The story of Apple Pie II
I figured out my problem with this Apple Pie from scratch thing...I don't like to follow directions. Baking isn't like cooking, you can't just wing it. There are steps that need to be followed in order to create the anticipated results. I have some wonderful recipes to work with, but I am having problems following them as written, which brings me to Apple Pie II (to further be referred to as APII).
I blame the fairy tale of the wife of yesteryear baking an apple pie and leaving it on the windowsill to cool. Her kids didn't watch tv while she sliced those apples. Didn't she have 10-14 kids anyway and was always pregnant? And the fable never mentions her complaining about all the dishes that needed to be cleaned. In fact, she also cleaned the house, milked the cow, gathered the eggs and then made her own butter while waiting for the pie to bake. I understand she didn't have the distractions of TIVO, the Internet, e-mail, voice mail or some ranting blog she feels she needs to write because maybe someone out there will read it. Yes, her life was a little less complex technology wise. Then again, I have a 2 minute drive to a grocery store with a complete dairy, meat and produce section, so I don't have to take care of any livestock, spend my daylight hours taking care of a kitchen garden or churn until my arms want to fall off. I bet I would have rock solid biceps if I started churning my own butter. Something to look into.
Tying this together...for some reason I thought I could start making an apple pie around 3pm and be done by 6pm and serve it for dessert that night. I guess if I want to make an ok pie with a store bought crust, I can do that. However, to make a 1st place prize winning pie, this will take 1-2 days. Who's got that kinda time?
For APII, I used a different crust recipe. It was very easy. However, it said to chill it before using it. Huh? I think this is going to take planning. Then one needs to go through a series of steps to bake the crust BEFORE even adding the apples. THEN, after the baked crust has totally chilled, the apples can be dealt with (which can take from 1-3 hours). THEN, the apples chill with the baked crust. THEN it bakes together for an hour. THEN you can eat it. I had no idea this could be so time constraining. I do understand why people make many pies at the same time. If you are going through all this effort, you might as well mass produce.
Here we have APII. My opinion is that the crust is much better than the last pie, however the apples are not as good. Two things I didn't like: the apples were sliced too thin and I only used Granny Smith instead of a mix. I started making this pie at 4pm on Monday and took it out of the oven at 9:50pm.
For APIII, I'm going to make the crust the night before, bake the crust in the am, cut up the apples around lunchtime, bake the pie as a whole around 4pm. This way we will get to eat it at dinner time. Also, I might start tinkering with different apples, so I will try making 2 pies at once.
This is the new crust recipe I'm using (super easy). I am weighing the idea of purchasing a leaf stamper to win some presentation points. Will I be able to amortize the cost of this stamper over the next 40 years of pie baking (since I probably won't recoup the cost in this contest!). I tried making leaves for this pie, which only reminded me that I am more analytical than creative.