We’ve been watching all the celebrity chefs show off their mad apple pie skilz. Mrs J was talking about how her Momma could crank pies out like a Mrs Smith’s pie factory, and how she helped as a young lass but for whatever reason she now struggled to make a decent crust. Last night we watched Alton Brown make an apple pie that looked very good and we paid close attention to the crust recipe he used.
Mrs J noted, when my prodding became more intense, that we didn’t have any apple jack like Alton used. I remembered reading in a comment thread somewhere that vodka would work as a moistening agent-it had no real taste and did the moistening of the flour just fine without forming any nasty gluten that was the enemy of flaky pie crusts everywhere. She allowed that vodka would be worth a try but that we had no apples. I reminded her that this was an exercise in building a crust, and that we did have some canned cherry pie filling. She finally broke down and tried her hand at a cherry pie.
She used lard for the shortening, along with the butter. Things proceeded pretty much according to plan, the flour came together in the food processor just as it did for Mr Brown. She used 6 tablespoons of 80 proof vodka-the only change from the recipe. The dough was chilled for an hour before she rolled it out. The first piece went just fine, but the top proved fragile-she had to roll it out again. It was finally ready to bake.
It spent 30 minutes in a 350 oven covered with foil, then the foil was removed and an egg wash applied to the top. Back into the oven it went, she boosted the temp a bit, 375 I think at the end. It spent an additional 45 minutes or more in the oven before we finally took it out.
Mrs J judges it the best crust she has ever made. I am loathe to argue the point.