Saturday, November 26, 2011

(Vegan) Apple Pie

I am so thankful. 

There are so many things for me to be thankful for that I cannot even begin to list them all.  I can't even make the attempt.  I am thankful beyond words or measurement or even belief.  We'll leave it at that.

Instead, I will tell you about pie.

Pie is scary to me-- specifically, pie crust.  I don't like things that involve the rolling pin because the rolling pin still makes me frustrated (it sticks to my dough, I end up using too much flour, etc.) and pie crust basically exemplifies that for me.  But wait!  Enter little miss and the milk allergy.  For her second Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to make an apple pie that she could eat, so I turned first to the trusty Better Homes and Gardens red cookbook.  In it, I found the answer to all my pie crust problems.  It's the Easy Oil Pastry recipe, easily adapted to be dairy-free (or not, depending on your preference).  No rolling pin required, and because it's just a single crust recipe, you get to cover the pie with the yummy crispy streudel-y stuff.  I've made this pie for three Thanksgivings now, and every year, people comment on how good it is.  As an added bonus, the dairy-free substitutions for this pie also make it vegan.  As mama to the dairy-free child, I always appreciate it when people publicize information and recipes that are (or can be adapted to be) diet-specific.  Don't be fooled though-- there is no difference in taste here!  It is homemade apple pie at its finest.  Happy Thanksgiving season!

Easy Oil Pastry (for the bottom crust)
(From The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 12th Ed.)
Makes one crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
3 Tbsp milk (I used almond milk here; I've also used soy in the past. Both work well.)

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt.  Add oil and milk all at once-- the easiest way to do measure the oil into a larger measuring cup and add the milk to the oil, then dump all the liquid in at one time.  Stir lightly with a fork until combined.  Form the dough into a ball with your hands.  Transfer dough ball to an ungreased 9-inch pie plate-- glass or dull metal works best.  Press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.  You're ready to fill!

Apple Pie
(From The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 12th Ed.)

For filling:
6 cups peeled and thinly sliced cooking apples (I use Granny Smith-- about 5-6 apples worth)
3/4 cup cugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

For topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter (I used vegetable oil margarine-- Willow Run)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl (seriously-- use a big one), combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the apple slices and toss until coated.Transfer the apple mixture to the prepared pie crust.

For the topping, stir together the flour and brown sugar.  Cut the butter/margarine into the flour-sugar mixture using a pastry cutter (if you have one) or a fork until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Even sprinkle the topping over the crust and filling.

You will need to cover most of the pie so that the topping doesn't brown too quickly.  Cut a piece of tin foil that will cover the whole pie.  Next, fold it in half and cut a small-ish circle in the middle (2 to 2 1/2 inches).  Unfold the tinfoil and place it over the pie with the circle in the middle. 

Place the pie on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over as it cooks.  Bake the pie for 40 minutes with the tin foil on it, then take off the tin foil and bake for another 20 minutes (one hour total).  Cool on a wire rack.

I hope that your Thanksgivings were as wonderful as mine!  Also-- get ready.  Here come the Christmas cookies!!

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