One of the things that my dad loves to do for the holidays is make (semi) homemade pies. As the years have gone on, I have slowly added a little more help to the process, and this year, I made my first one on my own! Being far away from home can be hard. But bringing family traditions along can really help!
So here’s the recipe that I used. We found this recipe online and modified it a bit. (I copied and pasted the recipe from their site and made changes for this post.)
Homesick Homemade Apple Pie
- 2/3 cup sugar (or more to taste)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. apple pie spice (you can also use a combination of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to equal 1 tsp. if you don’t have apple pie spice)
- 3 pounds of 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices of peeled and cored good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Golden Delicious
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp milk
Crust (Make your life easy, and just buy it. Or don’t, and use the recipe at the link above!)
1 Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F.
2 Combine sugar, flour and spices in large bowl. Use your hands and mix in the apples so they are well coated, then add vanilla extract. The reason that you use your hands to mix is so that you don’t break the apples down! This is actually pretty important. Also, it’s kind of fun!
Mixing the apples by hand is important AND fun! (And also kind of messy!)
3 Remove crust packages from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Unroll one of the crust disks, and sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out a little bit with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick (you really only have to make sure that the disk from the refrigerator is rolled flat and even, which isn’t always the case when you unroll it from the package). As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
4 Spoon in apple filling, mounding slightly in center. I also recommend setting a little of the filling aside and leaving it in the refrigerator for a little while. It’s DELICIOUS.
5 Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut a fun shape out of the center of the dough, or you can later cut slits in the top to allow the pie to vent as it cooks. I used a knife to cut a star, but you can do whatever you want! Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Set the excess aside. Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
I used a knife to cut a star out of the middle 🙂
pressing the top crust and bottom crust together
Okay, so I’m not very good at the “fluting the edges” part. It may not be very pretty, but it still tastes good, I promise!
6 Stir yolk and milk in small bowl to blend. Brush over top of pie. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape if you didn’t cut a shape earlier. Bake pie until crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Tent the rims with aluminum foil or a pie protector if the edges are browning too quickly (they will, so make sure you do this!). Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, anywhere from an additional 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of apples you are using. -OR- cover the edges with foil to protect them from burning until the last 5-7 minutes of cooking. The directions on the website are the first option, the second one is the one my dad and I use.
I sprinkled a little bit of sugar on top after brushing on the egg wash. I don’t know, my dad always did it, so I did, too!
Use strips of foil to cover the edges so they don’t burn
7 Transfer to rack; let stand 1 hour. Serve pie warm, cold, or at room temperature.
I wish you could have smelled this! Fresh apple pie smells so good!
Okay, so remember the excess crust that you cut off? You know, the part I told you to set aside? I hope you listened, because I’m about to tell you something simple and delicious to do with it!
Mini Cinnamon Rolls
1. Roll the excess crust into a ball.
2. Use a rolling pin and a sprinkle of flour to roll the crust flat into a rectangular shape. If it’s not perfect, it’s no problem!
3. Spread a little butter over the top of the rolled out crust.
4. Sprinkle a generous layer of cinnamon-sugar on top of the butter.
5. Sstarting at one end, roll the crust into a pinwheel.
6. Slice into mini cinnamon rolls.
7. Place on a cookie sheet, spread out, and bake for about the last 10-12 minutes that your pie is in the oven. (Look! Multitasking on so many levels!)
8. Remove from the oven, cool, and enjoy!
All done! You can bake them a little longer if you like them more golden-brown, but be careful because the sugar will scorch to the cookie sheet if you leave them too long!
So there you have it! Homemade apple pie and mini cinnamon rolls, all in one fell swoop! This was a really fun project for me because it gave me a good reason to keep in touch with my dad, and he was really happy to be able to help. Baking is something that we have always both enjoyed, so it is fun to be able to bond over it, even if we’re on opposite sides of the country. Also… the pie was DELICIOUS. Like… really yummy. AND the house smelled amazing for days! I call that a success!
What are some of your favorite family fall traditions? Please share them in the comments!