On a recent day (Monday) I decided I would try my hand at making America’s most famous dessert, Apple Pie. A classic, a staple of every large family gathering from Thanksgiving to the Fourth of July and all the ones in between. Now, in my family, the two oldest generations bake the pies mostly because they’re the only ones who know how. Which I believe is a great oversight in the longevity of the skill of pie baking. Nearly everyone I now buys their pies instead of making them at home. While I now know this is certainly easier, I feel I learned a few things baking pies.
I attempted my first pie Monday, I didn’t have anything to do and I thought it would be a fun thing to try. So, I bought some Crisco and some apples and set to work. Now, let’s get this straight, pies are made with Crisco or lard, ok? They’re not made with some sort of weird “healthy” alternative. If I wanted a healthier option I just wouldn’t eat the pie, I’d rather have the fat of the truth than a lower calorie lie.
First up, pie crust. Honestly, it’s not even complicated. It’s very simple; flour, salt, milk, vodka, Crisco. Mix it all up and boom! Pie Crust. Only real issue with it is you can’t stir it too much or you jack with the final results flakiness. I tossed all my ingredients into my handy-dandy food processor, pulse pulse, done.
Rolling it out was a bit of a struggle until I got enough flour onto my rolling surfaces. Then it was easy peasy, little bit of rolling wrap the crust around the rolling pin and gently lay it across the pie dish. It took a hot minute that’s for sure, all in all the pie crust adventure took about an hour.
To the filling! Wash, peel, core, chop. Toss the apple pieces in a big bowl with some sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, little bit of flour. Mix it all together and spoon it into the lovely crust. Put the whole thing in the oven for literally an hour. Lovely smells fill your house, and you have pie.
While on a whole the steps are not overly complex nor do they require a lot of thought I can see were years of practice are necessary. The recipe is so simple it’s very easy to fuss with and make a recipe that is unique to you. I learned quite a bit from this culinary adventure, not the least of which is that baking is certainly a labor of love. There is no way you go through all the time and trouble of baking a pie if you’re not doing it for someone who truly needs it. You’ve got to really want to bake a pie, it’s not just a batch of frozen cookie dough you can toss in the oven.
Secondly, I learned that I never truly appreciated the pies I’ve eaten in my life. They were tasty, it’s true, but I never knew the type of dedication and rolling pin struggle that could go along with it.
Last, I learned that Crisco is an absolute b*tch to get off of stuff. It is slippery and greasey and damn annoying to scrub.
Seriously though, appreciate the pies people make at holidays, even pies you buy. Because there is a serious amount of work that goes into those buggers.
I mean, really, look at all these apples I peeled and chopped.
But ah, look at what came out of the oven.