Pie Night

 We got some  folks together one afternoon last week to bake pies and tarts in preparation for our annual Thanksgiving Family  Dinner.  I had help from some preschool friends early on in the kitchen; I peeled apples and they chopped. And boy, did they chop. They put those kid safe tools to use and went through an unbelievable 30 lbs of apples. Of course, there was the usual end of the day tidying up to do - cleaning afternoon snack dishes and loading the dishwasher.
My husband Sam came by with our daughter Sadie (one of the apple choppers) and snapped these photos.
After they left more BCS teachers, parents and siblings showed up to help Sarah and I put together many apple and pumpkin pies, 2 very large pumpkin and chocolate tarts, and a gluten free chocolate number, all in just under 3 and a half hours.
I just love our community, and I think it's possible that a new BCS Thanksgiving tradition has been born.

Apple Pie

Classic Pastry Pie Crust
originally published on the Kids VT Home Cookin' blog
(makes 2 crusts for a 9-inch pie plate)

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
approximately 1/3 cup ice cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour all of the flour into the food processor. Cut the cold butter into chunks and add to the flour. Pulse the food processor three or four times to blend the butter and flour. Don't blend too much; you want the mixture to look like loose crumbs. 

When you've got the right texture, add the cold water in a slow stream while blending continuously until the dough starts to hold together. It will take less than a minute. When the dough forms a ball in the processor, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. 

Form the dough into two rounds with your hands, and flatten them a bit. Wrap each round in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The refrigeration will help the butter solidify a bit and the moisture distribute evenly and makes for a flakier, tender crust. 

When the dough is ready, rub some flour into your rolling pin and lightly flour your work space. Roll the dough from the center outward in a circular motion, trying to shape it roughly into a large circle.

When you have a circle about 2 inches larger in diameter than your pie plate, transfer the dough carefully to the plate. Roll, or crimp the extra pastry around the edges or use a fork to make a pattern. Roll out the top crust in the same way. 

I like to have lots of apples that form a little mound in the middle, so that even when they cook down while the pie bakes you still have enough filling to hold up the top crust, if you're using one. 
I usually use 9 or 10 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick sections. 
Toss in a large bowl with 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp flour or cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Tip into your crust, then dot the top with about 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter, cut into small chunks. 
Carefully center your top crust over the pie and trim any excess, then seal the edges to the lower crust. Crimp the edges with your fingers or decorate with a fork. 
cut several slits in the top crust to let steam escape. 
Optional: brush crust with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a bit of granulated sugar before baking. 

Bake at 375 for about an hour or until the crust turns golden brown and the filling is bubbling.