Pie

A Shortcut Apple Pie That Involves Zero Peeling & Chopping

October  1, 2018

As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some good-as-gold recipes—like this beautiful, golden apple butter pie from longtime community member thirschfeld. We couldn’t help but agree with community members who declared this the perfect fall treat, and got back in touch with Tom to tell us a bit more about it.


Photo by Jenny Haung

Pies have always seemed a little too labor intensive to me. I lean toward cobblers, clafloutis, and other desserts that didn’t require nearly as much effort. But now that I have an apple orchard and many different kinds of berries, I felt it was time to explore the world of pies.

I started by pulling out all my baking textbooks to learn about pie crusts. Double-crust pies are all about the ratio. After all, if you have a heaping amount of fruit with a thin crust you may have well have saved the effort and made a cobbler. To get the perfect crust-to-filling ratio, bake the pie in an 8-inch tin. Not only because they have the perfect-sized rims for crimping the crust, but also because they’re shallow enough so the fruit doesn’t overwhelm the crust (and vice versa).

Another consideration is choosing to use flakey, mealy, or short dough. I happen to like mealy—it’s a little more tender and easier to cut. In this crust, I use non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening to get the right texture and rise to the crust. Yes, the crust needs to rise just a little like a biscuit. And as long as you roll it out right away, there’s no reason to refrigerate the dough.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I bet it's a good pie (esp for fans of apple butter), but if apple peeling is really a deterrent to pie making, consider leaving your apples unpeeled for recipes requiring chopped or sliced apples. You can certainly do this if you are using apples you would eat out of hand (honeycrisp, for example, or granny smith), but even with many sturdy baking apples. The peels soften while cooking and also add a layer of tannins, resulting in layered flavor. Recently I have been peeling about half my apples and leaving the other half unpeeled...”
— Jennifer
Comment

For the filling, I decided to forgo traditional apples. I grew up going to apple butter parties in the fall where we boiled the fruit down over an open fire in a copper-lined cast iron pot. The cinnamon was heavy (sometimes too much so), but the smoke smelled divine. If you make your own, I love a fennel version from William Woys Weaver’s Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking, and add add a little bit of flour to the apple butter if it’s runny.

As far as serving, whipped cream is always good, especially if it’s brown sugar whipped cream. And, seriously, eat it for breakfast using Edna Lewis’ recipe for coffee.


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5 Comments

Rosalind P. October 4, 2018
A question about pie dough that has been puzzling me for a long time. I came to successful pies very, very late, when I finally figured out what I had been doing wrong for years. And at that time, I learned that pie dough was either flaky, ranging all the way from standard dough to puff pastry, super flaky. And the other, second, kind was what many people call tart dough, but essentially it is crumbly rather than flaky and usually calls for something else besides butter, flour, liquid: egg yolk, egg, cream or similar. Now I keep seeing term "short dough". So my questions: are there really only the two basic kinds, crumbly and flaky? And is what makes the crumbly one that egg, cream, etc.? And what is short dough? is it just another word for one of the two? Or is it a third kind. The reason I ask is this: I finally mastered both flaky and crumbly with specific techniques and recipes I need to use. I prefer my approaches and all I want to know with a pie recipe is and how to recognize which one is being called for so I can make it with my own recipe. Wow, too long question. I would love it if the recipe said use your own recipe for flaky (or tart or crumbly) dough, or use this one. WOW. Long question. I think the answer will be shorter. AND THANKS!! (and a genius way to do the crumbly dough? From Cook's Magazine: Just melt the butter, mix with flour and sugar and press it into the pie pan. No extra ingredient, no rolling. Unbelievably easy and it really makes a great crumbly crust!)
 
Nan G. October 4, 2018
I have taken a page from a top Pentagon chef (from many years ago).<br />He said pre-heat oven for baking, never put crust in cooler oven. He also said 1/2 butter, 1/2 lard!<br />Yup, gives it that amazing crunch with that "give" at the end.<br />Fabulous!<br />Amounts: <br />1 1/4 cup flour<br />1/4 tsp salt<br />1/4 cup butter<br />1/4 cup lard<br />3 tbs ice-cold water.<br />roll into ball, chill 1/2 hour then roll out to one 8" pie crust.<br />
 
Jennifer October 1, 2018
In the title for this recipe, there's a hook--apple pie without peeling. I bet it's a good pie (esp for fans of apple butter), but if apple peeling is really a deterrent to pie making, consider leaving your apples unpeeled for recipes requiring chopped or sliced apples. You can certainly do this if you are using apples you would eat out of hand (honeycrisp, for example, or granny smith), but even with many sturdy baking apples. The peels soften while cooking and also add a layer of tannins, resulting in layered flavor. Recently I have been peeling about half my apples and leaving the other half unpeeled...
 
Alexandra G. October 2, 2018
I couldn't agree more. Leaving the peel on apples in banking is perfectly rustic. I love using red apples especially. The light rose color as a result is charming and unexpected. My most recent recipe submitted to this site is titled 'Best.Ever Apple Bars'. Apple skins and all.
 
Katie M. October 2, 2018
Great point—thank you Jennifer! (This pie is truly delicious, though, so I hope you get a chance to make it!)