Sunday, March 17, 2013

Celebrate Pi Day with Pie!

So March 14 was Pi Day in the US and even though Mr. K and I live in France, we still thought it a propos to celebrate it!  Therefore, I pulled out my handy-dandy Amish and Mennonite Cookbook (which is my all time favorite cookbook!) and flipped through the pie recipes, all the while keeping an account of what I actually had on hand. I stumbled across an apple pie recipe that I had never tried before:

Looks simple enough and yummy too!
So away to the ingredients I flew! For this pie I used Pink Lady apples (about 7 because I had a 10" pie plate here and I like my pies a little "bombée" or heaping). I love Pink Lady apples too. They have a great texture for cooking or for just chomping. They're tart, but not like a Granny Smith, and they have the right amount of sweetness and crunch factor. All in all, a very excellent apple if ever there was one! Plus the upside that I can find them a plenty in Gif!

I made a simple crust (you can do the easy-no fail pie crust in the book,which is amazing, your favorite pie crust, or just use a store-bought one) and set it aside. Waiting.

It looks so sad and lonely.
Then I proceeded to follow the recipe:

Apples peeled and pared and cut into chunks
Delicious and beautiful too!

I added the flour, sugar and salt to the apple bowl. I mixed the apples and the dry ingredients with my hands to fully coat all sides of the chunks and then poured them into my eagerly awaiting crust.

This looks so good.
I may or may not have snitched an apple cube at this point.
Testing your ingredients along the way to make sure there is no poisoning going on is a must, in my opinion...

Most people would stop here for a regular apple pie, put a second crust or crumble over them and bake. But not me! I wanted to see this baby through to the end. So setting aside the less lonely looking crust and apples, I tackled the filling.

Filling, custard, cream, etc...any name will do really.

Before whisking it together, I managed to take a picture:
Look at the pretty colors!
And then you whisk it up and you have this:
Not so pretty, but you know it'll taste good. Vanilla makes everything taste good.
You then pour your filling over your pie crust filled with apples like so:

I try to make sure it goes over all the apples, so I move the drizzle around as I pour.

It should look like this when you're done drizzling:

Then you pop this pie into your preheated oven set to 425F (220C) for 15 minutes. No more, no less.
It will look like this after the 15 minutes, which I like to call "first baking":

You then lower the temperature to 350F (175C) and bake for 30 minutes. You may find you need to cover your crust to prevent it from browning too much. Aluminum foil works wonders for this if you don't have a pie shield.
While your pie is in the oven for "second baking," it's a good time to make your crumble topping.
I love crumble tops.  They look so elegant and are sooooo easy to make. I hardly measure the ingredients anymore. But, for the sake of accuracy, I followed the recipe.
Here's the before picture:
Cinnamon, sugar, butter, and flour. Those are the usual suspects.
Mix them up until you have a wet sand texture, like so:

Your pie will be about done now. When 30 minutes are up, pull the pie out of the oven, and carefully set it somewhere you can sprinkle with ease. A wooden cutting board or a baker's cooling rack are great choices.
After "Second baking"
Put your crumble on. Set the pie back in the oven for "third baking" and bake it for 10 minutes at 400F (205C) to lightly brown the top.
During this time, your house will smell utterly delicious and the aromas will make you very hungry. Just warning you.

It should look like this when you're done:

At this point, Mr. K came home. His first words were not "Hi honey!" or "I'm home!" Nope, they were, "Mmmm...pie!" And that, my friends, is how you know you've baked the pie correctly. *smiles*

You know, when I was first dating Mr. K, he didn't like pie. No, really! But you would never know that now. It has become something of a delicacy...especially if I make him his favorite Cherry-raspberry Crumble Pie.

Anyway, back to the post.

You can serve this pie warm with some vanilla ice cream on top, a la mode. You can serve it cold as a late night snack. Or, you can serve it with a little dollop of whipped cream. Anyway you serve it, it's bound to be a crowd/husband/boyfriend/family pleaser.

Happy Pi(e) Day, folks!

Until next time, enjoy your pies!

A chemist-turned-housewife celebrating Pi Day with a pie!
What could be more perfect?

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