My mission today…to make dessert for our weekly Sunday night dinner group.
I thought I had it easy. Pumpkin bread was the obvious choice, which is my go-to, standby dessert that I can make without even thinking and that everyone loves. Unfortunately, when I went to the pantry, I didn’t have any pumpkin and I didn’t have the time or inclination to make a trip to the store. So I improvised.
I had apples in the fridge. Apple pie is easy! There’s even an idiom that says so! Hmmm…no pie crust in the freezer, so I was forced to make homemade.
Pie crust isn’t really difficult, it was just one more thing to have to deal with. Sigh.
So to make your own pie crust, put 2 cups of plain flour in a bowl and add about a teaspoon of salt. Mix it around with a fork. Then put 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a measuring cup and add another 1/4 cup cold milk. Pour both into the flour at one time and mix with a fork until dough forms. Once all the flour has been worked into the dough, divide it into two pieces. Be careful not to overwork the dough, or your pie crust will be tough!
Put one piece on a large piece of wax paper, cover with another piece, use a rolling pin to roll it out very thin. Of course, you can also put the dough directly into the pie plate and press it out with your fingers, if you want. I like to roll mine because it has a more uniform thickness, but it doesn’t really matter.
If the crust breaks, just use your fingers to squish it back together. If the edges are a little short of reaching the top edges of the pie pan, just squish them up the sides. Anything that is hanging over the edges can be pinched off and repositioned wherever you need it. Don’t worry too much about it being pretty . . . remember you are going to be covering this crust up with filling and then adding a top crust!
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke the crust with a fork a few times so it won’t puff up and put it in the oven to bake for a few minutes. (Go ahead and put it in while the oven is preheating. It won’t hurt anything and it will make you feel all green and energy-efficient.)
While the crust is pre-baking, put a little lemon juice in the bottom of a bowl and start peeling apples. For a deep dish pie, I use 5-6 medium sized apples. Peel them and core them, then cut them into bite-sized pieces. As you cut them, put the pieces into the bowl of lemon juice and stir them around to coat with the juice to keep them from turning brown.
Take the bottom crust out of the oven when it starts to feel dry — about 6-7 minutes. Put the sliced apples into the crust and dump some sugar on top and stir it around to coat them. Today, I used about 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar. Then add about a tablespoon of cinnamon and stir it around.
Since I decided I wanted to be a little adventurous today, I then added some dark brown sugar on top of that, along with a few pats of butter. Finally, I threw about 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips into the mix. (I didn’t really measure any of this; I just added it until it looked right to me. Just be careful not to use too much sugar or your pie will be too runny.) I have never used dark brown sugar or butterscotch chips before…I just had a moment of inspiration.
Roll out the second crust (it has to be rolled, since it goes on top of the pie) and lay it over the top of the pie. You should have apples domed up in the middle and the crust will lay over them. Pinch the edges of the crust together, then top with a few pats of butter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake in the oven at 400 for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the crust begin to brown. When that happens, turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake until a fork will easily pierce once of the apple pieces inside the pie — about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the apple pieces.
Keep an eye on the crust while it is baking. If the edges start looking too brown, put a piece of foil over just the edges.
Let the pie cool so the juices will thicken. Or don’t. But if you don’t, don’t try to use a paper plate because the juices will soak right through the plate. And wouldn’t you hate to waste any of the yummy goodness that is this pie?