It is Monday and I usually don't attempt any baking nor cooking any fancy stuffs on this day of the week. However, my hectic day is actually Tuesday now with both kids attending school when I have to start really early in the morning.
With plenty of apples sitting around, I thought of the easiest thing to bake and something that everyone will like to eat on a cool autumn night. Apple pies are very homey in character and the more rustic it looks, the better it tastes! I think the best apple pie should have both the characteristics of crisp and tender on the crust and soft but not soggy on the filling.
Although I am very keen in making complicated cakes, I still love the simplicity of pies. To me, I don't think you can make any pie look pretty or colorful but it can look scrumptious if the color of the crust is right and the fillings comes oozing out when the first cut is made.
For this pie, I used vegetable shortening solely which produces a more tender and flakier crust than butter. I maintained the oven temperature at 375F throughout a total baking time of 1 hour and 30 mins and opted for 2 types of apples for the filling, Gala and Red delicious. The apples cooked beautifully, retaining much of their sliced shapes and didn't turn mushy. Initially, I planned to use dried cranberries instead of the raisins as it will give a nice color to the browned pie but I didn't have much and like I said, this pie is something that I went baking on impulse and I just used up my kids mini boxes of Sun Maid Raisins.
The recipe for the pie crust can actually yield a 10 inch double crust pie and I had to save up some trimmings and probably 1/4 of the total pie dough for future use as I made an open sided pie in an 8 inch round springform pan. I was curious on how the apples will look like by piling them up to almost 4 inches high and baking them sandwiched between the bottom and top layer crusts only. The fillings shrunk alot during the baking and I was glad that I used 6 apples to pile it all up. The crust turned out perfect, slightly crumbly and crisp when cut into. The walnuts gave an extra crunch and the raisins added sweetness to the pie. I actually took the time to pile up the apple slices in a circular motion, hoping that it will give a beautiful presentation but by the time it was baked, the juice from the apples cooked with the sugar and formed a thick and gooey coating all over which rendered the apple slices unnoticeable from the sides. The amount sugar that I used here gave a tinge of sweetness and extra sugar may be added if the sweet tooth prefers.
1 lb all Purpose Flour
10 oz Vegetable Shortening (refrigerated & cool but not cold)
1 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp Cold Water
1 egg beaten (egg wash)
Extra vegetable shortening for greasing the pie dish
1)Sift the Flour and sugar together. Cut the vegetable shortening into small pieces and drop them into the flour mixture.
2)Using hands or food processor, rub the vegetable shortening into the flour till resemble very coarse crumbs. Ensure that all the flour is coated with the shortening, working on it no more than 5 mins.
3)Slowly add in the water and gather the dough to form a ball. Knead for 1 minute and place in a plastic bag and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
5 to 6 large Apples (skin peeled and slice and quartered thinly)
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Corn Flour
3 oz (75g) raisins
6 oz (150g) chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1)Mix and stir all the ingredients together till well combined.
1)Grease a 10 inch baking pan with vegetable shortening. (Or in this pie, use an 8 inch round spring form pan)
2)Take out dough and cut into 2 parts. Return 1 part to the plastic bag. Roll out the other dough and line the pie dish. (Or trace the bottom of the springform pan onto the dough and use a knife to cut around it and place the cut out dough inside the 8 inch pan).
3)Spoon the filling and distribute evenly onto the pie dish/cake pan.
4)Roll out the remaining dough from the plastic bag and cover the filling. (Or, roll out the dough and once again trace the bottom of the springform pan onto the dough and cut out and place on top of the filling and pinch the dough to the top sides of the pan to completely cover the filling).
5)Preheat oven to 375F and place rack at the lowest part of the oven.
6)Bake for 1 hour & 30 mins. Take out every 30 mins and brush some egg wash on the surface of the pie.
7)Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan on rack for 30 mins before serving.
Serves: 10 inch pie (8 persons)/ 8 inch pie (5 to 6 persons)