Nailed it or Failed it: Blue ribbon apple pie really is a winner
By Sarah Condley
I found today’s recipe in one of my “to make someday” folders.
The recipe was from Sharon Thompson’s Lexington Herald-Leader food article, but I do not have the date.
You may ask “who is Brenda Wilson?” Well the article said she is a Frankfort woman who won first place at the Fourth of July Festival’s Great American Pie Contest. Thompson also mentioned that Wilson had won five of eight Fourth of July contests (at that printing).
I decided to make this recipe after Andy, a co-worker, gave me 10 apples — five Granny Smith and five red ones of an unknown variety. When he gave them to me on Friday, I told him I would make an apple pie and bring it to work Monday. He was all for that.
On Sunday afternoon, I decided I would get to work on the pie. Since I didn’t have enough apples for the upside down apple pie I wrote about several months ago, I started looking through my dessert recipe folder for anything using apples.
I knew if I found something besides an apple pie recipe, Andy would not be disappointed. I found a few recipes, but most of them called for more apples than I had.
I settled on today’s recipe after I weighed the apples and discovered I had 2.5 pounds. The recipe calls for three pounds, but I figured it was close enough.
I have a really good pie crust recipe, but I stayed true to this recipe and made the one Wilson provided.
After mixing the flour, salt and Crisco, I just used seven tablespoons of water. The reason I decided on seven versus nine tablespoons of water was because my pie crust recipe calls for three tablespoons.
Since this recipe was for a double crust, I just figured a little more than doubling the water would be about right.
After adding the water, I was glad I didn’t use nine tablespoons — I think that would have been way too much.
I laid out some plastic wrap, floured my hands, then scooped the dough out of the bowl and formed a ball. I placed the ball on the plastic wrap, wrapped it up and put it in the refrigerator.
This was a new step for me since my recipe doesn’t call for refrigerating the crust.
After putting the pie dough in the refrigerator, I was ready to start making the filling. I looked at those 10 apples and decided I would use my apple peeler/corer/slicer device.
I knew it would make a sticky mess, but it would be faster than doing it by hand, and everything would be done in one step. The device hooks onto my counter top; after securing it, I got started.
After the second apple was peeled, juice started dripping down the cabinet and onto the floor, so I grabbed a dish towel and put it on the floor to catch the rest of the drippy mess.
When all the apples were peeled, cored and sliced, I combined the dry ingredients and poured them over the apples. I stirred everything up until the apple slices were coated then got the pie dough out of the refrigerator.
I divided the dough in half, rolled out one half and lined my pie plate with it. I poured the apples into the crust and placed the sliced up stick of butter on top.
I rolled out the second half of the dough slightly bigger than the first one and put it on top of the apples. I folded the edges together and then cut a few slits in the top for steam to escape.
I put the pie in the oven and set the timer. A few minutes into the pie baking I got my oven liner out — the one Brad got me for Christmas. I put it on the oven rack beneath the pie thinking it would catch any over flow from the pie.
As the pie baked, it filled the house with wonderful scents. When the timer sounded, I peeked into the oven, without opening the door, and decided I wanted the top crust to brown just a tad more. After 10 more minutes, I opened the oven door. Light-colored smoke came pouring out.
Unbeknownst to me, the lovely oven liner didn’t catch all of the apple pie overflow and the bottom of my oven was a bit of a mess.
I pulled the pie out and set it on a cooling rack.
I poured salt on the gooey mess in the oven hoping it would absorb everything. When the oven was cool, I tried wiping up the salt and goo. Though the salt trick did help, it didn’t absorb all of the apple pie filling juice so I spent a good 20 minutes cleaning it up.
That evening after we had supper, and the pie had time to cool and set, Brad and I decided to have dessert.
We had homemade vanilla ice cream in the freezer. What’s apple pie without vanilla ice cream?
I cut each of us a slice of pie and put a dollop of ice cream on Brad’s and two dollops on top of mine.
Before I could get my portion ready, Brad had already taken a bite of his and said, “This is good pie.”
After eating all of mine, including the two scoops of ice cream, I decided I like my crust a little bit better, but overall, I did agree with Brad that this is good apple pie.
I took the rest of the pie and some of the vanilla ice cream to work for Andy and my other co-workers. Kendal was the first to dig into the pie and he said it was good, Courtney was next, and though she isn’t supposed to eat that kind of stuff, she said the little piece she tried was very good. David liked it, too. Shannon had a piece and was like “Sarah, oh my, that was so good, that crust was buttery, flaky goodness.” Andy thought it was delicious.
So with my co-workers’ blessing, I nailed this recipe and it will go into my self-made cookbook alongside the upside down apple pie recipe I have.
Pastry (do not double):
— 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
— 1 teaspoon salt
— 3/4 cup Crisco
— 7 to 9 tablespoons ice water
— 3 pounds cooking apples, peeled and sliced
— 1 cup sugar
— 3 tablespoons flour
— 1 teaspoon cinnamon
— 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
— 1 stick butter, cut up
To make crust: Place flour, salt and Crisco in a bowl. Blend with a pastry blender until mixture is the size of peas. Add all the ice water at once. Flour hands and work the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Chill while the filling is being made. Split dough in half to make two crusts. Roll out to fit pie dish.
To make filling: Combine apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place into crust-lined pie dish. Dot with butter and top with second crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.