American Pie

“I would never let a woman kick my a**. If she tried something, I'd be like, HEY! You get your b**ch a** back in the kitchen and make me some pie!"” Eric Cartman

For those of you unfamiliar with South Park humor, you:

A) Have been living under a rock
B) Have no social contact with anyone under the age of 50
C) Have some semblance of class
D) Probably thought watching The Simspons was "crossing the line"

I did make pie last weekend, not because I unsuccessfully kicked Cartman's a**, but because my mother requested it as her gift for mother's day. She knows I don't know how to knit a sweater, or anything else for that matter, so, pie it was.

In 8th grade Home Ec, I "sewed" a rad Ghetto Blaster pillow. Not good.

My Grandma, Janet Parker, just turned the big 9-3 on Friday. She is the one that taught me to make apple pie. She came to visit from California every year, and I am sure formed some opinion of me based on the Ghetto Blaster pillow, circa 1988. I don't think she approved of my neon orange Gotcha t-shirt either. So I couldn't "sew", or wear the right thing, but that woman was going to teach me how to make pie! Boy am I thankful that she did!

My mom says my pie is even better than hers after years of practice. Don't tell JANET. Grandma even gave me her original Betty Crocker cookbook, and it's sitting on my kitchen counter. It gives me inspiration, and it's a special bond between us. At least I like to think so-- she may not give a rip, but SHE could totally kick Cartman's a**. Now there's a South Park episode I'd like to see. I'd prefer if my cousin Kenny did not make a cameo-- we know how that would turn out.

I made two pies for my mom: Apple Pie, and Frozen Key Lime Pie.

Apple Pie

Combination Butter and Shortening Crust

Ingredients for one double-crust 9 inch or 10 inch pie:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup (a stick and a half) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup of all-vegetable shortening (8 Tbsp)
  • 6-8 Tablespoons ice water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse 4 times. Add shortening in tablespoon sized chunks, and pulse 4 more times. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no bigger than peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over flour mixture. Pulse a couple times. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the mixture just begins to clump together.

Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each into 4 inch wide disks. Do not over-knead the dough! Dust the disks lightly with flour, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 2 days before rolling out.

After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator for an hour, you can take it out to roll. If it is too stiff, you may need to let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before rolling. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat, clean work surface and on top of the disk of dough you intend to roll out.  Using a rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough (a pastry scraper works great for this) to make sure it is not sticking. You have a big enough piece of dough when you place the pie tin or pie dish upside down on the dough and the dough extends by at least 2 inches all around.

When the dough has reached the right size, gently fold it in half. Lift up the dough and place it so that the folded edge is along the center line of the pie dish. Gently unfold. Do not stretch the dough.
If you are making a double crust pie, roll out the second disk of dough. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Use a kitchen scissors to trim the overhang to an inch over. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Finish the double crust by pressing against the edges of the pie with your finger tips or with a fork.

Use a sharp knife to cut vents into the top of the pie crust, so the steam has a place to escape while the pie is cooking. Optional Before scoring, you may want to paint the top of your crust with an egg wash (this will make a nice finish).

Egg Wash

A lovely coating for a pie can be achieved with a simple egg wash.
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush.

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (Granny Smith)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 

Heat oven to 425°F.
In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over filling. 

Cover edge of pie with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Serve warm if desired.

Frozen Key Lime Pie: 

Courtesy of Ina Garten

For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature  (see cook's note below on tempering)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated lime zest
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes)
For the decoration:

  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Thin lime wedges  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze.

For the decoration, beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with lime. Freeze for several hours or overnight.

Chef's note: I tempered the egg yolks by cooking them over a double boiler. I brought 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium pan, then placed a glass bowl on top (it will be a couple of inches above the boiling water). Put the egg yolks in the glass bowl, and whisk until they are thick, coating the back of a spoon. Since it is indirect heat it will not scramble the yolk, but will kill any harmful bacteria before putting into the pie.

"We'll just tell your mother that... we ate it all." American Pie


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