You can FEEL the fall in this thing.
Last Friday night, I was hit with the compulsion to make myself and my roommates an apple pie. Even though I was literally banned from my kitchen back home at one point in my life, I thought I could give it at least a solid college try. And not to brag but… I kind of nailed it?
I’ll take a step back and say I nailed it because I didn’t make the crust and the recipe is really quite easy. But again, I’m kind of starting from near the bottom here, so everyone I know got a victory text with a picture of the finished product (captioned “PIE” in case they needed some more help). Below I’ll tell you how I, a kitchen buffoon, managed to make a pretty solid fall staple. I’m mostly cribbing from this recipe but I’ll include some more details.
- A 9″ to 9.5″ circular glass pie plate, which was weirdly hard to find? I eventually lucked out at Bed Bath & Beyond on 65th street.
- A big mixing bowl for the filling.
- Something to slice the peels off the apples with and an apple slicer (you don’t NEED one of those circular apple slicers, but it really helps).
- An oven.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
- IN THEORY, aluminum foil (I’ll get to this in a minute).
- 5 pretty decently sized to large honeycrisp apples from Trader Joe’s, though I’m sure a honeycrisp is a honeycrisp no matter where you get it. I’ve also seen that you’re supposed to make this recipe with 6 granny smith apples so the tartness is a better contrast to all the sweetness everywhere else, but I’m a honeycrisp loyalist. Your choice of apples is really up to you as long as you don’t use red delicious apples. Because fuck red delicious apples.
- Pre-bought pie crust, I used the Pillsbury stuff with a top and bottom crust in one little can thing. (You can also make your own, but if you’re at that level, why the hell are you reading this?)
- 3/4 of a cup of your roommate’s granulated sugar. It has to be your roommate’s to keep that communal spirit.
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. This can be your own. Also make SURE it’s 2 tablespoons—I almost used 2 cups before I realized my mistake (again, banned from the kitchen back home).
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Be sure to spend 40 minutes in Trader Joe’s looking for it only to ask one of the employees and have them tell you they don’t carry it, then text your roommate complaining about it, and then have them tell you it’s been in the fridge the whole time. This step is essential to build character.
- 3/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon.
- 1/4 of a teaspoon of nutmeg.
- 1/4 of a teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream, if you’re feeling fancy or like you’re willing to risk it melting on the subway. (I was not.)
- Bring the pie crusts out of the fridge and let warm to room temperature. While you do that…
- Thinly slice the apples into the mixing bowl. This is definitely the longest step. I would give my slices a slight bend to check—if it bent pretty easily, then it could go in the bowl. If not, it either got sliced thinner or I just ate it because I got hungry. The recipe I cribbed from doesn’t specify if you should slice the peel off—I did because it just felt right, but you probably don’t have to.
- Preheat the oven to 425º. It took me forever to slice the apples, and I didn’t want to leave the oven on longer than I had to because the room was pretty warm (woo no AC in 620!).
- Unroll the one of the pie crusts and press it into the plate. Try to have as much of the crust covering the plate as possible without stretching it out too much. Unroll the second one too, but don’t put it in the plate yet.
- Put the pie plate with the crust (and the extra crust) back in the fridge. Supposedly this helps make the crusts flakier.
- In the same big bowl as the apple slices, measure out the filling components: the flour, sugar, spices, everything nices, lemon juice, and salt. Mix really well until everything’s combined—you shouldn’t be able to see any separate ingredients in there (except for the spices thinly coating the apple slices). Taste tests encouraged.
- Take out the pie plate and scoop the filling into the bottom crust. Be sure to save what doesn’t fit because it’s a nice bonus for while the pie itself is baking.
- Unroll the second crust and drape it over the filling. Pinch the bottom and top crusts together with your fingers and tuck the top crust under the bottom crust as much as you can. This step does not have to be perfect for a functional pie, but for an aesthetically pleasing pie, take your time. (I went for the functional pie.) Then cut some VERY cute slits in the top crust so steam can escape and so Grandma can be proud.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. In theory you’re supposed to take the pie out halfway through and line the edges with aluminum foil so they don’t brown too much—hence the aluminum foil above—but I didn’t have aluminum foil and had NO will to go down to MoWill and get some, so I just skipped this step. Pie turned out fine anyway! (But you might want to do this step if you don’t want to play games with fate.)
- Cool for an hour to an hour and a half before serving. Seriously, it’s really hot. But after that, you’re done!
Image via Sarah Braner