Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall favorites

Well technically this is the first time I tried this recipe.  I had a bag of pears and some leftover apples and thought, can I make a pie using both?  Sure can!  I used this recipe...  Spiced Apple and Pear Pie from Food Network.

I opted to make my own pie crust only because I didn't have the store bought variety on hand!  But honestly, it takes just a few more minutes and you have homemade dough!  If you have a food processor, it's even faster. 

Always start off with cold cubed butter:

Leave it in the fridge until you are ready to use.  In the food processor but in your flour, sugar and salt.  Then add 1/4 cup of the cubed butter and pulse.  When that is incorporated, add the rest in small amounts until the mixtures resembles peas.

Not quite peas but you get the idea.  Than add one beaten egg combined with very cold water.  Notice the ice cubes in the water.  You want it very cold...  It makes for a flakier crust if the butter stays cold.

Add this to the butter, flour, sugar mixture in the food processor and pulse until combined.  Then turn out crust on to plate.  It should look something like this. 

The best option is to turn it out on to plastic wrap but I'm out for the moment.  So I formed it into a ball and put it in a gallon plastic resealable bag.

The dough needs to chill for at least an hour.  Perfect amount of time for mid-baking cleanup and preparation of the apple and pears!

Peel, core and cut apples and pears into 1/2 inch slices.  Mix with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, lemon juice and nutmeg.  I put it in a tupperware container with a top and shake the mixture to distribute the sugar and spices evenly.

Then on to the stove.  Cook the apples and pears with some butter and flour until you get a compote like consistancy.  After cooking, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

The mixture needs to cool completely.  If you are in a hurry, put over ice.  That's what I did!  Quick cool down.  While cooling, take out your dough from the fridge and cut in half.  One for the bottom crust, one for the top crust.

Don't forget to flour your surface well and your rolling pin.  Look, it's so easy even my 2 year old son can do it!  lol 

The best way to roll out pie crust evenly is to start rolling from the middle and to turn the dough and roll from the center out again. It ensures that you get a circle, or at least close to a circle and since you keep turning it, you know it's not sticking. The worst is when you get your circle perfect and then try to lift and it tears because it sticks. Keep turning and rolling the dough and it will prevent that from happening.

Roll out the first disk for the bottom of the pie dish, add the cooled filling and then roll out the second disk for the top crust.  Trim the crust to about 1/2 inch beyond the dish for crimping.  I'm absolutely horrible at this.  I blame my nails...  But the main idea is to pinch the bottom crust to the top crust forming a seal so all your delicious filling doesn't bubble out!

Follow up with a little egg wash, sprinkle of sugar and some steam vents and into a 375 degree oven it goes for about 55-65 minutes.  Check on it about half way to make sure it isn't browning too quickly. 

If the pie is getting dark quickly, cut off some aluminum foil and drape around the edges of the pie.  I have a pie ring that I use.  Put the aluminum foil or pie ring on after baking 20-30 minutes.  If you put it on while the pie crust is raw, the foil will stick and it will tear the pie apart when you attempt to take it off after baking. 

So hopefully after 55-65 minutes, you'll have something that resembles this:

Mmm...  And yes it is delicious as it looks, especically with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!