Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Very First Double-Crust Apple Pie

My Very First Double-Crust Apple Pie

Take a look at the double-crust apple pie that I made yesterday! It was my very first time making pie crust myself.

The temptation to bake an apple pie was triggered when I saw several kogyoku apples on sale at the Sunday market yesterday. Kogyoku is a tart variety that is suitable for pies and cakes. For someone like me who wants tart apples for baking but can’t buy Granny smith online, Kogyoku is the best substitute. (Granny smith apples are not available at regular stores in Japan but you can buy them from farmers by ordering online. Most likely you have to order by box and the postage will not be cheap.) So can you imagine how delighted I was when I found kogyoku apples on sale: 4 for 100 yen (apx. US$1.00)?! Usually 4 Kogyoku apples cost almost 500 yen at supermarkets.

For my very first double-crust apple pie, I picked a basic recipe to stay on the safe side because I am not very experienced in apple-pie baking. But there was one thing I was determined to do no matter what; I wanted to bake a double-crust pie with leaf-shaped holes in the top crust. And see? I really had fun making the holes using my leaf-shaped cookie cutter.

Now this is what came out of the oven. Not terribly bad, isn’t it? Unfortunately the crust was a little stiff because I did a substitution that no one would probably approve of. I didn’t have vegetable shortening, so I substituted it with butter and a little vegetable whipping cream. I saw a recipe somewhere that used butter and heavy cream but no shortening, so I assumed whipping cream wouldn’t be a too crazy idea. Maybe it was…

(Later I googled for “substitute for shortening” and went through some forums. Most people recommended palm oil or coconut oil, but no one ever mentioned whipping cream. Hahaha... BTW, is that true that Crisco made a new trans-fat-free shortening?? I really want one.)

Other than that, the pie was not really bad after all. The tartness of kogyoku really made a difference in the filling and I am so happy that I went to the market last Sunday. It was even better when I did…

Mmmmmm… :)


OsloFoodie said...

Wow, this pie looks gorgeous, Obachan, you're so good!

Anonymous said...

I think you can skip the cream. It probably adds more water to the crust than an all-butter dough would, and the trick avoid tough pie crusts is to minimize kneading after adding water.

I usually make all-butter pie crusts. They are more temperamental than pie crusts with shortening, but they usually work fine for me. I want my fat to have flavor, so I avoid shortening for cooking.

Anonymous said...

Pretty pie, Obachan. I don't think Crisco is trans-fat-free. The info on www.crisco.com says it has 50% less saturated fat than butter. My sister uses it in her cookies.

Reid said...

Hi Obachan,

I give you credit for baking an apple pie. I probably wouldn't do it. First of all, I don't have the space in my tiny apartment...and second, I don't think that I have the skill for making a double crust.

Great effort here! =)

Anonymous said...

That looks so yummy. Here in Australia we don't use shortening so you could just use butter or margarine.

Rabbit Sim said...

Hi Obachan,
Nigella Lawson mentioned in her cookcook that vegetable shortening will make pastry or cookies crispier and easier to work with. I've never tried before. I only ever made an all butter short crust pastry ONCE, took me ages to line the tin and smooth it :( which made me shy away from pastry making ever since..........

Joycelyn said...

hi obachan, that apple pie looks so scrumptious it looks like the efforts of someone who's very practised with making double crust pies! you are a true natural...

Annie said...

Just lovely, obachan. I've never attempted a double-crust pie, myself. Now I'm thinking about it for my son's birthday next March because he LOVES apple pie. Too bad it's not apple season in March, because Granny Smiths are readily available here in the US and they are our favorite apples for every purpose. I saw a recipe recently (where? Farmgirl? I can't remember) for Mile-High Apple Pie. It looked amazing.

Sara, The Wine Makers Wife said...

Obachan! Looks amazing! I wish I could be there to try a piece with you. I was reading your December posts about your holiday baking and I really want to try out that Matcha cookie reciepe. I know very little about MAtcha, and have never had it as a tea, but i'll never know if I don't try it!

Vivilicious said...

Looks like a lovely pie, Oba-chan. I showed my husband and he practically salivated onto the keyboard!

obachan said...

Thanks. Next time will be even better. (Yep. There will be a next time.)

Jason Truesdell
I see. I, too, think that all-butter crust must have been better than the whipping-cream idea. Thanks for the tip.

Amber Amethryne
Thanks for the link. So that must be the “Zero Grams Trans Fat Per Serving
All-Vegetable Shortening” in the green container. This site says that contain fully hydrogenated oils instead of partially hydrogenated oils. Anyway, the price would be doubled if this would come on the shelves in Japanese supermarkets… *sigh*

What?! What do you need a big space for in making an apple pie? And the skill? You say you don’t have the skill? Come on, a person with the skill to make those checkerboard cookies can surely make a double-crust pie ;) You are just too modest.

Oh I didn’t know that you don’t use shortening over there. So all butter crust sounds like a reasonable choice for me next time. Thanks for the info.

Rabbit Sim
Is all butter crust that difficult to handle? Mmmm…

Thanks for the compliment but I must confess that when I roll out a dough, always some parts are thicker than others. ;P

Thanks. Your son will be so happy! Mile-High Apple Pie would be a gorgeous present for an apple-pie lover’s birthday.

Oh, you read that post? I hope you like my recipe. Actually a few people tried that recipe and it sounded like the result was not exactly what they expected. Anyway, like you say, trying it out is the only way to find out. Good luck.

