Friday, March 14, 2008

KISS Apple Pie: Yes, that stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid

Happy Pi Day
Happy Pi Day, people, or in this case, Pie Day!

Here's my story and I'm sticking to it. The other half loves pie. If she could have birthday pie instead of birthday cake, she would. And actually, she does. AdRi is a pie aficionado. There are several rules in the pie playbook at Casa de Lelo y AdRi:
• Pies must be made from scratch. Storebought pie crust? Why even bother.
• Pies must not be super sweet. If making a pie from a recipe, cut the sugar short. You want to taste the fruit, not the sugar.
• Which brings us to fillings: no chocolate cream butterscotch pies. Good pie is about the fruit. Which brings us to…
• Fresh local fruit in season makes the best pie. Peach pie in August? You betcha. Blueberry pie in June? Delish. Apple pie in September or October? Devine. Which brings us to the eternal question…
• Who uses canned fruit pie fillings? Yuck.
• Freezing above described local fruit is perfect for winter pies.
You may be scoffing at the rules. Alas, they are ours and ours only. But that means there’s been plenty of focus on perfecting fruit pies, to our own tastes, and I like to think we’ve got it down.

First of all, props go to Shuna at eggbeater for introducing her piecrust technique and recipe. It's a keeper. I swear by it now, and have written about it here on the blog before, along with step by step photos. Super simple ingredients, but freezing everything, along with the bowl you make your piecrust in, is ingenius and effective. Butter, flour, salt, sugar and ice water: the best, flakiest and easiest piecrust I’ve come across, it’s all about the technique.

And for the Keep It Simple, Stupid Apple Pie? Also known as KISS Apple Pie? It’s all about keeping it simple and using the best ingredients. And this is perfect for mixing those delicious Hood River valley heirloom apples like Elstar, Gravenstein, Lubsk Queen and Spitzenberg, with a little bit of spices and sugar, and baking up a pie full of perfection.

Follow the links above for the crust. As to the filling:
8 cups of sliced, peeled apples (once sliced squeeze half of a lemon over them to keep them from turning brown)
Mix together…
½ cup sugar
1 T cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, a shake of nutmeg or allspice and a smidgen of cardamom
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Then mix into the apples, tossing to coat. Prick the bottom crust of your pie with a fork, then pour in your apple mixture. Add your top crust, pinch the edges and cut a few vents for steam to escape, then bake in a 425 degree oven for one hour. After 40 minutes, check the pie and if the edges are darkening, throw a few pieces of foil over just the crust edges to prevent them from burning.

About the pan: I love my stone pie pans. I’m confident that my bottom crusts will be cooked through when I use them.

Thank you, Alana, for inspiring Pi Day! Go check out the other pie recipes and while you're there, poke around her site. Lots of great recipes and ideas. Happy pie!

Update: Welcome to all of my visitors from Serious Eats, and thank you for recognizing my photo as Photo of the Day!
And check out where else my photo shows up today!


sarah gilbert , cafemama said...

hear, hear! no storebought pie crusts here. now, will it be apple or pear pie tonight...

Anonymous said...

I really believe there are pie people in this world and cake people. I'm a cake person. There are also chocolate people and candy people. And knitting people and quilting people. Who's into a cage match?

Kathryn said...

I've never made a pie crust--I confess I buy them premade. Perhaps you can show me sometime???

Anonymous said...

I hereby adopt your rules as official rules of Pi Day. Well except for the one about no cream pies. But they're excellent rules, for sure!

Thanks so much for playing along with such spirit, it means the world to have your pie contribution.

A Lewis said...

So, do we get to have homemade vanilla ice cream with it? Or is that breaking the rules? Because I'm a definite lover of the stuff. Looks fantastic. Fresh peach is my favorite!

Unknown said... much to ship a pie? LOL i LOVE apple pie..:) thanks for sharing!

witchtrivets said...

My pie is in the oven. I have no dinner to go with it, but after reading this post, I had to make my apple pie RIGHT NOW. I blame you for my apple pie dinner.

Anonymous said...

I would be baking a pie right now, but I am just not confident enough in my crust making skills to make one solo. It's too bad, because J is a pie person and could really use (and deserves) a pie.

Rozanne said...

As always, I am in awe of your fluting skills!

That is one beautiful pie! And I'm totally with you about those rules. Make it local and make it from scratch.

Unknown said...

3.14- Pi day-- I love it. My father taught me to make pie crusts years ago. It's the only way to go. Canned pie filling is absurdly sweet and non-fruit like. I'm with you- it's all about the fruit.

Lisa said...

I totally agree that fruit pies should not be supersweet and that canned fruit pie fillings are anathema.

And congratulations on being recognized for Photo of the Day! Your photo is gorgeous. The light and the apples...well, it makes me hungry just looking at it. Lucky I have a homemade apple pie in the kitchen right now. It's not that pretty but, it's made with granny smith apples and is fairly low in sugar so I know it will tart and tasty.

Happy Pi Day!

Unknown said...

A fine set of rules. The American fruit pie stands at the apex of civilized eating. I have eaten desserts in a number of foreign countries and none compare.

Shandy said...

I absolutely LOVE what KISS means! Ingenious! Your pie is beautiful and thank you for the links for both the pie crust and step-by-step photos. I am always looking for alternative pie crusts to go with my different recipes. BTW, I also love your blog. . .Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Yum. I'm going to make a pie tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

From my late cousin, Travis, pie-lover extraordinaire: “I like any kind of pie. I like ‘em all — pumpkin, lemon meringue, apple, cherry, blackberry, chocolate. One kind I don’t like, though. Cow Pie.”

The boy is eating pie in heaven now, I just know it.

I perfected a great pie crust -- it's from that French lady, Madame Kamman. It's pretty simple, even though it's, you know. European and chic. Of course I forgot to write it down.

And... (since I think this comment should be a tiny bit longer) I've got Girl Scout cookies for you over here, Lelo. What do you think about the occasional cooky?

Karolcooks said...

My one addition to your pie - which looks DIVINE - is after you toss your apples, put them in a pot and let them cook a little until the juices are thick (you COULD leave out the cornstarch too) and then put it in the pie. This makes the sugars come out of the apples (hence, less sugar)and makes a spectacular pie. I vote, PIE-OFF!

Sara said...


another experiment idea - try apple cider (freshly pressed of course) rather than water in your pie crust recipe. :)