Last week I was asked by the editor of Grow Northwest magazine to shoot a cover photo for their November-December issue. The catch? I’d need to bake an apple pie. Oh, darn.
Although I like other apple desserts and baked goods, I’ve never actually been that fond of apple pie. This is probably because I’ve never put much effort into baking them – if I’m going to go to the trouble to make a pie I’d rather it be rhubarb or pear-custard or blackberry. But I had a big bag of apples left here by my parents, and I wanted the photo to look like an apple pie – tall and rounded and golden – so I put some back into it.
I made my usual crust – two heaping cups of flour, a pinch of salt, a stick of butter, and ice water – but added my last spoonful of leaf lard to give it a little extra oomph. I based my filling on Kate McDermott’s recipe, which uses ten cups of apples, half a cup of flour, half a cup of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, but I added a pinch of cardamom as well and completely forgot to add vinegar or butter. I shoved as many apples into the crust as I possibly could, then draped the top with dough – it made an impressive dome. I brushed the top crust with milk and sprinkled a little sugar on, for prettiness. I still had apples left, plus the dough I trimmed off the pie, so I made a little galette in a small skillet and baked that alongside.
It was easily the most successful apple pie I’ve ever made. The apples (mostly Jonagolds and Goldens) were flavorful but not juicy, so they stayed intact in the pie and didn’t shrink too much. The crust was flaky and totally non-soggy, and the pie sliced beautifully.
I spent the rest of the morning taking pictures of the pie and sending them off for approval. I couldn’t eat the pie until I was sure the assignment was done, of course, but I ate the galette – it was fabulous. And we ate the pie for dessert that night, with homemade vanilla ice cream, and for breakfast for days afterwards.