Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Apple Pie

Historians are academics who learn about past societies through the examination of artefacts. In a sense, the uncovering of a treasured clay pot circa thousands of years ago is akin to digging around one’s trash and unearthing a prized plastic jug. Then, by definition, I am a historian, having spent an hour of my life doing the latter late Thursday night.

Don’t worry, there’s a story behind this.

Ironically enough, it all started with my desire to take enriched world history instead of academic. In order to fit the enriched class into my timetable, I had had to switch English classes and subsequently, switch teachers. I ended up in Ms. M-‘s class and in order to win brownie points, I joined her installation art club. It’s a pretty awesome club, aside from the fact that I have to go through people’s trash periodically.

Last time, it was plastic water bottles that we were looking for. Luckily, the recycling bins at school were filled to the brim with plastic water bottles. This time, though, we needed large plastic containers with handles, like laundry detergent jugs. “It’s not that difficult,” Ms. M- said. “Just look through the trash on garbage day; honestly, no one cares.”

Well, the people walking across the street probably didn’t care enough to call the cops on my cousin and me sifting through other people’s blue bins, but they did credit us with strange looks, quickened footsteps, and whispered comments. Surely two teenagers who are prowling the streets at night looking through their neighbours’ trash can be up to no good.

After a good hour walking around the neighbourhood in the dark , we finally amassed enough containers. The next morning, I brought the containers to school. Of course my teacher was away and I was stuck with two garbage bags filled with recyclables that would never, ever, fit into my locker.

It was not a good day.

But this apple pie? Totally made my day better. One bite of buttery, flaky, pie-crust-y, apple-y goodness erased all the dull memories of trudging up and down four blocks in the cold. There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as making old-fashioned apple pie, except, maybe, making bread.

Click below for the recipe.

Apple Pie

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp to 10 tbsp cold water as needed
  • 8 cups peeled and sliced tart apples, (I used 8 Granny Smith apples)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 egg whisked with 2 tbsp cold water for brushing
  • turbinado sugar for sprinkling


For the pastry: combine flour with salt. Cut in butter and shortening until mixture is a roughly even crumbly texture.Add lemon juice and water and blend just until dough comes together. Shape into a disc, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

For the filling: toss all ingredients except butter together and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of dough to just under ¼-inch thick. Lightly dust bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with flour and line pan with dough. Fill pastry with apples and dot top with butter.

Roll out remaining half of dough and place over apples. Trim and cinch edges of pie and cut in holes in top layer of pastry to let steam escape. Brush top of pie with eggwash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 °F and bake 40-50 minutes more, until filling is bubbling and pastry is golden brown. Cool pie for at least an hour before slicing.


  1. Gorgeous pictures, Kyleen! Your recipes and pictures are always so good. Your red with white polka dot pie plates are awesome!

  2. I want this pie! NOW! I'm too lazy to make pie dough, so I always just make tarts... I find it easier and less fussy. So, whenever I eat someone else's homemade pie, I am always in awe. There's nothing better than homemade dough, the store ones are awful!

  3. I wish I could take a bite of that pie, it looks soooo yummy!. I could devoure half in one bite for sure.

  4. Yum! It's been forever since I've made an apple pie. This looks great!

  5. I loved your intro. I find it very comforting working with yeast doughs, pie dough sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out. But I love a good apple pie and yours looks fabulous.

  6. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful apple pie. Looks so enticing that I want to eat a slice. Now. :)

  7. Hi Kyleen - I love Granny Smith apples! (funny as well because my grandmother used to be, literally, known to me as "Granny Smith" since that's my last name :) ). They really do make a fabulous pie thanks to their tartness and higher acidity. I love the look of that crust too - really pretty, especially with the sugar on the top :)

  8. I love a classic like this! Beautiful as always.

  9. oh i love a good apple pie! i usually favour an all-butter shortcrust pastry, though yours does look beautifully flakey. Granny smiths are perfect, but I always use a mix of different varieties of apples just for the fun of it(:

  10. oh, and where did you get your plates from?? they're gorgeous!

  11. Glad to hear that the apple pie brightened your day, Kyleen! Baking always makes my day better!

  12. Haha digging through that is something I have never done to earn brownie points with a teacher. I am impressed.

    This apple pie is just gorgeous!

  13. that's the way and apple pie should look like, and I'm glad that it made your day better


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