Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day! Celebrate with Our All-Time Favorite Apple Pie

Happy Pi Day! Celebrate with our All-Time Favorite Apple Pie!

March 14 is Pi Day, the official celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi), the number that represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It's a geek's holiday, and one I was extremely ecstatic to find out about this morning, when I was planning on making this pie later today anyway! 

You can celebrate Pi day by making and/or consuming pie, or by watching Pi or Life of Pi and maybe Waitress too. What? It has pie in it! That counts, right?

Dutch Sour Cream Apple Pie with a Streusel Topping:

We have a few fruit trees left to us from the farm's previous owners,  but when we moved it was too far into the fall for us to identify what types of fruit trees they are. As spring comes we're excited to identify what types of fruit trees and what varieties to expect, and hopefully bring with us to the Farmer's Market with us! Our fingers are crossed for some Granny Smith Apples for our all-time favorite apple pie. 

Best Pastry Shell 

I've tried a fair amount of pie shells in my day: butter, cornmeal, shortening, graham cracker, oreo, you get the idea. But for your basic, flaky pie crust that's not too hard and not too soggy, I always find my way back to this shortening-based pie shell recipe. 

-1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-3/4 cup vegetable shortening
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 large egg
-1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
-2 1/2 tablespoons whole milk

1. With a pastry blender or a fork, combine flour, shortening and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal. 

2. In small bowl, mix egg, vinegar and milk; add to flour mixture, mixing only until dough holds together in a ball. If the dough is too sticky, as in sticking to the sides of the bowls and shaggy looking, add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time. If its too dry and not coming together, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time. 

3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Let warm up a bit, then roll out, transfer to a pie dish and prepare the pie shell. 

Dutch Sour Cream Apple Pie:

-1 9-inch Pastry Shell
-1 cup sour cream
-1 large egg, lightly beaten
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-6-8 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples 

1. Prepare the pastry shell and set aside. 

2. Preheat oven to 425. Place a lined cookie sheet on a rack below the pie's rack, this pie is prone to overflow.

3. Peel and core your apples, 8 apples is usually enough. This pie works well with smaller filling (6 cups, like the one pictured) or overstuffed with 8 cups of gooey sugary apple bits.

 To speed up the coring and slicing we like to use a hand slicer. Thinly slice these apple slices and set aside in a large bowl.

4. In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, egg, vanilla, sugar, salt and flour, stirring until well blended. 

5. Stir this mixture into your apple slices, mixing thoroughly. Transfer to your prepared pie shell. 

6. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. 

7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Meanwhile...Make your Streusel Topping: 

Streusel Topping:

-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
-2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

1. Combine all topping ingredients, blending with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. 

2. After the pie has been in the oven for 40 minutes, take it out and put the streusel topping over the pie. It should be lightly browned on the crust and apple tips at this point.

Starting to set and browning on the edges.

3. Stick the pie back in the oven at 350 degrees for another 15-20 minutes. 

4. Pull out and let cool for 10-15 minutes, then enjoy!

*To make the pi, roll out extra pastry shell, cut three rectangles and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake on a  at 350 degrees until golden. 

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