25 October 2011

Apple pie

Picking apples

Another day, another visit to Tougas' Farm. It's apple season in Massachusetts, and we're taking advantage of that, so off to Tougas Farm.

Picking apples

What fun, then, to arrive and discover that they are growing at least three dozen different varieties of apple. After reading their apple literature (yes, they have apple literature), we zoomed in on a few snacking apples (Fuji, among them) and three pie apples.


Ida red


Picking apples

And Spencer:

Picking apples

We picked enough for one pie each (6-8 apples of each variety) and wandered through the snacking apple sections, nibbling our way through. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon, really. But we had to know which was the superior pie apple. So we did an experiment. For science.

One pie each. Same recipe. Same crust. Baked at the same time for the same amount of time. Sampled by several members of the Dude family. Again, for science. We were brave. Somebody has to do it.

We used a family recipe. For one 8 ½ inch pie pan, use one crust, as described in Mrs Dude's rhubarb pie:
6-8 apples, depending on apple size
2 tbsp butter

Start peeling the apples.

Apple preparation

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Shave the apples into small fragments.

Apple preparation

½ cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch salt

Place a layer of apples in the crust. Layer about one third of the sugar mix over the apples, add a second layer of apples, layer another third of sugar mix on top, then a final layer of apples and the rest of the sugar on top. Lay the butter on top.

Making pie

Cover the apples with a final layer of pastry crust.

Apple pie

Pinch it closed, and poke some holes in the crust to let steam vent out.

We baked three pies like this. Fifteen minutes at 375°F, then another hour at 350°F.

Apple pie

Upon removal, it was clear the Idared pie had a more aromatic scent. It was like smelling perfume pie, really quite striking.

Upon cooling, we discovered that the Spencer pie had become silky smooth, almost too smooth for pie (more an applesauce texture). The Cameo pie was rich in flavor and perfect in texture. The Idared was probably the most interesting flavour, bright and unique, but perhaps too bitter for pie. The hands-down favourite of all was the Cameo pie. Though if we were to do it again, I'd want a pie that was 75% Cameo apple, 25% Idared.

Apple pie

But really, what an experiment. For science!


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