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Easy as Apple Pie?

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Easy as Apple Pie."

I have apples that need to be used up quickly. I decided to try my hand at apple pie. I've never made apple pie before, but the saying convinced me that I should try it. Because it's easy.

I first peeled, cored and diced apples. Some people don't like cooking because of the prep work. I love it. I use it as a time to self reflect. Introspect. Soul searching. While I cored and diced my apples, I came to peace with my recent situation with job loss and failure to land a new job.

I mixed 2 tablespoons of cinnamon/sugar blend, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and a tablespoon of melted butter with the diced apples.

Difficulty: Easy

Next I took a roll of pastry dough. Yeah, I totally did NOT do this by scratch. I have a handicap when it comes to baking anyway. Really no need to push the envelope at this time. If this whole process with premade pastry is easy, then next time I can tackle from scratch.

Difficulty: Very easy.

Remember my cute little baking pots? They're back! I placed the dough inside my baking dishes. It took me a minute to figure out how to get the dough to line the pots. I figured out the secret is to cut it into a circle, then cut triangles in four corners. This allowed me to fold it into a cylinder inside the pot. I lined the pot and poked holes into it. I blind baked at 350F for 20 minutes.

Difficulty: Moderate. Figuring out how to line the pot with pastry took a minute of trial and error.

I planned to make a lattice to go on top of my single serve apple pies. I thought it would look nice. I read online how to make a lattice top, and I cut strips from leftover dough.

Difficulty: Easy. My carving knife was the perfect length to cut straight strips.

Fiance was sniping bits of apple and eating them with walnuts. They were delicious. He had the idea to add toasted walnuts. I sauted crushed walnuts in butter.

Difficulty: Easy.

When I took the pots out of the oven, I discovered the pastry shrunk. Arg. I just tacked in extra pastry on the edges where the pastry shrunk. I filled the pot with apple bits. I should have diced the apple even smaller. Topped with the walnuts.

Difficulty: Hard. I didn't know the pastry would shrink in the blind baking. Apple chunks were too big for my little pots. I could have packed more apples in with smaller dice.

Then I attempted the lattice. I read that you just keep making crisscrosses, and you get the awesome lattice. Well, I got 3 or 4 rows, then I got lost. Umm. Need more practice.

Difficulty: Hard. I need video to demonstrate. I didn't catch on to the pattern.

I gave up, and just made a flat top to cover the apple filling.

Difficulty: Easy. Just roll a flat pastry, use a ramekin to cut a circle, put it on top, and poke holes.

Baked for 35 minutes. I made dinner while they baked, until the tops were lightly browned.

Difficulty: Easy. They were ready to cool by the time dinner was ready to eat.

The verdict: My pie filling was too dry. I forgot to add moisture so the apple chunks would float in a yummy apple filling. I used way too much pastry. It was unnecessary to line the dish all the way with pastry. Just a pastry top would have been enough, since the idea was to serve it in the pot.

Easy as Apple Pie? Where did this saying come from? Was it meant to be ironic? And I didn't even make the pastry from scratch!

Easy compared to what? Easier than churning butter?!

I will try it again so I can correct my mistakes. But I'm definitely busting this saying as 'bunk'. Unless it is meant to mean it's not really easy. From my experience, saying 'easy as apple pie' means something moderately challenging and time consuming that may be easy with practice and skill!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I just cut up the apples, mix in with cinnamon and a hint of sugar, a dab of butter and a pinch or two of flour, mix and throw it in the microwave. EAsy.
    3367 days ago
    I made a filling on the stove with diced apples, water, and just a little sugar. It came out with a consistency much closer to what I was expecting. Baking the apples in the pot the way I was doing it wasn't going to work, probably because of the small scale. Thanks for the tips!

    I'll post what I changed tomorrow. It's much easier!
    3369 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/1/2011 4:40:20 PM
    I think the saying is "Easy as PIE"
    Pie is easy to make, I've seen my mom make some delicious pies... And all it takes is fruit, sugar and dough! Mmmm... but I agree... all of the ingredients are carby.

    I can't see pie fitting itno a low-carb diet... Unless you try making meat pie without crust! LOL
    3369 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your experience with photos - I really enjoyed it! I believe pie making was easier in the "olden" days when they did it all the time. Nowadays, since we don't do it all the time, so we don't have everyday to practice, tends to be a bit more difficult. Did you follow a recipe? Might not be a bad idea for the filling! Better time next time! emoticon
    3369 days ago
    You could add a little applesauce (no added sugar). That would make it a little more juicier.

    Great first attempt.
    3369 days ago
    I love the idea of the individual pies. I just canned a bunch of apples in apple juice with the idea that they will become pies or crisp someday. I'll have to remember this approach.

    Maybe you could cook the apples a bit in advance to get them to release their juice. As they soften, they'll also take up less space.
    3369 days ago
    I've got another idea. Why can't you use apple juice for the liquid? We liked the flavor of the apples and cinnamon as it was. I also liked that the apples were a little firm. It was just too dry. I'll try adding a little liquid mix to it. I've got apples left to use up, so I can try either today or tomorrow.
    3369 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/1/2011 8:38:02 AM
    I'm not a baker either, but your finished product looked delicious!
    3370 days ago
    You definitely need to sugar the apples and let them macerate in a strainer/colander for a while. This not only gets the apples softer, but it also keeps you from cutting into the pie only to discover an inch-wide gap between the crust and filling. I know it doesn't really fit into the low-carb life style, but, well... that's why most folks on low carb don't eat pie.
    3370 days ago
    Is it the sugar? Arg. I was trying to make a low sugar pie. I find most commercial apple pies and recipes to be sickeningly sweet. Not to mention the low carb thing. There must be another way.
    3370 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/31/2011 9:17:53 PM
    maybe you didn't put enough sugar on them to draw out the water?

    we also slice our apples, so there's more surface area.

    In any case, my biggest problem is getting cinnamon and sugar levels right. for some reason, I just can't taste it and tell how it will be when it's cooked.
    3370 days ago
    I have a baking disability. I can't help it.

    Maybe my apples were too old and dry?
    3370 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    You made me chuckle reading this-I have never pre-backed the liner on a fruit pie, just put it into the pie pan, added the filling and a topper and baked! However, it was quite interesting to read your blog and how you attacked this. Normally the apples make juice with the sugar and I add tapioca to get it to thicken, but again, I make a big pie so adjustments might be needed in a smaller version. Anyhow, I hope next time it is Easy As Apple Pie!!!
    3370 days ago
    maybe they mean easy as eating apple pie.

    not sure why your filling was dry. I usually find that the apples shed juice, so that you have to scoop it into the pie when you add apples.
    3370 days ago
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