Autumn holds sentimental value for me. I love it because of the traditions we have adopted over the years like the annual trip to Sonka’s Apple Farm for a train ride, the pumpkin festival at the Nut Tree, and my birthday celebration, usually involving delicious autumn food, some great California wines, family, and good friends.
As a child I disliked autumn and that emotion carried over into adulthood. But because it was Jim’s favorite season, I grew to love and embrace it too. The change from summer to fall are symbolic of life’s constant changes. I’m thankful that autumn gives us such beautiful weather in California and that we are able to be outside for much of it and embrace the beauty and colors it has to offer.
Shiree’s Apple Pie
This crust is the one I have been using for 30 years. I believe the reason its so good is because it has butter and Crisco. Butter for flavor and Crisco for flakiness. It is on page 411 of the original Silver Palate Cookbook.
I have added to and changed some of the techniques over the years but have found the amounts to be perfect. You will need a food processor with a metal blade (like a Cuisinart), an extra wide spatula (not the rubber ones you use for scraping bowls), a rolling pin, and a 9″ Pyrex pie pan (not metal).
2 1/2 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
8 T. butter
6 T. Solid vegetable shortening, chilled
5 to 6 T. ice water, as needed
Shiree’s apple filling
About 16 Granny Smith apples
juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. water
pinch of sea salt
3/4 t. cinnamon
dash of mace
3 T. butter
1. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of your food processor. Add the chilled butter and shortening in small chunks while the motor is running.
2. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add 5 to 6 tablespoons of ice water with a fork until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Dough should hold together.
3. Transfer mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and with the wrist part of the palm of your hand, rub the dough away from you in small palm size amounts until the coarse mixture resembles dough.
4. Gently and quickly form into two flat circles and place in plastic wrap in the refrigerator while you peel and prepare the apple filling.
5. Peel apples and slice into small pieces. Add lemon juice as you slice and toss occasionally. Stir in sugar, flour, water, salt, cinnamon, and mace. Set aside.
6. Remove pie dough from fridge, remove plastic wrap, and place on well floured surface. With rolling pin roll out dough into large even circles. With an extra wide spatula lift the dough and sprinkle a little extra flour occasionally so it won’t stick.
7. Fold dough over in half (this makes it easier to pick up) and place in a 9″ Pyrex pie pan. Carefully unfold. Trim off excess dough from the rim.
8. Spoon in apple mixture and dot with butter.
9. Roll out the second dough circle as before but place any excess dough underneath it. Sometimes the top dough doesn’t completely cover the pie so this little bit of extra dough helps.
10. Roll out top crust (and this is the hardest part) fold in half and place on pie. Unfold gently.
11. Trim off excess and fold under bottom crust to form a seal. Crimp.
12. Cut openings on pie crust, develop your own design. Mine hasn’t changed since the first pie I baked!
13. Bake on the middle rack at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes. If it hasn’t turned golden enough you can put it on the second rack from the top for the last 10 minutes but watch it so it doesn’t burn.
14. Allow to cool slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream.
15. I like a really golden top crust and always brush an egg yolk with a little water over the crust before I bake it.