A looming due date creates all sorts of projects for me – cleaning, organizing, packing hospital bags, readying the baby room, and even baking pies. Actually, it was not a looming due date that caused me to bake these two pies, but the return of family from out of town. Eric’s sister and her family just arrived in town to become residents of the Des Moines area, so these were welcome back pies.
I did try something slightly different with my tried and true apple pie recipe though – the addition of bourbon and brown sugar in the filling. See below for the recipe. The second pie was a strawberry rhubarb pie – one of my all time favorite flavor combinations. The strawberries do an excellent job mellowing out the tart rhubarb. I am ever so grateful to be able to buy reasonably priced and high quality fresh rhubarb now that we are back in Iowa. The only way to actually get decent rhubarb in North Carolina was to buy it frozen.
Dad’s Pie Crust – makes a double crust for a pie
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
3 tablespoons ice cold water
3 tablespoons cold vodka
1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a medium mixing bowl, use a pastry blender to cut in cold butter until pieces are coarse crumb size.
2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon ice cold liquid at a time; gently toss with fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat using rest of liquid. Dough will be dry, do NOT give into temptation to make dough moister by adding more liquid. This will make your dough tough. Divide dough in half; form into a ball.
3. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to flatten ball of dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Do not overwork the dough and do not allow dough to warm up. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
4. Carefully transfer dough to pie pan, by wrapping around a rolling pin, not allowing it to stretch.
5. Transfer filling into pie pan. Repeat step 3 and 4 for second ball of dough. Gently drape second circle of dough over the filling. Use your fingers to seal the edges of the dough.
6. Optional: brush dough with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cover edges in foil. Place piece of foil on bottom rack of oven. Place pie in preheated oven, on middle shelf. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400°. Reduce oven to 350°, remove foil, and bake another 35-45 minutes longer or till crust is golden and filling is bubbling.
7. Let cool on wire rack.
Bourbon Apple Pie Filling
3 lbs of tart apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/8 cup flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons of bourbon
1. Peel and slice 3 lbs of tart apples. Place in large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and bourbon. Mix well and allow to stand for 10 minutes.