Homemade Apple Pie

A simple technique for homemade apple pie is to fold a round of dough over fruit.  
If you have two large apples, a stick of butter, a cup or so of flour, a little sugar and a smattering of spices, you are on your way to a homemade apple pie.  Not sometime soon.  Not this weekend.  Tonight, I mean.  Many people veer away from making pies, at least from-scratch crust.  I believe this is due to the magnificent job food stylists do for magazines and television.  The pies look gorgeous; they are utter perfection with crimped sides, perfectly bronzed, lusciously bubbly and topped with an ornate leaf cluster cut from dough.  This is pie.  This may be even art.  But it's not Wabi-Sabi, a practice I embrace in life, in cooking and especially in making from-scratch crusts.

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic describing beauty which is "imperfect, impermanent  and incomplete."  It is the art of imperfection.   To the perfectly produced pie much I prefer the simplistic approach and rustic look of a fold-over pie.  A fine pasty crust can be made in seconds in a food processor.  Roll it out to a 13" circle and in the center pile sliced apples that have been tossed with a little sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cloves if you have it.  Fold the dough over the pile of apples, leaving an opening in the center for the apples to peak out.  Bake the pie on a baking sheet, instead of in a pie plate.  Slide the hot pastry off onto anything from an stained old butcher block board to a white plate or silver platter:  no matter,  the apple pie will look beautiful and most importantly taste utterly divine.  But be warned:  This simple everyday recipe for apple pie may make making pie an everyday affair.  Homemade apple pie is just that easy when served with a little Wabi-Sabi.

all-occasion pie and tart crust

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup water
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. AP flour
1 - 3 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)**
pinch of salt

Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces.  Place in a small bowl and chill for a few minutes in the freezer.  Place a measuring cup with 1/4 cup water in the freezer; just long enough to get it ice cold.  Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse 8 times.  Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the mixture is even and coarse.  With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the cold water.  Process until fine and crumbly and just starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove and shape into a flat disc. Chill between two pieces of waxed paper for 1 hour.  

**Note:  Adjust the amount of sugar for your taste and what you are doing with the crust.  For a goat cheese tart use less sugar, perhaps more for a fruit pie.  

apple pie

1 All-Occasion Pie and Tart Crust
4 cups (2 large) apples, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place dough on a floured surface.  Roll out to a roughly 13-inch circle and lift onto a baking sheet.  Place the apple slices in a bowl.  Toss with sugar and spices and pile into the center of the dough.  Dot with 1 Tbsp. butter.

Fold the edges of the dough over the apple pile, leaving an opening about 2 or 3 inches in diameter.  Bake 30 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned and the apples are bubbling.  Cool slightly and remove to a serving board or platter.