Monday, March 21, 2011

Easy as Apple Pie

Everybody needs a handful of simple recipes that can impress guests without a lot of fuss. This is one of them -- it is predictably delicious every time I bake it. This is an extraordinary treat when apples are at their peak in the fall, but I couldn't wait that long to share this.

My childhood neighbor, Mrs. Roessing, created this recipe years ago. I've never tasted a better apple pie. I've used her filling recipe, and Bette Hagman's pastry recipe for a winning GF/DF pie.

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Tender Vinegar Pastry
From Bette Hagman’s “Gluten-Free Gourmet” cookbook.

1½ c. rice flour
½ c. potato starch flour
¼ c. tapioca flour
     (or use 2-1/4 cup of your favorite GF flour blend -- Bob's Red Mill works well)
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 t. xanthan gum
¾ c. shortening (Spectrum Non Hydrogenated Shortening is good)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. vinegar
2 T. cold water

Sift flours, salt, sugar and xanthan gum into a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening. Blend together egg, vinegar and cold water. Stir them into the flour mix. This will seem quite moist, but a rice crust needs to be more moist than a wheat flour one. (I simply combine all dry ingredients into a food processor, pulse to "sift", add shortening and pulse to "cut in," then pulse again to mix in egg/liquid). Knead the mixture into a ball.

Separate into two balls and roll, one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap. Remove one sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie tin. Remove final plastic wrap sheet.

To bake a pie crust to be used later, bake in preheated 450° oven for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 crusts.
(Double the recipe to freeze extra pastry dough -- flatten into quart-sized Ziplock freezer bags.)

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Apple Pie Filling
1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1½ t. cinnamon
8c. apples, peeled and thinly sliced
     (5-6 Granny Smith or Mutza apples)
1 T. butter

Mix together dry ingredients for pie. Toss with apple slices. Pile apples in crust. Dot with butter. Cover with vented crust or lattice.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

Done when juices are boiling and apples are tender.

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Try variations based upon available fruit. 
One day I only had 5 cups of apples in the house, so I substituted 3 cups of frozen blueberries -- it was spectactular.

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