If you were to ask me what my favorite pie was, I’d probably give you a few answers like blueberry, cherry, and chocolate. But what usually comes up on top is good old homemade apple pie. Perhaps it is because of the spices, or the flaky pie crust, or that when I’m eating it I know that it must be fall.
I’m typically not very good at making pies. I think the primary difficulty for me is the pie crust. Pie crust is tricky for me because you have to make sure it’s not too sticky or too dry, and you have to be able to roll it without ripping it or turning it into a shape that doesn’t quite go with a round pie pan. I’ve been practicing lately, though, and what you’re going to get here is my second successful try (yes the first was also successful) at apple pie. Of course, my mini apple pies were also quite successful, if I do say so myself.
Pastry Crust (for a two-crust pie)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups apples (8 medium), peeled and sliced
Note – if you like a spicier pie you can increase the cinnamon and nutmeg to 1/2 teaspoon each.
For the crust:
In a medium-sized bowl add your 2 cups flour.
Then add the salt.
Mix together. I personally like using a whisk because I’ve found it mixes more thoroughly than just a spoon.
Next cut in the vegan butter with a pastry blender or a couple of knives.
For this recipe I’m using Earth Balance Buttery Sticks. I actually really like using stick butter if it’s available because it means I can be lazy and follow the measurement guides on the wrapping. Usually when a recipe calls for 1/3 cup of butter I have to figure out how many tablespoons it is since I typically have the Earth Balance or Soy Garden that comes in a tub.
Once you’re done cutting in the butter it should be pretty crumbly and look similar to this:
Sprinkle the mixture with 1 tablespoon of water at a time and mix with a fork. You don’t want to add too much water, so it’s best not to dump it all in at once.
Once the pastry seems wet enough, but also not too dry, you can finish mixing it together with your hands.
Gather the pastry into a ball then divide it in half. Shape them into two flattened rounds, wrap each individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for about half an hour. Refrigerating the pastry makes it much easier to roll out, and it also makes the pastry more flaky once it’s baked.
Once it is ready to roll out take out one of the rounds, and place it on a floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on top as well.
Begin to roll out the dough.
Roll out the dough to a size that is at least an inch or two larger than your pie pan.
Carefully remove the pastry dough from the floured surface, being careful not to tear. Here I am using my rolling pin.
Place it into a pie pan, and press against the bottom and side of the pan. If you have areas of the pan that are not covered you can use extra pastry dough to fill them in.
Cut the excess dough from the pie pan and reserve.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the filling:
In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Again, I’m using a whisk to make sure this is well mixed.
If you have not already done so, prepare your apples.
I am using locally grown apples from my community supported agriculture group, and to be perfectly honest I don’t know what these are. They are on the sweeter side, though. If these were tart apples I would probably use closer to 1/2 cup of sugar.
Mix the apples with the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add the apples to the pastry-lined pie pan.
I decided to do a lattice for the top of this pie. It’s not as hard as you would imagine, but it probably does take a little longer to put together than if you were to just put a single layer of pastry on top.
The first thing you do is roll out your remaining dough, then cut into thin strips – depending on how perfect you want this to be you can get as specific on the width as you want, or if you’re like me you’ll just eyeball it. My strips were probably about 1/2 inch width or a little smaller.
Take half of your strips and lay them evenly on top of the filling that is now on the bottom pie crust.
On one far edge of the pie pan fold over every other strip, then take a fresh strip and lay it near the edge of the pie pan and fold the strips back over.
Fold over the other remaining strips of dough, and lay a fresh strip of dough on top, and fold the strips back down. Keep repeating this and ideally you will have a perfectly woven pie crust.
Once you have finished weaving, cut the over hanging pie crust strips flush with the edge of your pie pan, then push together the layered pieces of crust to ensure that it stays together when you slice the pie after it has baked.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Check on the pie after about 30 or 35 minutes and turn it if it seems to be getting too brown in the back. You can also alternatively put tin foil around the edge of the pie to make sure the edges don’t burn, then when you have about 10 or 15 minutes left of baking time you can take the foil off to ensure the edges get fully baked.
Take it out of the oven when it is done and let it cool, or you can serve while it is still warm.
By the way, you may have extra pastry dough left over. You can use it to make mini pies, or you can be lazy and indulgent and roll it out, slice it up and bake it as is. Yum. Pie crust.
I always seem to like to do things the hard or more complicated way, but it is usually worth it in the end. The first time I did this type of lattice pie crust I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out, and I thought, hey – this isn’t as hard as it looks. It’s truly not that time consuming either, even though when you present it to your friends or family they’ll likely wonder how you had time to put it together.
The pie itself tasted really great. The spices were pretty light and definitely not overwhelming, and the apples were very nice despite the fact that they were not tart like apple pie apples are usually supposed to be. I’ll probably make this again since it isn’t that difficult to make. I will say that this pie could have probably used another apple or two, but still, it was pretty close to fantastic.