Ahhh… poor keyboard. But I feel flattered ;) Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I recently read an apple pie recipe with a secret ingredient - a small amount of cayenne pepper, probably 1/4 tsp or less. Sounded interesting.

I think butter pastry taste a lot better than shortening, but they say there is a texture difference. More flakiness with shortening. A lot of people use half and half to get both taste and flake, I guess.

I think using butter is the French style, but don't know where I got that idea, so it may not be true at all.

Your pie looks really good and isn't Fall just the right time for apples!

rae said...

that pie looks great obachan. i'm a terrible baker (see most recent sourdough fiasco) and pie crusts are no exception. BUT a friend (former caterer) told me a little secret that i must try, which is to FREEZE YOUR FAT, then grate it into the flour. i guess it breaks it up and reduces the amount of handling (and therefore gluten content), leaving you with a flakier crust. and if the pie i was greedily shoveling into my maw at that moment can be trusted, it works!

Farmgirl Susan said...

Hi Obachan,
I linked here from the nice comment you left me on Farmgirl Fare while I was out of town last week. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and tell me that you made pitas (and had fun doing it!) Personally, I think I prefer the unpuffed ones now!

Your first apple pie is absolutely lovely. And I bet it tasted delicious. I used to be a diehard Crisco crust fan until the whole trans fat thing. I now buy an organic shortening with no trans fat. I believe it is made by Spectrum; I just went into the pantry searching for the tub of it and realized I must be out of it (yikes!). I don't know if you could get it in Japan. There are probably other companies making similar products. It works pretty well--not as flaky a crust as Crisco, but it won't kill you either. : )

Also, I always mix in a few Tablespoons of homemade lard into my apple pie crust. It gives it a very nice flavor.

I'm so glad I discovered your blog and am looking forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks again for visiting Farmgirl Fare.

Nic said...

Hi Obachan. Beautiful pie - I love the leaf cutouts. Butter is a good substitute for shortening if you can't get it. It's not harder to work with, particularly if you are familiar with how to cut fats into flour. It's the people who try it once, give up and never attempt it again who have the problems. Probably also the people who don't have food blogs. =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan!
Your pie looks so cute and delicious! It also doesn't look like a "first-attempt" pie because it seemed so perfect. Oishii!! I'm happy everything turned out great.

obachan said...

Anonymous commenter
Cayenne pepper! That sounds unusual, but yeah, interesting. I wonder if I can use both butter and half and half. Maybe that’s worth trying. Thanks so much for the tip :D

Hey, that sourdough incident doesn’t mean you’re a terrible baker. If I’d give it a try, I’m sure mine would turn out to be a rubber cement ball. Freezing the fat sounds like a good idea. I’ll try that next time, too.

Thanks so much for coming :D I don’t think I can get organic shortenings in Japan. Too bad. Yeah, I remember that several people mentioned lard in the cooking forums I visited. I’m not too crazy about lard, but a home-made one must be much better than the lard they use in the izakaya kitchen.

Thanks. There ARE a couple of things that I tried once and never attempted again. Well, maybe I shouldn’t see it as “never.” I’m just giving it an extremely long break, because some things really need certain time to be healed. Don’t we all have a couple of those? ;)

It’s so nice of you to say that. Yeah, oishikatta desu.

glutton rabbit said...

Bachan, that's such a gorgeous looking apple pie. Bravo! Now you can open a bakery!

Fish Fish said...

Obachan, I saw a lot of trans-fat-free products during the Food Expo in New Orleans. Seem like it is a trend now.

Hey, your pie look really lovely. But I'm not an apple person. Tee hee hee.

Btw, Obachan, with part of Kochi are you from actually? Mind to let fish fish know? Thanks. ^_^

obachan said...

glutton rabbit
Oh, thanks.

fish fish
I really hope that trend comes to Japan RIGHT NOW!
I'm originally from Muroto, not too far from cape Muroto.

Rei said...

Your first double crust pie looks amazing, nothing like my first attempt at pie crust! I have to say that butter is the way to go or even lard. Yes, they're saturated, but still a better choice than a trans fat or shortening or margarine. My secret is the butter must be cold and the water is icy and half vodka. The alcohol evaporates during baking and my crusts bake up lighter and flakier. Also, avoid handling too much, because the butter will melt vs. keeping it solid so when it bakes is melts out leaving openings for a flaky crust. Just like in your photo, SUGOI!
Hope that's helpful to your readers, since obviously, you've got the crust making down.

Rei said...

In the US anyways, premade, unbaked, frozen, butter crust dough,(rolled out even), is available. Watch the labeling to avoid the ones with trans fats, like P--------- Farms.
I have heard that frozen foods are not very popular in Japan. Many frozen foods in the USA are not as healthy, they're frozen, for convenience so are popular.

obachan said...

We do have frozen pie crust dough here in Japan, too, but I don't think it's trans-fat free.

Frozen foods are quite popular here, but we can't find a wide variety of frozen pastry at regular supermarkets. You know Japan is small in size, the land is terribly expensive and generally buildings are smaller than those in the U.S. So are supermarkets, and they don't have a big space for the frozen food section. When the space is limited, I guess they want to use it for foods for regular meals, not desserts. (For the majority of Japanese, bread is probably a part of everyday meals, but pies/tarts are considered as desserts. Eating savory pies/tarts as meals is not popular here.)