Hello loyal readers! Thank you for being patient with us as we traveled through East Asia and went through a major move from China back to the United States! We have been in a whirlwind of events in the last few weeks – spending two weeks in Japan, then a week in Hong Kong, and finally flying back to Southern California. We’re back here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, so you can expect a lot more cooking in the future now that I’ll have access to a real kitchen.
A post detailing the highlights of our trip to Japan is coming soon. In the meantime, the apple tree at my parents-in-law’s house is bearing clusters of delicious, slightly tart fruit, and I had to make an apple pie to celebrate the season. Yes, apple trees do grow in Southern California, though only certain types are adapted to the warmer climate here.
I’m amazed by the sheer variety of fresh produce that is available in Southern California. I mean, not only is the food industry’s transportation system amazing, but there is just so much available locally and seasonally. My in-laws’ have grapefruit ripening slowly on the tree, loads of lemons, persimmons soon to be ripening, not to mention the large numbers of apples. Now THAT is local! Straight from your own backyard! That is something that as a Canadian living in a big city, I did not have the opportunity to enjoy, especially during the frigid winter months.
The crust was a tried-and-true recipe from this cherry pie that I made earlier this year, and the filling was somewhat adapted from this apple pie at SimplyRecipes, and turned out really well. It’s hard to go wrong with tart apples, a bit of cinnamon, sugar, and allspice, baked until bubbling and juicy.
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled and cubed
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice water (or more)
3 lbs apples (I used about 5 good sized ones)
3/4 cup white sugar (or a mixture of white and brown)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flour
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a bowl place the flour, sugar, salt and cubes of chilled butter. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, until largest pieces are about pea-sized. Add ice water little by little while mixing dough. When dough holds together when you squeeze it, it’s ready. Gather into a ball. Divide into two equal balls, wrap in plastic, and chill in fridge while making filling.
Peel and cut apples into chunks (I cubed mine to see how it would turn out, which made my pie kind of lumpy looking, so you might want to just slice them about 1/3 inch thick). Toss with sugar, cinnamon, allspice, flour and vanilla. Let sit while you roll out dough.
Take out one ball of dough and roll out into a 12-inch circle. Fit into pie plate. Mound pie shell with filling. Take out the other ball of dough and roll into a slightly smaller circle. Place over pie. Fold edges over and crimp to seal. Make a few slits in the top crust to let steam out.
Mix egg yolk with milk and brush over top crust of pie, but not the crimped edges.
Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes. Then lower temperature to 350 F and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Pie is done when juices are bubbling and crust is browned.