Monday, May 9, 2011

Welcome Home Mitch (& If I Could Only Make Apple Pie Like Mom)

On Friday, Mitch returned from his latest business trip. Looks like he might be making that trip on a more regular basis, but not for as long as this last one.

Though I did enjoy the time I had to myself . . .  one less person to have to share the bed with (The cats only give me a sliver of space when Mitch is around), being able to watch E! News and Sex and the City without having someone ask me to switch it over to "see what the score is" (or watching one show at a time for that matter) . . . I was excited to have him home again.

I showed my excitement by welcoming him with an Apple Pie. I asked him what kind of pie he'd like me to take a stab at next after the cherry pie and he suggested apple. I was worried about apple, since I compare every apple pie to my mother's. She makes the best apple pie as far as I'm concerned. But I like to think mine came in a close second.

I also have to preface this by saying that I have never made an apple pie on my own before. And though this pie was far from perfect, it tasted great.

The crust was the same crust used in the cherry pie. Though I made it so quickly that I think I might have dumped in a bit of extra flour. It turned out fine but instead of a "flake-y" top crust, it was "crumble-y". It seemed to work, though, surprisingly. My top crust didn't roll out as well either so it didn't look too pretty when it went in the oven. But for this occasion, I wasn't worried about being judged, so I just went with it.

For the filling, I followed the handy dandy America's Test Kitchen cookbook. Oh how I love it so. They suggested using two different types of apples: 2 pounds of McIntosh apples and 1 1/2 pounds of Granny Smith. They didn't have McIntosh apples so I used Braeburns as a replacement for their sweet and rich apple flavor.

You core and peel your apples, slice them, and mix them in a bowl with 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. 

. . . or if you want to follow MY recipe, while you're adding the 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, have the top of the cinnamon jar fall off and dump a whole bunch of cinnamon in on accident. Then shrug and say "ah, whatever!" and keep on mixin'.

Where I went wrong with this pie (no, not the cinnamon, it was delicious, remember?) was the amount of apples used. I remember from watching my mother make apple pie that I knew she piled those apples in there. Lots of apples. And the recipe told me to really make a big ol' mound of apples in the center of the crust. But something in my brain told me that I had enough apples. WRONG! I totally could have used more.

Sometimes my brain leads me in the wrong direction. I give it credit for trying.

Anyways, like I said, the top crust didn't roll out as well as usual, so I just threw the thing on top, crimped the edges and cut some slits. Those slits could probably have been bigger too, but oh well. Slap some egg white and sugar on top and you've got a pie, simple as that.

Cooking the pie is very much like the cherry. Prep the oven at 500 degrees, with a baking sheet already inside. When the pie goes in, lower the temp to 425. Then after about 25 minutes, rotate the pie and reduce the temp once again to 375. Cook for another 30-35 minutes until it's nice and brown and bubbly. 

I think because I didn't use the correct amount of apples, they condensed and left a big ol' gap in the pie. But it was still good. There wasn't anything about it that made me want to vomit, so I consider it a success!

When Mitch came home I made him a pot roast. (He had mentioned how much he ate out at the hotel restaurant while he was on his trip, and as good as the food was, he was looking forward to home-cooked meals.) He enjoyed it.

Pay no attention to the cat beds that have taken over the couch in the background.

And then the pie.

He enjoyed that too.

Happy Mitch

We had to change into sweatpants because our bellies had grown twice in size after the meal.

But it was SO worth it!

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