The weather has cooled, the pumpkins are out, and it’s the season for apple picking. If you’re like me, you’ve talked your family into heading into the apple orchard with you with the promise that you’d make them the perfect apple pie.
Did you know there are 2,500 apple varieties in the United States? And over 7,500 varieties worldwide? That’s a ton of apples. So how do you choose which apples make the best pie?
Apple picking can be easy as trading on a QProfit System if you follow these two simple tips:
- Pick apples on the outer ring of the tree, then work your way in as these tend to be more ripe than the ones inside
- Pick your apples rather than shaking the entire tree. It is called apple “picking” for a reason. Shaking can knock off apples more than what is required and cause it to rot faster.
Moreover, there are two things to look for when choosing the right apple for apple pie: taste and texture. Most apple pie recipes call for sugar, so it’s best to choose an apple that’s at least a little tart or you’re going to be overwhelmed with a too-sweet pie. When choosing for texture, find an apple variety that’s crisp and firm. You don’t want applesauce pie filling.
Most importantly, have a little fun with experimenting. There are many crisp and tart apples out there and adding more than one variety into your pie is completely okay (and encouraged!) The following are some of my favorite picks for apple pie contenders: Granny Smiths, Jonathan, Jonagold, Pippin, Gravenstein, Braeburn, Fuji and Pink Lady Apples.
“Apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze…”
Once you’ve chosen your apples, there’s nothing like a cheddar cheese crust to give your pie a savory and sweet combination that your friends and family will rave about.
Cheddar Cheese Double Crust
2 1/4 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (18 g) kosher salt
2 teaspoons (8 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (1/4 cup) (168 g) cold unsalted butter (12 tablespoons fat)
1/2 cup (60 g) grated or thinly cut cold sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (120 ml) strained ice water plus 2 or 3 tablespoons (28 or 45 ml)
1. Choose a good size bowl, one where both of your hands can fit in and work. Measure your dry ingredients and mix them together in the bowl. Cut your cold butter into 1/4-inch (6 mm) pieces. It is very important that your butter is cold; its ability to maintain the integrity of its shape is what lends flakiness to the crust. You can freeze it, but I find refrigerated butter to be quite sufficient.
2. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients. Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients by pinching each piece. When you incorporate the butter, it is meant to keep its shape–you’re just introducing the two. You don’t want your butter to get warm with the flour or create tiny little butter pebbles. The goal is for your fat to have presence in the crust.
3. Scatter the shredded cheese over the ingredients.
4. Quickly toss the cheese through the butter and flour. Make sure to get everything at the bottom of the bowl into the game.
5. Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the strained ice water along the outside of the crust. Mix quickly with the fork. Add the remaining ice water and mix with the fork or your hands.
6. When mixing the ingredients, make sure all the little bits on the bottom of the bowl are incorporated. Separate the crust into two equal-sized balls, and flatten them into disks. If they won’t hold in the center, sprinkle a bit of water on the crust. If they feel a bit wet, sprinkle a bit of flour on the crust.
This savory crust will be the perfect foundation for your new favorite apple pie. Let me know what apples you picked for your pie—leave me a comment below.
For more on pie-making, check out Millicent Souris’ How to Build a Better Pie. How to Build a Better Pie will provide everything you need to know. Learn the skills, practice the techniques, master the recipes, and build yourself a better pie.
Photos courtesy Souris, Millicent. How To Build a Better Pie. Beverly: Quarry Books, 2012.