Friday, December 30, 2011

Grandma's Apple Pie and Las Vegas

My dad, mom, me, and my sister Kimberly
Sorry that it's been awhile since my last post, but over the holidays, I traveled to Las Vegas to visit my family.  While there, I had the opportunity to spend quality time at my parent's house and was also able to explore and visit some amazing sites.  The best thing about my family living right outside the city is that they know their way around, and are therefore able to show us things we might not otherwise see.  So, if you're ever traveling to Las Vegas, here are a few of the places, off the main strip, that I would recommend you visit.
Death Valley National Park

China Date Ranch

Red Rock Canyon

Caves that were once inhabited by Charles Manson and his "family"
Now, back to the main reason that I originally started this post, which was apple pie.  Yummy!!!  For me, it's not Christmas in my household, unless there's an apple pie for dessert, and not that I'm bias or anything.....but my grandma's apple pie is the best!  The pie was always, and still is, a running joke between the two of us.  You see, every year that she'd bring the pie over on Christmas, it'd be burnt.  I never cared though, and when I moved out of state and started making the pie on my own, she'd call me just to ask if I had burnt it, like she did.  I guess you could say I still give her a hard time about it, but it's all in good fun!  Don't worry though, the cooking times that I'm providing for you will not burn the pie, unless you like it a little more crispy, like my grandma.

Grandma’s Apple Pie
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2 pie crusts (I use Pillsbury)
6-8 granny smith apples, depending on size and desired amount
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
4 oz. butter, cut

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, cut the apples into small chunks (removing the skin), then place the chunks into a medium size bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Pour the mixture over the apples and then stir together.  It’s important to make sure that all the apples are well coated.  Therefore, this may take a minute or two.

Push one of the pie crusts into the bottom of a pie pan and pour the apple mixture on top, spreading out as needed. 

Cut the butter into 6 skinny square slices and place them randomly around the top of the apples, with at least 1 directly in the middle.

Take the second pie crust and roll it out on a flat surface.  Cut 4-5 vent holes towards the middle of the dough.  Now, take the dough and place it over the apples.  Press down on the edges in order to seal the 2 crusts together.

Brush a little milk over the top of the crust and sprinkle lightly with sugar. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350 degrees.  Bake the pie for another 30-40 minutes and then remove it from the oven and let cool on wire rack.  Now slice, and enjoy!

Tip for making apple pie: I recently discovered why there has always been a gap between the top of my crust and where the apples start.  Apparently, apples lose water while they cook, which is what causes them to shrink.  A way to help avoid this, and to make an apple pie that does not separate from it’s crust, is to boil the apples in hot water for about 8 minutes.  Once they’ve boiled, drain them, and then lay them out to dry on some paper towel.  You may need extra paper towel to pat dry the tops.  I couldn’t believe how well this trick worked.


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