It’s the first day of fall. Do you know what that means? Well, lots of things, but for the purpose of this blog the most important fact is that apples are in season. Which naturally means apple pie is on the menu. What’s not to love about apple pie. It’s sweet. When it’s being cooked, your home smells of yummy warmth and goodness. You can eat it for dessert, or for breakfast. Apple pies make me happy.
In Cyprus, they have “milopitta” which is tasty, but – for me at least – does not compare to a traditional-American-style-homemade apple pie. I have yet to see many “pies” in Cyprus. They have a lot of “pittas” – cheese pies, spinach pies, sausage pies, etc. But these usually incorporate filo pastry or puff pastry. Not the deep dish pies they have in America.
A pie is a different beast. It’s flavourful. A combination of roasted apples and spices with buttery and flaky crust. And it’s not hard to make. Honest. The crust might give you a little bit of a beginner’s challenge, but once you know how it should look and what to expect, I doubt you will ever buy ready-made pie dough again.
Though, if you live in Cyprus, I don’t think you can find ready-made dough in the first place … though I am looking for a place that does sell dough! As apples are in season, this was the perfect time to make a pie. Well, truth be told I actually made two pies. One for me! And one for my friend’s baby shower. The shower was incredible and I have posted some of the decorative shots below. The beautiful event was styled by the incredible Amelie Pavlou.
Tips when making the pie: when you roll out the crust after you have taken it from the fridge, it may “crack” at the edges. This is a good sign as it means your crust will be buttery & flaky. Be careful not to overwork your dough – ie, squish it, knead it and press it too much. Why? Because your crust will become less flaky and instead will “crack” when bent. OK, so having said all of that, here is the recipe below. Any questions, just email away! Happy Cyprus Cooking! 🙂
for the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
12 tbs very cold unsalted butter (cut it into small cubes and place in the fridge to cool)
1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening such as “spry”
1/2 cup ice water
for the filling:
6 large apples (I used whatever apples I had, but nothing too tart)
zest of 1 orange
1 tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water (egg wash)
1. Make your crust. Begin by combining the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer. Add the butter and shortening. Mix until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the ice water as the you continue to mix. Continue to mix until little clumps form, so that the mixture looks like gigantic bread crumbs. Dump onto a floured table and gather the little crumbs together to form two balls – one slightly larger than the other. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for thirty minutes.
2. Preheat your oven to 190C.
3. Make your filling. Combine zests, juices, flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in a bowl.
4. Take your pie dough and roll the larger ball out with a rolling pin so that it covers the bottom, sides, and slightly hangs off the rim of a 9inch pan. Brush the edges of the rim with egg wash. Place the filling inside.
5. Take the smaller dough ball and roll it out so that it covers the top of the pie. Press the edges of the rim together (crimp) with the tips of a fork, creating a pattern as you do (see pictures above). Brush the entire top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle about 1 tsp sugar on top. Cut a few triangle shaped slits in the middle of the pie to let the air escape and juices flow out of while it cooks.
6. Place the pie in the oven on a baking tray. Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours, until the crust on top is browned and juices flow out of the slits. If the pie looks as though it is burning while it is cooking, turn down the heat.
7. Let rest for at least 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream. I had homemade, creamy passion fruit ice cream and it was also great with the apple pie.