Apple Pie is known for being a symbol of patriotism. This sweet and comforting dessert has woven its way into the hearts of the American people – but the big question is how and why?
The very first emergence of the apple pie recipe actually dates back to the 1300s in Europe. Historians believe that apple pie didn’t officially begin making an appearance in America until the Civil War era. Soldiers would scavenge for apples and bring them to local bakers to turn into the delicacy we know and love. By 1902, the New York Times had proclaimed apple pie to be “the American synonym for prosperity”. Apple pie then began consistently appearing in print along with the phrase “American as apple pie”. World War II soldiers also began referencing the popular dessert by stating that they were fighting for “mom and apple pie”.
Today, this golden brown shell filled with tart apples has a permanent spot on the dining room tables of families across America. We indulge for Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, birthdays or simply for a picnic on a nice sunny day.
Award Winning Apple Pie Crust
The most important part of a quality apple pie is having a perfectly golden flakey crust. You can buy a pre-made frozen crust from your local grocery store, but we recommend making one from scratch. Although it’s a lot of hard work, it’ll be worth it the moment your guest’s take that first bite, their eyes glazing over with admiration.
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)
1 cup of very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (2 sticks)
4 to 8 tablespoon of ice water
* There are two different ways to prepare your crust. You can use a food processor or do it all by hand. We’ve included the steps for making your crust by hand, but if you’re looking for a bit easier approach, you can use your food processor.
Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar (optional) to a medium bowl. Stir 2 to 3 times until combined.
Scatter butter cubes over flour and mix briefly with a fork or spatula to coat the butter with flour.
Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender, working mixture until the flour has a coarse, mealy texture similar to fresh bread crumbs. About 1 – 2 minutes.
Add remaining 1 cup of flour. Work butter and flour with the pastry blender until flour is evenly distributed. About 20 seconds. (Dough should look crumbly with pea-sized pieces).
Sprinkle ice water over the mixture — start with 4 tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until dough comes together.
Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).
Rolling the Dough
Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour work surface, top of the dough and rolling pin. Then use a rolling pin to roll out dough to a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Be sure to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below — add a small amount of flour when necessary.
Check for size by inverting pie dish over dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish. To transfer dough to a dish, starting at one end, roll dough around rolling pin then unroll over a dish.
Gently press dough down into the dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough). Then, use a knife or pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the dish.
Fold edge of dough underneath itself so that it creates a thicker, 1/4-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside. Refrigerate dough at least 20 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before baking.
If making a double crust pie, do not crimp edges yet. Roll out second dough disc, fill pie then top with second dough round. Trim the edges then crimp.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack.
Roll out enough dough to make one 9-inch crust (1 dough disk). Place into a pie plate and then pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork (this prevent air pockets or bubbles from forming while baking). Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil. (Be sure to push foil against the edges of the crust). Then, fill foil with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Place pie crust onto a preheated baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.