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Flaky Apple Pie

Apple pie is as simple as it gets. It is an old tradition coming from Europe. The British perfected the concept and to it traditionally add a slice of cheddar with it. It is sweet, but not too sweet, combined with the perfect flakiness of the crust, this makes the perfect dessert, or if you are naughty, the perfect breakfast when you are pressed for time.


Flaky Pie Crust

In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter then add honey, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Heat on medium heat until it starts to bubble, but not to a full boil. Reduce heat and cover to cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Peel and core the apples and slice into chunks. Add apples to saucepan and cook covered, on low heat for 35 minutes or until apples are softened, but not mushy (you want a little bit of a "bite" to it).

When the apples are almost done, sprinkle in flour very slowly and stir in as you sprinkle (if you just dump it in, you will get nasty clumps, so it is best to "dust" it in.) The flour will thicken the apple filling. Let cook on low for another 3 minutes and remove from heat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

When working on the pie crust, the key to making it flaky is to make sure all of your ingredients are cold. You want the butter to melt into the flour during the baking process, not before.

In a very cold mixing bowl (put in freezer for 20 minutes), cut butter into chunks. Add shortening and cut it into the butter with a hand-held pastry blender. Then, cut in the sugar, salt and cold water. Add the flour in 1/2 cup at a time and cut into the cold fats. Don't over work your dough or it will be rubbery. The key is to cut it enough so the texture of the finished products is sort of like sandy peas.

Divide dough into 2 sections. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll both pieces of dough onto a floured surface to a 12" round diameter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use one of your pie crusts to line a 9" pie plate with the dough while trimming extra dough coming over the top with a sharp knife (press down firmly, don't use a sawing motion).

Spoon the apple filling into the piecrust and top it with the butter. For extra flavour, sprinkle a little cinnamon and nutmeg.

If you want a regular crust, lay the second crust over the top and crimp the edges over the bottom. Using a fork, crimp the two layers together.

For a lattice style crust, cut dough into 14 strips about 1/2 inch wide. Place 7 strips horizontally across the pie about 1/2 inch apart. With the remainder strips, start from one end and weave each strip in and out of the layers already on the pie going vertically. Use your thumb and index finger to crimp the edges.

If you have extra dough, you can create dough ornaments. Refrigerate the pie and the extra pieces for 10 minutes. Take the leftover pieces and roll them flat. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes. Brush them with milk and melted butter and place on top of the pie.

Place pie into the hot oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Let the pie cool at least 30 minutes before serving. It is good plain, but for something fancy, serve with vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream or with a slice of cheddar cheese.