Since this week is Thanksgiving, several people have reminded me that I said I would post my apple pie and pie crust recipes. So here they are:
(I feel like the Pioneer Woman! Ha!)
No Sugar Apple Pie -- (This pie filling obviously has natural sugars, but no artificial sugars and it still tastes very sweet. Yum!)
6 oz. frozen apple juice concentrate
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbl. cornstarch or arrowroot (mixed in a little bit of water to make a paste)
2 Tbl. butter
For tender apples, slice and steam apples for 15 minutes in a veggie steamer basket before putting them in the pie. This way the crust doesn't get over-done while the apples are getting baked enough and the pie doesn't boil over in the oven. This is a great tip, my smart mom figured this out. The pie just seems to taste better too, I think it absorbs the flavors of the filling mixture better.
Put apple juice in heavy sauce pan, add cinnamon and cornstarch paste. Whisk constantly over med-high heat until thickened like a pudding. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir mixture into apples and bake as usual - if you steam the apples first, only bake the pie until the crust looks done, about 20-30 minutes at 350. If you don't steam the apples, bake until you can insert a knife into the pie and the apples feel tender - about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
This pie crust is called Fool Proof and I am the fool who has proved how well it works. I've never been a great cook (although I'm getting better all the time) but I've always been able to make this crust work perfectly. I can whip it up in about 10 minutes and the texture is amazing - thick, flaky and light.
* The original recipe calls for 4 Cups of sifted flour, but I don't believe in sifting or any other labor intensive cooking, so I just use a little less than 4 Cups - I don't quite fill each cup, about 90% full and that seems to be about perfect. I've also found that if I use shortening, I don't have to refrigerate this dough to handle it, but if I use lard (yea lard!) it helps to refrigerate it about 15 minutes before rolling it out.
Also, this dough will keep in the fridge for several days before you need to use it or in the freezer for several months. Since this recipe makes 4 single crusts, and I don't always need that much, it's nice that it will keep.
Fool Proof Pie Crust
4 C. flour * (see note above)
1 3/4 C shortening or lard
1 T. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 T. vinegar
1/2 C cold water
Mix first 4 ingredients together with a pastry blender or mixer. In a separate bowl, mix the 3 wet ingredients, lightly beating the egg with a fork. Add the wet ingred. to the flour mixture, stir with fork and then knead lightly. Refrigerate or roll as usual.
If you make a mistake rolling this out, you can wad it back up and roll it out again, it won't make it tough.
LOVE that! And this is what it looks like from the inside. (My pie filling was a little wimpy here.)
Happy Thanksgiving and happy baking everybody. If you try either of these recipes, let me know how you like them!