by Gay Cook
Pastry should be tender and flaky. Ideally the pastry can be made with butter or use part lard or shortening with the butter. Each will give a different flavor and flakiness. Butter gives a rich flavor with a slight caramel overtone once it browns. Shortening makes very light texture but less flavour. Lard produces dark pastry with a deep, rich flavour. I avoid shortening as it’s a highly processed food so use only butter..
- 2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) flour for rolling
- 1⁄2 tsp (2 ml) salt
- 1 cup (250 ml) cold butter or part shortening or lard
- 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) ice cold water
- To make pastry by hand: combine flour and salt in mixing bowl; grate in fat using medium-sized grater, tossing with flour. Break up any fat clumps with fingertips. Stir in water, toss with table knife to form clump; add a little more water only if the pastry seems dry. Gently knead into 4 balls.
- To make pastry in food processor: Add flour and salt to processor bowl. Cut butter, shortening or lard into 8 cubes; add to machine and pulse on and off until fat is cut into small pieces. Add ice water and pulse just until dough begins to form. Remove dough from machine sprinkle with a little flour and form into 4 balls. Chill dough in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- To make bottom pastry, generously sprinkle rolling surface with some flour; roll pastry with floured rolling pin into 1⁄8-in (1⁄2cm) thick circle often lifting pastry; clean off pastry board; sprinkle flour on rolling surface and clean off rolling pin; gently press in edges to reshape circle during the rolling.
- Fold pastry circle in half, place on pie plate, unfold and gently press into pie plate without stretching pastry; trim overhanging pastry off at the edge.
- Prepare top crust; roll pastry circle to 1-in/2.5 cm beyond edge of pie plate.
- 3 lbs (1.5kg) firm, sweet, McIntosh (my favorite) Cortland, Galla
- 1⁄2 cup (125ml) sugar or to taste
- 3⁄4 tsp (4 ml) ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Toss apples with sugar and cinnamon: gently pile into shell rounding the top. Place pastry over filling; Use scissors to cut pastry to 1⁄2-in(3⁄4cm) from edge. Tuck top pastry under bottom pastry; flute to retain pie juice with thumb and fore finger of one hand placed on outside edge pushing pastry between the fingers with fore finger of the other hand.
- To Bake: bake single shells in preheated oven for 15- 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350°F (180°C) and bake until fat no longer bubbles, pastry is golden colored and apples are tender when pierced with a knife tip.