For this year's attempt, I hadn't reviewed my past notes whatsoever. I merely knew my Bartlett pears had ripened rapidly in my absence and my Ginger Golds had patiently waited one whole week for any sort of attention.
Four pie crusts would be assembled - in two batches of two to prevent wrist injury, shoulder fatigue, and spillage over the countertop. Once flattened into round discs, they were stacked and left to reside in the fridge for roughly one hour.
The pie would supposed to bake at 400 F for 75 minutes. My oven temperature has a tendency to fluctuate tremendously, so my own would bake between a range of 385 F to 425 F for about forty-five minutes. In the final thirty minutes, I covered the top with foil to prevent burning, then continued baking until the surface emerged golden brown and the insides bubbling but not gushing.
While I've definitely had better lattice days, this one was not one of them. In spite of the lacking visuals, I was content - relieved even! - that I had finally produced a pie without a soggy crust.
- For the standard pie, the quantity should really not surpass three large apples or four small-medium ones.
- Aim for Ginger Gold, which consistently works well in baking applications due to minimal moisture loss, toothsome texture, and fresh tartness. Other early season apples such as Golden Delicious and Mutsu have been observed as suitable picks as well.
- Use fresh pie dough for best results. If not possible, chilled pie dough should be allowed to rest for 15-20 mins at room temperature prior to rolling out to prevent cracking.
- Check pie crust thickness frequently to prevent rolling too thin; alternatively, consider portioning the dough into discs of 40:60 or 30:70.
- Egg wash is mandatory, as is coarse sugar. Lemon juice may be optional, given the oxidization rate of the apples, though assists with the formation of pectin, thus stabilizing the filling further.
- Baking in an oven-safe glass dish (Pyrex) has yielded significantly better results than tart rings in terms of even browning. It also doubles as a serving dish, which equates to less dishwashing and nixes the problem of removing crystallized sugar pieces altogether.
Both variations emerged splendid and, similarly, did not entail soggy crusts. While crystallized sugar rendered concern for detaching the mini slab pies from the pans, I was, miraculously, able to remove the creations intact with a small offset spatula, scratching the bottoms of the pans only slightly. They were delicious, delectably aromatic, yet not nearly as memorable as the classic Apple Pie.