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Apple Pie for the Soul

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Today marks a special day in the United States and I always think of the 4th of July (from the movies is all the experience I have!) as being filled with festivals with stalls selling apple pie and once the sun goes down out come the fireworks.

At this time of year apple pie is served with spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream and enjoyed while people enjoy the enveloping warmth of summer.

It’s made for visiting family and friends while people get ready for their afternoon barbecue’s.

Pie is a symbol of summer and pleasure in the summertime in America.

So it’s only fitting I give it a go.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Venice, California

Brandon, Mississippi

I’ve never had the pleasure of being in the land of the free in the summertime so I can only go by the smiles in movies or in pictures on my friends profiles.

Apple pie is a treasured American staple, it’s apart of their souls as much as bagels, pumpkin pie and fried chicken.

As it should be, from preparing the pastry to simmering the syrup this smells of warmth, comfort and joy.

While countless people will enjoy this throughout the free land, particularly on this day, I decided to try this recipe despite being thousands of miles away.

Apple Pie
Adapted from Joy of Baking
Serves 10

Ingredients:
Pastry Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup (120 ml) ice water
Apple Filling
2 1/2 pounds (1.1 kg) apples (about 6 large), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup (50 grams) superfine/caster sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind
1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour)

Directions:
Place the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and mix to combine.

Add the cubed butter and half the ice water and pulse to combine. Add in a slow stream more water until it holds together, you don’t want the mixture to be too moist.

Knead the dough until it is a smooth pastry, cut into halves and shape into a round disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Meanwhile, place the sliced apples in a bowl and add the sugars, lemon juice, rind, cinnamon and nutmeg. Take the half vanilla bean and slice in half, scrape out half the seeds and add to the bowl.

Mix to combine and set aside for 30 minutes or until there is enough juice to reach half a cup.

Remove one of the refrigerated pastry disc’s from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface, rolling out into a circle.

*The pastry will be quite difficult at this point so roll and turn consistently as it warms, this will not only allow you to work all sides evenly but also ensure you do not have it stick to the counter.

Press the pastry into the pie dish, removing any pastry that overlaps the edges. Wrap in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.

Remove the second disc and roll out to fit the top of the dish. Wrap in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425F.

Once the pastry has been refrigerated long enough, remove the base and top and set aside.

Place the butter in a saucepan and add the juice drained from the apple. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the liquid is a golden color and slightly thickened.

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Stir the cornstarch through the drained apples and pour the syrup through the mixture.

Spoon into the cold pastry and place the top, removing any stray pieces of pastry. Pinch the edges together and slice ‘breathing’ slits into the top of the pastry.

Place in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the apples feel tender when inserting a knife or cake skewer.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

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