I spent my day off yesterday preparing for the onslaught of pie orders that will be coming in for Christmas. When I was home for Thanksgiving, I went to the local orchard with my mother and bought half a bushel of Braeburn apples. Because who doesn’t need that many apples? Also, I subscribe to CSA farm box program and this week, apples were one of the fruits in the box. Needless to say, I was sitting on a hefty amount of apples.
With the abundance of apples, I decided to slice and core them and freeze them in bags to use later for apple pies. Since one of the bartenders at my night job bought pies for Thanksgiving, she has been talking me up to literally everyone, I have had a lot of inquiries about pies for Christmas. I’d rather be ahead of the game than scrambling to meet a deadline.
I have frozen apples in batches before and used them through out the year for apple pie. I always precook my apples before I bake them off in the pie. I like how the pre-cooked apples melt in your mouth and they ooze that extra bit of flavor as well as their shape holds up while the pie cooks.
To freeze my apples, I core them and keep the skins on. I know, I am weird. I have this fabulous apple corer and cutter contraption that my mother got me, which I always use. It cuts the core out and the apple into 10 slivers. I feel like these are the perfect size of apple chunk for a pie and am always happy with the results. The apples I had were all about the same size, medium to large, so I cut 5 apples per freezer bag. In a large mixing bowl, I added a gallon of cold water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. When I cut the apples, I added them to the water solution to soak for a minute so they don’t turn brown.
Once I cut all 5 apples for the bag, I took all the slices out of the water and let them drain for a minute in a colander. While the apples were draining, I started cutting the next round of apples. I did this until all the apples were cut and bagged. I laid the bags on a sheet tray and popped them in the chest freezer.
When I’m ready to make an apple pie, I’ll put out one bag and get to cooking!
Apple Pie Filling:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.
- 5 large apples, I prefer Braeburn.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar.
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
In a large sauté pan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the apples from the freezer and stir in the apples to coat all the chunks with the butter. Stir the apples every so often to evenly cook them. You’ll want to do this for about 2 to 3 minutes. While the apple chunks are bathing in the butter, mix the allspice, cinnamon, kosher salt, and sugar together. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples, stirring to combine everything. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. During this time, whisk the flour and cornstarch together and after the 5 minutes, sprinkle over the apple concoction in the pan. Stir the apples consistently for 3 minutes. You will see the liquid in the pan to start to thicken up a bit. After stirring for 3 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, add the apple cider vinegar and stir in completely. Transfer the apple mixture to a sheet tray and spread out so the apples can cook before using them in the pie.
My mum’s pie crust recipe:
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour.
- 1 pinch kosher salt.
- 1/2 cup Crisco, chilled.
- 2 tablespoons ice-cold water.
Mix the flour and the salt together. Add the Crisco to the flour mixture. Using your hands, blend in the Crisco until there are pea-sized chunks of flour and Crisco. Add the 2 tablespoons of water and continue to mix until the dough just comes together. You may or may not need to add more water if the dough is still a bit too crumbly. I like my pie dough a little more sticky than usual because I know I will be rolling it out on a heavily floured surface. Keeping the dough sticky, allows the dough not to be dried out before you roll it out and therefore making it a bit difficult to work with.
Turn the pie dough out onto some plastic wrap. Wrap the dough up in the plastic wrap and mold into a round, thick disc. You can either put the dough in the fridge to rest for up to one hour, if you are planning on making a pie later in the day. If you are planning on making pie much later, wrap the dough disc up again and pop that puppy in the freezer. I never keep my dough in there for more than 6 months. Plus I’m always baking some sort of pie and go through the dough like nobody’s business.
This recipe makes enough dough for one 9″ pie tin. When you are ready to roll it out, make sure the surface you a rolling on is well floured, as well as the rolling-pin too. Roll the dough out so when you put the pie tin on it, it is 1.5″ bigger all the way around. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and place onto the tin. Press the dough into the tin and trim the edges if necessary. You are not required to pinch the edges of the dough if you do not want to. When the dough is in the tin, place the tin in the fridge to rest and chill for another 30 minutes.
Bake per the instructions of your recipe.