The Cast of Characters: Sugar, Flour, Salt, Granny Smith apples, pecans, brown sugar, oats, butter, and…CARAMEL TOPPING. More on that later.
I use Granny Smith apples for all my apple pies, because they’re not overly sweet (you can make up for that by adding sugar) and they’re firm and hold their integrity through the baking process. Plus, they’re just so darn purty.
Begin by peeling 5 or 6 apples, or enough to make 6 to 7 cups of sliced apples. I love to use this vegetable peeler, because it wastes less apple than a knife. While I peel the apples, I like to have little contests with myself and see if I can keep the peel in one continual strip without breaking it. And if I can do it, I imagine, everything in my life will go perfectly and I’ll be the coolest person on earth. If it breaks, I tell myself, everything will fall to pieces.
YES! I DID IT!
Argh! NOOOOO! I guess I missed this little piece. I might as well just pack it up.
But first I’ll finish peeling the rest of the apples. Look! They’re naked!
Now, you don’t have to core the apples, but it sure makes slicing them easier. This is an apple corer.
To core the apples, you just stick the corer into the center of the apple…
See? It cut the core right outa there.
Then just pull it back out and you’re good to go.
Now they’re not only naked…they’re without souls. But they will soon become a part of something beautiful, and all will be right with the world again.
Now cut the apples in half from top to bottom…
And let them fall into a mixing bowl.
Now grab a lemon. Okay, you don’t have to grab it. You can lift it gingerly from your produce drawer if that makes you happier.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the apples.
Now for the fun part! Add 1/2 cup sugar…
And 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Stir together well…
Then taste two apple slices. Smile. Feel happy. Then set aside.
Now, in a separate bowl we’re going to make a delicious, beautiful crumb topping. First add 1/2 cup flour.
Then add 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold (regular/salted) butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter.
Give it a couple of minutes at least…
You want most of the butter to be broken up and mixed in with the flour.
Now add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup quick oats.
Also add 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Then set aside.
Now grab the pie crust we just finished making. And okay, you don’t HAVE to grab it. You may slide it delicately across the kitchen countertop if that puts your mind at ease.
Now pour the apples into the pie crust…
And top the apples with the crumb mixture.
Even out the topping, but don’t smush or flatten it. You want it to retain its rustic look.
Now, since the apples in the pie need sufficient time to bake and soften, we need to protect the rim of the crust so it won’t get too brown in the process. So grab a couple of sheets of aluminum foil and fold it in half lengthwise once…
Then wrap the foil strips around the edge of the crust.
Now pop it into a 375-degree oven and bake for 25 minutes at first…
Then remove the foil strips from the crust and place BACK into the oven for another 30 minutes without the foil.
While the pie is finishing up baking, place 1/2 cup pecans on a cutting board…
And chop them pretty finely.
I love pecans, but I get really, really cranky if the chunks are too large. Actually, I get furious. I get furious and livid and I get angry, too. And livid. Then I throw things.
Not really. And that’s my favorite knife in the whole world, by the way.
Now, when the pie has about five minutes of baking time remaining, open the oven door and sprinkle the pecans over the top. Then close the door and let it finish. This will give the pecans a nice toasty flavor without burning the little suckers.
When the pie is done, remove from the oven and take a whiff. Exhale. Sigh. Get excited. Get very excited.
Oh, but we’re not finished yet. We’re not finished by a long shot. Now grab a jar of caramel topping. It’s in the aisle of ice cream adornments, near the hot fudge.
Now crack open the lid and just GO FOR IT! Start drizzling the caramel all over the top of the pie…
Oh my. Oh my, oh my, oh my.
Just keep going; don’t be afraid. I usually use about half the jar. Of course, if you’re feeling a little excessive and want to use more, who am I to tell you no?
Let’s have a closer look, my friends.
Oh, lawsie mercy. Just…lawsie mercy.
And mmmm…that crust is lookin’ mighty, mighty fine. Thanks again, Sylvia, for the recipe! It’s absolutely, positively a keeper.
Now, here’s the great thing about being a Pioneer Woman: Nobody ever comes over because you live so far out in the country. So you don’t have to save things for company. I’m going to entitle this photo, “Because I Can.”
And I shall christen this particular photo, “Because I Can, Volume II.” (Alternate title: “Because I Can, Too”.)
And from here on out, I shall call this photo, “The Apple Pie You Must, Must Try.”
And you must. You really, really must. Now. Please. Now. I want you to experience the same joy it’s brought me.