Sunday, September 11, 2011

Apple Pie

I think it's funny that apple pie appears in Harry Potter. When I studied abroad in England, the manor staff threw us a Thanksgiving feast, and they attempted to make apple pie. And though their efforts were valiant, the apple pie was terrible. Their response was, "there's a reason the expression isn't 'British as apple pie.'" But nonetheless, apple pie is the next item in our list of desserts served at the first Hogwarts feast:

"Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding..." (Sorcerer's Stone 125).

I adore pie, and nine times out of ten I will choose it over cake. So I'm very excited to use the excellent recipe found in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.

For the Crust, You Will Need:
2.5 cups Flour
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1.25 sticks butter, cut into chunks
10 Tbs vegetable shortening, chilled
1/2 cup ice water

For the Filling, You Will Need:
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (yes, you really need 7 minimum)
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing over the crust
extra sugar, for sprinkling over the crust


1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Scatter the chunks of butter and shortening over the flour and pulse about 20 times, until the mix resembles coarse crumbs with no white bits.


3. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle on the 1/2 cup water, and mix with a spatula or your hands until the dough sticks together. If it's too dry, you can add more water 1 Tbs at a time (better too wet than too dry).
4. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours or up to 3 days (yes, you really must wait 2 hours-- I didn't, and it made my life very difficult).
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Pull out one of the dough balls and roll it out on a generously floured surface into an 11"-ish circle. Try not to make it too big, or you'll end up with way too much dough leftover.
8. Fold the circle in quarters to lift it, then unfold it inside your pie plate. Trim the overhang to about 1", and place the plate in the fridge while you make the filling.


9. Combine the filling ingredients (except the egg and extra sugar!) and mix well.


10. It is recommended, though not required, that you transfer the filling to a saucepan over medium heat and simmer it for 15-20 minutes to remove some of the liquid (this also means you might bake it 30 minutes less). After doing this, I deviated from the book! I scooped the apples out of the liquid and back into the bowl to cool, and let the liquid continue simmering, stirring occasionally, to create a syrup, which I poured back over the apples in the pie, so as to lose the excess liquid but not flavor :)


11. After they are cool, pile the apple mixture onto the bottom piecrust, mounding them up in the middle (I didn't use enough apples to do this... 8 just looks like so much when cut up!), and then drizzle your syrup over them if you're using it.


12. On a very floured surface, roll out your second dough ball into a 10"-ish circle. Fold it into quarters to lift and then unfold it over the pie.
13. Trim the excess even with the edges of the pan and fold the extra from the bottom crust up, and crimp with a fork or your fingers to seal them together. If you like, use the dough trimmings to decorate the top.


14. Beat the egg and brush over the crust with a pastry brush. Cut slits in the top to form air vents. Sprinkle the extra sugar generously over the top (I forgot this part until it was almost done baking, so it never really crystallized, oops).
15. Bake the pie on the bottom rack for 1.5-2 hours, until the crust is golden (and the filling might be bubbling out the vents). Dinah Bucholz recommends placing a baking sheet under the pie pan to catch any potential drips.


This pie is delicious! It really does almost melt in your mouth. No wonder the House Elves serve it at Hogwarts' opening feast!


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