Friday, March 25, 2011

Make Your Own Mix: Apple Pie Filling and Pie Crust

So I heard today that pie is the new cupcake.  I am excited because I love pie.  This is my favorite pie dough recipe.  I find it is easy to work with and taste great.  If you prefer you can switch out the butter flavored Crisco for lard, butter or regular Crisco.  I like the butter flavored Crisco because it makes the crust a nice golden brown color and it gives the crust a slight butter taste.  I don't use butter very often because I have a hard time getting butter the right temperature. It is either to cold or it is to melted.  I really like lard for pie dough but I have a hard time finding a high quality lard on a regular basis. 

This recipe came from a homemaking class my mother attended years ago. I don't know who originally taught the class but I sure love the recipe.

In this pie dough recipe you are instructed to mix the fat into the flour with your fingers.  I love this method it makes great crust. If you are not sure you want to get your hands dirty it is fine to use your pasty blender or a food processor, just know that the dough will be harder to work with.

This apple pie filling recipe is one of my favorite mixes to have on hand.  I know it is not a mix in the traditional way of thinking but for me it is something I can do a head so there will be less work later.  So I count it as a mix.  Apple pie is wonderful to eat but often a little labor intensive for every day use.  Each fall we make a batch or two of this great filling.

Pie Tips

This Method   is fast and efficient, but it’s speed needs to be treated with caution. Use 1-2 second pulses rather than letting the machine run. Have all fats ice cold or frozen. Combine the dry ingredients in the food processor; process for 10 seconds. Cut fat into ½” chunks and scatter over dry ingredients. Use pulse bursts until fat is the size of peas. Drizzle ice cold water over top. Pulse until dough begins to clump into small balls. If the dough adheres when squeezed, it is ready to use.

Baked Pie & Tart Shells:  Place on cookie sheet and freeze (don’t wrap). When frozen, wrap or place in freezer bags and return to the freezer. To use, unwrap and heat in moderate oven (375 degrees F.) for 10 minutes. May also thaw unwrapped at room temperature.

Unbaked Pie & Tart Shells:   Freeze dough in the pie pan. When solid, pry it out of pan and freeze. May stack with waxed paper crumpled between crusts for easier separation. Package in freezer bags anad return to freezer. For single crust, unwrap and bake in very hot oven (450 degrees F.) for 5 minutes. Prick crust with fork and continue baking until browned (apx. 15 minutes).  

Storage: The recommended storage time for unbaked pastry is two months. For baked pastry it is 4 to 6 months.

Pie Filling:  When fresh fruit is in season it is a great idea to make a little bit of pie filling to freeze and use later in the year.  My favorite pie filling to freeze is peach.  To freeze fresh pie filling: Line a pie pan with several layers of foil.  Fill with pie filing. Freeze until solid. Pop the frozed filling out the the pan and place in a Zip Lock bag or wrap well with foil.  Label and return to the freezer.  When ready to use make pie crust. Place frozen pie filling in pie crust and bake.


Recommended Varieties:    Apple, peach,, blueberry, mince, strawberry, or rhubarb freeze well. Cherry pie may be frozen only after baking.

Unbaked:  Do not make slits in the top crust. After pies are frozen, cover with a second pie plate (protect from crushing). Wrap with moisture proof film and return to the freezer. Use within 2 months.

Baked:  Cool baked pies to room temperature. Wrap with moisture proof film and return to the freezer. Use within 4 months for highest quality.

Thawing:  If frozen unbaked, remove wrapping and make slits in top crust. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 10 minutes, cut vents in top, bake for 20 minutes longer. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until juices bubble and crust is golden brown. If frozen baked, remove wrapping and let thaw. Bake at 350 degrees F. until knife inserted comes out warm (apx. 15 minutes)


Heather's Favorite Pie Dough
Makes enough mix to make 6 single pie crusts or 3 double pie crusts

In a shallow bowl place:
6 cups of flour
3 cups of Butter Flavor Crisco
3 tsp salt

Mix together with clean fingers until the mixture resembles corn meal. (At this point you can put the Mix in a zip lock bag or other air tight container and use store until you are ready to use it.)  Or you can use it right away.
Add 1 ½ cups water.  Fold together to form a soft ball of dough.  At this point the dough should look marbled. Divide into 6 sections.  Roll out one section into a large circle.  Hold pie pan over circle to make sure the dough is about 2 inches larger then the pie pan.  Place dough in pie pan. Fill with pie filling.  Roll out another circle and place on top.  Seal and crimp edges. I find it easiest to crimp the edges if you first tuck the dough that is hanging over the edge of the pie pan under so you have a mound of dough to crimp. 

Bake Unfilled Pie shells for 8-10 minutes at 350.
Bake filled double crust pies for 1 hour at 350.

Bottled Apple Pie  Filling--This really does set up into  a slice-able pie if you let it cool, we can never wait that long so it is a little runny looking in the photo.

Peal apples; slice and put into quart bottles, about 6 or 7.  Pour syrup over apple.

10 cups water
4-½ cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1-cup cornstarch
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Bring to a bubbling boil; add 3 tablespoons lemon juice plus 3 drops of yellow food coloring.

Seal and process 20 minutes.