I don’t know about you, but winter is one of my favorite seasons for cooking and baking pies. Pies of all sorts: sweet pies and tarts, savory pies and tarts, quiches, hand-held turnovers or pasties, vol-au-vents, pissaladiere, pithivier, tourtiere, cobblers and crumbles – with crusts of every kind, shape and texture.
There is something very soothing about assembling a pie. Deciding though as to what kind to make is quite another story. Should it be homemade or ready-made? Do we want a galette, a bundle, a tartlet, a strudel, a triangle? Should we make it deep-dish, free-form or crustless? Low fat? Is it filo or Phyllo? And is Shepherd’s Pie really a pie?
If we go the savory route, there is always the traditional use of pastry to top off a delicious smooth and creamy chicken pot pie chuck full of winter friendly root vegetables as is the mouth-wateringly tempting wrapping of Brie and a medley of mushrooms in sheets of buttery Phyllo. If we go the sweet route, there is always the ever-popular Lemon Meringue pie, cherry strudel, or Baklava even.
I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking let’s keep this simple. Good old-fashioned apple pie will do it any day of the year – and my motto is the easier the better! So, here is a recipe for a “No-Peel Apple Pie” that I discovered about 20 years ago in a holiday insert of Better Homes & Gardens. When you make No-Peel Apple Pie, you can skip the apple-peeling step. Select apple varieties with tender skins like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, or Jonathan and use a ready-made piecrust and voila! Old-fashioned, but easier apple pie!
1- 15-ounce package folded refrigerated unbaked piecrust (2 crusts)
6 large apples
½ cup water
2 TBS lemon juice
½ cup sugar
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1½ TSP apple pie spice
Whipping cream or milk
Coarse and/or granulated sugar
Whipped cream (optional)
_ Let piecrusts stand at room temperature according to package directions.
Meanwhile, core and slice unpeeled apples (you should have about 8 cups).
Combine apples with water and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl; toss to coat.
_ For filling, stir together ½ cup sugar, flour, and spice in a large mixing bowl.
Drain apples well; add to sugar mixture and toss gently to coat. Set aside.
_ Unfold one piecrust. Place on lightly floured surface. Unfold the second crust and place on top of the first. Roll the two crusts together from center to edge into a 14-inch circle. Ease the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate, letting crust hang over the edge.
_ Spoon apple filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Fold the pastry up and over the filling, pleating the pastry to fit. Brush crust with whipping cream or milk. Sprinkle the pie with coarse and/or granulated sugar. Cover the edge of the pie with foil to prevent overbrowning.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 30 minutes more or till crust is golden. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Serve pie while warm with whipped cream, if desired.
Makes 8 servings.