Two words: Apple Pie. When paired together, these two words can be some of the most powerful words in the English language. Apple Pie is the President of pastries, the Danny Zuko of the T Birds, the Babe Ruth of baseball. It made its mark in this country as soon as the English colonists landed in North America and brought with them their English customs and favorite fruits (scoop: apples were also known as the winter banana or “melt in your mouth”… sexy). Ever since, it has served as a symbol for all American pride. Apple Pie, like America, is dominant, its intimidating, it emits an extreme sense of patriotism, and it makes us all long for our mommies (weird.. but true). When done right, it also happens to be extraordinarily delish and the slightest sniff of its unmistakable scent can make the strongest of men weak in the knees.
On a not so similar note, Apple Pie also has the ability to make every ambitious baker weak in the knees. This is not because Apple Pie might just be our kryptonite, but more so because it is one of the most intimidating tasks to take on in the kitchen. I’m not saying it’s too difficult or complicated a feat, because it happens to be quite simple, but it’s APPLE PIE! Come on people! This pie was replicated in the 19th century by American pioneers when apples were obsolete using only spices and soda crackers! We are so entralled with this dish that, in 1935, Ritz Crackers made this our official emergency recipe if, heaven forbid, apples disappeared again. There is a lot of pressure around baking this pastry. Due to its lasting impression in our culture and due to the fact that it’s so attached to the notion of MOM, if you want to bake this masterpiece from scratch, it better be just that, a masterpiece. If you don’t deliver, baker, be prepared to reap the consequences… utter disappointment… from MOM.
If you do dare to attempt the Apple Pie, fear not. The Scoop is prepared to provide you with some guidance in your endeavor…
1) The most important thing to remember before you bake is this: Don’t be scared, it’s just a pie crust. Seriously, it’s as easy as that. Loosen up, jump up and down, play your favorite pre game song, and just get to baking. The crust is the step that sends us dangerously close to an anxiety attack, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
2) The next most important thing to remember is to keep all of your ingredients cold. Constantly cold. REALLY cold. I made the mistake of being careless the last time I baked my pie and it came out OK, but after the pie I made this past weekend, I promise to never neglect my fridge or freezer again. Before I even started I froze my utensils. It was a lot of work, a lot of back and forth, and I’m sure I killed some brain cells in the process, but it was SO worth it.
3) Another tip I’ve picked up along the way is to make an all-butter crust and use Land-O-Lakes unsalted butter. Please just take my word for it. I do the research, you do the baking.
4) And my last vital tip for baking an Apple Pie is this, when prepping the guts of your pie, use a blend of granny smith and macintosh apples. I’ve used this combination time and again and it has NEVER failed me. Though my dough may not always be perfect, the filling is always on target.
I have to say that I was most excited to share my Apple Pie recipe with you this year. I put all of my heart, soul, and energy into this puppy and I am damn proud. I went so far as to climb INTO the apple tree and shake down my apples. (True: I did go into an apple tree and shake down apples. Not True: These apples weren’t used in my pie, though they could have been!) On any note, baking an Apple Pie is a perfect way to honor the fall and our country as we glide into the holiday season. True to the phrase, “As American as Apple Pie,” there isn’t a more nostalgic, heart warming, or deeply American treat that I can think of. It requires a lot of work and a lot of love, but can be customized to suit an array of taste buds and it conjures up memories that last a life time.