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Close My Eyes, Make The Pies All Day

  Season's Greetings 
  Originally uploaded by elkit.

I think it's time I updated my apple pie recipe. Here's how I've been making

Elke's Double Crust Apple Pie
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 egg yolks
2 sticks of cold unsalted butter

For the filling:
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of Calvados*
4-5 tart apples
1 lemon to juice
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of crumbled-up corn flakes**

[The links below take you to pictures in my Flickr account.]

1. Begin by soaking the raisins in Calvados or the spirit of your choice for at least an hour. You can safely leave them sitting for a few hours or overnight.

2. Now for the crust. Simple and delicious.
Put the flour in a mixing bowl, add the sugar, cinnamon, and the egg yolks.

3. Cut the cold butter into little pieces right into the bowl, and knead the whole mixture into a smooth ball of dough.

4. Cover the bowl and let the crust rest for a half hour in a cool place, like a pantry or fridge.

5. Peel and slice the apples. Pour the lemon juice over the slices and mix it in.

6. Spoon the brown sugar, cinnamon, and the Calvados-soaked raisins over the apples, mix everything well.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees***.

8. Butter/grease a pie form or spring-form pan. (I love my spring-form pan. No muss, no fuss!)

9. Roll out half of the pie crust with a rolling pin to the desired circle size, or cheat like I do, and just push it into shape with your hands, as if you were making pizza. Build up the sides to desired height.

10. Cover the crust with the crumbled-up corn flakes. This will catch extra liquid from the apple mixture and prevent the crust from getting soggy.

11. Drain the apple mixture of excess liquid over a colander (I catch the liquid and use it for the next pie, or pour it over ice cream). Pack the apple filling inside the pie.

12. Roll out or form the other half of the pie crust to the desired circle size.**** (I do this on a piece of floured aluminum foil and turn it over on top of the pie.) Connect the edges. Poke a few holes into the crust with a fork.

13. Place your masterpiece into the hot oven and bake it at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the crust turns golden brown.

14. Be nice and share it with your friends. Enjoy, everybody!

Tips and Tricks:
* Calvados is best here because it's apple brandy, but any other brandy will do just fine.
** Feel free to get creative with the ingredient of your choice. I have used: bread crumbs. Leftover crumbled-up scones. Crumbled-up multi-grain flakes. Crumbled-up granola. Day-old crumbled-up baguette.
*** I mean it: pre-heat. If you are one of many people who complain that  their baking never comes out as planned, I have three bits of advice for you:
1. Measure your ingredients. Until you're getting good at it, and are starting to experiment, baking is not the right arena for eyeballing it.
2. Follow the instructions. If it says to mix butter and sugar first, and then add flour, do mix butter and sugar first, and then add flour. Do not throw butter, sugar, and flour all in together, and start mixing.
3. And if your recipe calls for pre-heating the oven, preheat the oven. Makes a big difference whether you place a dish in a hot oven, or in a lukewarm one.
But don't take my word for it. Get a second opinion from a professional: Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking backs me up.
**** Sometimes I am too lazy to roll out a second circle of crust. Instead, I crumble up the second half of the pie crust into... streusel!! (If it's too buttery to crumble well, just add a bit of flour.)


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