The Secret to an Extra Delicious Apple Pie

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Happy October! By now you’ve probably gone apple picking, or at least popped into a farm stand for a bag of apples. Yes, we all like to trek to the apple farm for our annual family day out to apple pick, we just did it last weekend ourselves. And yes, the experience is wonderful, idyllic, tasty – a fall right-of-passage, if you will, but why REALLY do we do it every year? Three words: homemade apple pie. There is nothing better. I don’t make my own crust but still make pretty decent pies with fresh apples, except for one problem: sometimes they’re just a little too watery. Yours too? Especially the day after. You have apple for dessert on a Sunday, let’s say, and Monday morning you’re thinking it may be a good idea for a slice for breakfast. You get downstairs and your pie is liquid-y with a terribly soggy bottom crust. No good. I know apples are full of water, I always cut a steam vent hole into my pie crust, I sometimes use a pie bird, I always use the right variety of apple too, but the soggy phenomenon still happened every so often. And when you only make a couple apple pies all year, one soggy pie is a disastrous occasion.

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So when I read this article in a recent issue of Bon Appetit, I was so intrigued (my husband happened to point it out, too). The article mentioned roasting your apples pre-pie with sugar and flour and then chilling them to not only remove the moisture but also create a caramelized flavor. Wow! What a great idea and yet so simple. So Sunday afternoon after our Saturday morning apple picking adventure, we did just that. I followed Bon Appetit’s roasting recipe of 4 lbs apples, 1C sugar, and 1/4C flour. I then used my usual recipe to make our pie (store bought refrigerator crust, we use this one, a bunch of cinnamon, 1/4C brown sugar, egg wash on the crust) and just look at this piece of pie!

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And Monday morning it was still beautiful – not a soggy ounce of crust in sight (yes, Z helped me with the pie and we made our initials out of extra dough for the top of the pie). One note, the apples obviously reduce in size as they roast so definitely use a couple apples more than you think are necessary, apples are the star of this pie show after-all, right? Also, reduce (or increase if you want?) the sugar for roasting, this turned out to be a very sweet pie… Let me know if you try this method, I definitely recommend it.

Pumpkin Pie

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We love all (ok, most) things pumpkin in this house so you know that when Thanksgiving rolls around it’s all about the pumpkin pie! We’re traveling for Thanksgiving this year so we made our own pie from scratch over the weekend. And then I had an idea…. if I ever had to say something bad about pumpkin pie it’s that there is no top crust and I love crust. So! I decided to use my mini leaf cookie cutters (similar) to create a dramatic topping for our pumpkin pie. Here’s how I did it…

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I baked the pie as usual using the recipe on the side of the can of Libby’s pumpkin. You cook a pumpkin pie at a higher temp for about 15 minutes then reduce it to cook another 40 minutes. While the pie was cooking at the higher temp, I used my mini leaf cookie cutters to cut out leaves.

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Once the pie had cooked at the higher temp and about 15 minutes at the lower temp, I took it out and arranged my leaves (you want the custard to firm up a bit to support your leaves). I arranged them to overlap a bit to get nearly full-coverage, but it’s totally up to you. I used a little egg-wash on top to make sure it browned, too!

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It ended up being a spectacular pumpkin pie…

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…especially with a dollop of freshly whipped cream!

Recipe Classic – Chicken Pot Pie

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I thought the best recipe to share next in my new Recipe Classics series is Chicken Pot Pie. This was one of my favorite meals growing up! Years ago my husband I found this great recipe for Chicken Pot Pie from epicurious.com and have been making our variation of it for years. Really other than chicken and the “gravy” part of the pot pie, the rest is all up to personal taste – add the veggies you want and top it with your fave crust! We normally use puff pastry but you can also use a biscuit-type topping or a traditional crust. I made it was the traditional crust last week for this post, frankly because we were out of puff pastry and the Trader Joe’s variety we like apparently is only sold around the holidays now (bummer!). Anyway, it was extra indulgent with a real pie crust and just SO good.

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We disregard the veggies in the recipe we follow (link above) and use standard veggies for our pot pie (potatoes not pictured).

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Bake until the crust is browned, the inside is bubbly…

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…and serve hot!

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Who doesn’t love homemade chicken pot pie?!?!