the dish , duhhh). Place 4 pats of butter at the top in the center.
Roll out the second crust and gently pick up and place on top. Push the two crusts together around the edges. You can do this with the dips like we all know or just press it together in any fashion you like. (Nobody really cares about how those edges look, do they?)
Cover the edges with some tin foil. Take 2 inch strips of foil and gently mold around the edge of the crust, so that this doesn’t burn in the baking process.
Bake for 30 min. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15-20 min. until the top is golden brown.
Let the pie rest for a half hour or so until serving. Then dish up with either some fresh whipped cream (my personal fave) or ice cream or cheddar, whatever is your delight.
Sometimes I omit the lemon juice and add brandy, applejack or bourbon (2 T.) instead. Sometimes you want a little kick. I’m just saying…