Thursday, February 13, 2014

In The Kitchen With Meg: An (Almost) Homemade Heart Apple Pie

There's nothing I love more than yummy apple pie, fresh from the oven. Last weekend my boyfriend's family was having a big get together so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to bake the very thing I was craving.

This pie is tender, cinnamon-y, and sweet. One thing to remember is that the apples you choose make your pie. All apples are not made equal when baking... some fall apart and get mushy, some are better suited to applesauces or just munching on. My favourites to use for pies are Granny Smith (for that tart taste) and Pink Lady (for the sweet and crisp). I'm a believer in using a medley of apples in the pie for more complex and balanced flavours and textures.

It's only a few days away, but this would be a wonderful pie to make for Valentine's Day... maybe with a strawberry rhubarb filling instead? YUM! Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I can't think of an occasion which would not benefit from a heart pie...
so let's get baking!

This recipe was adapted from this user post on Lauren Conrad

A splash of lemon juice
5 medium to large apples (I used Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon white sugar/coarse sugar (for top of pie)
2 pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (I used Pillsbury chilled pie dough)

  1. Peel and cut apples into thin slices. Add a small amount of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  2. Mix sugars, cinnamon, flour into a bowl. Coat apples in the mixture. (I had some mixture left over).
  3. Right about now, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. Roll out dough and place in pie plate. Trim as necessary. Arrange apple in pie shell as you see fit. 
  5. Dot butter all around your pie, before you put on the second piece of pastry.
  6. Cut out hearts from your second piece of pastry. I started with larger hearts to go around the edge, then did medium hearts, and for my last little layer, teeny tiny hearts, but you can arrange them however you would like. Be creative! As you arrange your hearts on the pie plate, dip your fingers in water and rub the spot where you are going to put the heart to "adhere" them together. *Note: leave place for ventilation in your pie, either between the hearts if you want to fill the whole top, or in the middle as I did.
  7. When finished arranging your heart, dip your fingers in water again and dampen the top of the pie and add the coarse sugar to the top.
  8. Bake your fabulous pie at 450 for 15 minutes then turn the temperature down to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes. If you see the edge of your crust start to brown in the first 15 minutes I recommend cutting a hollow circle of tinfoil to put over just the edge of your pie, leaving the middle exposed.
*A small note on why I didn't bake the dough from scratch. I usually do, but in this case I had very limited time and you know what? The Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust I used tasted pretty darn similar. It was a major time saver, so I highly recommend it to you busy folk out there who don't think they have time to make a pie crust and also to you folk who just plain don't want to make one!

What I love most about this pie is that you can adapt it in nearly endless ways. You can make the filling anything you like: cherry pie, strawberry, pumpkin pecan... my mouth is watering now! The shapes that you cut out can be endless too: pumpkins, leaves, stars, Christmas trees ornaments, flowers, whatever you can think of...

Here are some great examples of pie creativity to inspire you!

If you use the recipe, let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Happy baking!

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