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Apple pie is the quintessential American dish. The basis of a good pie is a crust that is tender and flaky, not hard and chewy. Trading speed and convenience for quality you may want to use a frozen crust from a grocery store. If you want to make your own you will need:

Ingredients (conversion table):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) chilled butter
dash of salt
ice water

The easiest way to do this is in a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks. Place in the food processor. Add the flour and salt. Pulse the food processor until the butter/flour has the consistency of sand. With the motor running add the water until the dough just forms a ball. Take it out, wrap in plastic and chill for a least a half hour.

Hints:
Make sure the butter is cold. You may want to put the flour and food processor blades in the refrigerator before you do this. You do not want the butter to melt until the crust is baked. This is what makes the curst flaky. Also, do not mix the dough more than necessary. This will make it tough. If you do not have a food processor use a pastry cutter of a couple of knives to cut the butter into the flour. It may seem easier to do this with your hands, but the crust will not be as good.

Some people claim that using lard or rendered goose fat results in a better crust than butter.

After the dough has rested, roll it out on a floured surface a little less than ". Place it in a 9" pie pan. It should hang over the edges. Use a knife to cut the dough even with the edge of the pie dish. Wrap the leftover dough in plastic wrap. Put the pie crust and the leftover dough back in the refrigerator.

Whether you buy a crust or make your own, you are now ready for the filling. You will need:
3-6 apples depending on size.
cup or more sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice cinnamon

Wash, peel and core the apples. Choose a variety that has a good tart flavor. The choice may vary depending on your location and the time of year. Popular varieties for pies include Baldwin, Granny Smith, McIntosh and Rome. Experiment to find your favorite. Slice the apples. Please them in a bowl with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and cinnamon. Use more sugar if you want a sweeter pie. You may also add a tablespoon of flour or tapioca if you want a thicker filling.

Place the apples in the piecrust. Moisten the edge of the crust with a finger dipped in water. Roll out the leftover dough or place a prepared crust over the top. Use a fork to press the top and bottom crust together all around the edge. Be sure to cut several slits in the top curst to allow the steam to escape.

Preheat the oven to 400 degree. Place the cold pie in the hot oven. After 10 minutes turn the heat down to 350 and bake for another 30-45 minutes until the crust is nice and brown. Place a cookie sheet on a rack under the pie to catch any drips. It's easier to clean a cookie sheet than the whole oven. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

After you get the basic recipe down, you may want to try some variations such as using brown sugar or adding nutmeg or a dash of cloves or some raisins soaked in brandy to the apples.



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