Written by Diana of Spain in Iowa.
The temperatures are dropping and school has officially started. This is my first time as a parent with a child at school and I have to admit, the first couple of weeks I was heartbroken. I missed my little guy during the days and what made it worse, he was having a rough time being away as well.
Now that he’s adjusted and quite happy to be in kindergarten, I’ve been on the upswing. I have found myself with more time on my hands and, in this season, there is nothing more relaxing than baking an apple pie.
All photos by Diana Bauman
With my 3 year old at home, we’ve been able to turn up the music, dance and bake. There’s so much freedom and peace in listening to good music and playing in the kitchen.
What’s even more rewarding is that the older boys are happy to see what you’ve created after a long day of school and work. I’m starting to enjoy these school days and the season in which I have found myself.
So, with fresh local apples at every farmers’ market (or your neighbor’s tree) let’s have some fun. Let’s bake an apple pie!
First Things First, Let’s Make Our Own Pie Crust
With only a few simple ingredients and a food processor, making a pie crust can be simple and quick to make.
This is my go-to recipe for a buttery, rich, flaky crust. A traditional French Pâte Brisée.
For a perfect crust every time:
- Keep all ingredients cold
- Do not over process the dough
- Use ice-water
- Allow your finished dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour
For my pie crust, I grind my own whole wheat grain using soft white wheat berries. This is what you would find at the store called Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. In my opinion, store bought whole wheat flour does not compare to milling your own grain at home. It’s much heavier and in my opinion, gritty. If you do not grind your own grain, I would suggest using an unbleached all purpose white flour.
**For a video tutorial for this pie crust, head over to A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa and join me in my kitchen as I mix it up!**
Ingredients for a two crust pie:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 6-10 tablespoons cold water (This is quite a gap in measurements, however, since I use freshly milled grains, it’s much lighter and I only need around 6tbls of water. If you’re using store bought flour, you will most likely need anywhere from 8-10tablespoons)
1. In a food processor combine the flour, salt and sugar. Blend to incorporate.
2. Cut the butter in small pieces, making sure to not handle it too much. Your hands will give off quite a bit of heat and it’s important to keep your butter as cold as possible.
3. Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse 6-8 times or until the mixture resembles a coarse grain. Do not over process.
4. Add 1 tablespoon at a time of water and pulse. Continue to do this until the dough just begins to hold together without being wet or sticky. Again, do not over process.
5. The dough should not stick together in a ball-shaped form. It should just begin to hold. Once you’re at this stage, empty the dough “pieces” onto the counter and shape quickly into a rounded ball. Divide into two balls.
6. Quickly shape each piece into a disc and wrap in plastic. Do not overwork.
7. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.
The dough will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or frozen for up to a month.
Let’s Bake a Naturally Sweetened Apple Pie
Now that our pie crust has been made, putting together a filling for apple pie is a breeze. What’s great about this version is that it uses real maple syrup as the sweetener. Its sweet maple flavor lends itself beautifully to the apples and cinnamon; no one would ever guess that a granulated sugar wasn’t used.
- 7 large local apples, (Some prefer tart, others don’t. It’s up to you which variety to use), peeled and sliced thinly
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsps melted butter
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3 tbsps flour
1. While peeling and slicing your apples, place in a large bowl and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Make sure to toss the apples in the lemon juice as you keep adding them to the bowl to prevent from discoloring. Once all the apples have been peeled and sliced, add the butter and maple syrup to the bowl. Mix well.
2. In a smaller bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Add to the apples and toss to incorporate.
3. Roll out one pie crust and line into a pie dish. Add the apple mixture into the pie crust, making sure to drizzle any remaining liquid on top.
4. Roll out the top pie crust, cutting out any decorations into the crust.
5. Carefully, lift the top pie crust and cover the pie. Pinch the sides of the pie closed and sprinkle with organic sugar.
6. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F and continue to bake for an additional 40-45 minutes.
Allow to rest for at least 1 hour before you cut through. The liquids will thicken as it cools.
What’s your favorite dish to make or treat to bake while jamming to your favorite tunes in the kitchen?