Monday, October 1, 2012

Apple Pie

My First Pie

For our first creation in Baking Arts at George Brown College was apple pie! This was made over two classes. We made everything from scratch, including the crust (it IS a baking class after-all! None of this “store-bought” business!), which we made last week and froze in order to make the pie yesterday.
I have made dough before, but not like this. The recipe called for shortening but it doesn’t freeze very well, so we used fat instead. You have to get your hands dirty for this, because you need to work the fat into the pastry flour by hand in order to get a flaky crust. Beware not to work the dough too much, otherwise you will end up with mealy dough, and that won’t be so nice.

Even the leftovers were yummy!
For the filling, we used Ontario grown Northern Spy apples. These apples are great for baking into a pie because they are nice and crisp and won’t get too soft from baking. Macintosh and Granny Smith apples aren’t very good in a pie for that exact reason. No one wants to eat mushy apple pie!

We added some lemon juice and lemon zest which I found gave a nice freshness to the pie. There was consent all around from my family that the pie was delicious! I had lots of fun making it and I’m very proud of the outcome.

Here is a modified version of the recipe we followed in class. It’s different than most recipes we follow in cookbooks because the ingredients are listed by weight in grams instead of by tsp, tbsp, cups, etc. This will make 2 pies.

Pie Dough
Pastry Flour                 750 g
Fat (or shortening)      500 g
Cold Water                 250 ml
Salt                              15 g
Brown Sugar               30 g


  1. With your fingers, rub fat (or shortening) into flour until reduced to pea sized crumbs.
  2. Dissolve salt and brown sugar together in cold water.
  3. Add to flour. Mix just enough to incorporate. Do not over mix.
  4. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Shape into a thick roll, cover and allow to rest for a few minutes before rolling.
  5. Divide dough into quarters.
  6. Roll two quarters to size and general shape of pie plate. Lift onto pit plate using a rolling pin. Save the remaining dough to roll out to make the top of the pie crust.
  7. Gently work the dough into the pit plate with your fingers, making sure the dough fits nicely. Cut off excess dough.
  8. Place pies and remaining dough in the fridge until the filling is ready.
Pie Filling
Northern Spy Apples  12
Lemon Juice                1 tsp
Lemon Zest                 1 tsp
Sugar                           500 g
Corn Starch*               50g
Cinnamon                    To taste
Butter                          60g

*if you are freezing the pies before baking, using Instant Modified Corn Starch

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Peel, quarter, core and slice washed apples. Sprinkle lemon juice over apples to prevent oxidization.
  3. Blend sugar and corn starch together. Add cinnamon if desired. Pour dry mixture over the apples, mixing thoroughly for even distribution.
  4. Take your pie crusts from the fridge and coat the rim with an egg wash (raw egg and water). Fill generously with apples, making sure to fill any gaps.
  5. Add some cubes of butter to the pie to add extra richness.
  6. Remove remaining dough from the fridge, roll out and place over the top of your filling. Secure the top crust to bottom crust and trim extra dough.
  7. Flute the edges and cover entire top with egg wash. Poke some holes into the top of the crust using a fork. This will allow steam to be released and prevent cracking of the crust while baking.
  8. Bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

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