My Aunt Dinah is a 90-something powerhouse of a woman with a fondness for awesome shoes and the most amazing spirit you have ever met. She is awesome.
However, she is 90-something and while she was fine to make ONE homemade apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving, she admitted she couldn’t bring the usual two pies. My cousin/uncle Mark, who hosts Thanksgiving every year at his house with wife Wanda, asked that I pick up a pie down the street.
Are you kidding?
Pick up a pie?
That was not going to happen. Though I couldn’t go up against Dinah’s classic apple pie. I didn’t even want to try to compete. So I wanted a bit more of a twist on the pie, so I went with one that had a crumble top. I got the full recipe from one of my new favorite blogs, The Pioneer Woman. And I was up for a challenge, so I chose her pie crust that she, a very experienced baker, said was very difficult to make.
And it started with (gulp)… shortening! EEEEEEEEEEEEK! How can you make a buttery crust without butter? I just wasn’t sure, but I had trust. So I took out the stuff that always reminds me of kindergarten paste and measured myself a cup.
And because I have never seen the difference between pastry that I do by hand and when I do it in the food processor (except in wrist pain), I “cheated.”
So I pulsed the shortening with the flour until it made a lumpy mess.
My idea of the right texture for pie crust is always where most of it is making pencil eraser size chunks with a few bigger and some crumbs.
And some water, white vinegar, and salt before separating the crust into 3 parts and making some balls.
Then used a rolling pin to smush it down so it would be “easier” to work with later (HA!)
Then I stuck it in the freezer, for what wound up being overnight. I took it out the next morning to thaw while I prepared the filling. First I cut up apples (uniformity is important!)
The filling recipe also came from the Pioneer Woman recipe collection.
And then stirred together this mixture that was like heaven in my mouth.
Phew! Now just to roll out the crust.
I added flour to my surface and pin.
And then I rolled… and rolled… and folding it up… and rolled… and rolled.. and refloured… and rolled and rolled and folded it up and rolled and rolled and refloured and rolledandrolledandfoldeditupandrolledandrolledandrefloured… and rolled…
It just never quite made it smooth. I decided that even though it looked like it was falling apart that I would try to lay it into the pie dish and just patch it as needed.
But how do I get it off of the mat? It had been floured and all… but it was STUCK. And it was right around the moment when I somehow looped my apron around the handle of the cabinet and in one foul swooped yanked it open, toppled out the top to my salad spinner, and dumped a combo of flour and pie dough all over the floor.
Much to my relief, it worked.
I had to patch some areas and wound up with no where near enough to make nice edges, however, it was SO thin that I dared not roll it anymore.
The recipe didn’t mention if the crust should be pricked to allow air out, however, I didn’t want to take any chances so I pricked.
And I made the topping, which was supposed to be like crumbs… but it never really came close.
But how did it taste?
Well…. ehhhh… it was good… but it wasn’t great. Not even all that special. I don’t know why this fell short. It had all the makings (and look) of a brilliant pie… but it just wasn’t. And the crust was no better than my other crust, which was much less effort.
For the recipes, it’s better (and so worthwhile) to check out Ree’s summaries: