One of my favorite traditions from growing up is the Hinchey “welcome home apple pie”. Whenever me, my sister or my dad would come home from any time being away, my mom would always have made us an apple pie. The house would smell like home, it was always such a delicious welcome after whatever (usually) awful food we’d been eating at college or wherever, and honestly, it just made me feel loved. Brendan recently spent a week away in both North and South Carolina, so I took advantage of the first real time we’ve spent away from each other to make this for him when he finally got back into town. You can make this from scratch, I promise! Even the dough. It’s easier than it looks even though it makes a little bit of a mess. Plus it has the added bonus of making whoever you’ve made it for feel really, really special. <3
WELCOME HOME APPLE PIE (makes 1 pie)
– 9 apples – I used Cortland, my mom uses Granny Smith, so just use whatever you like and will hold up well (so no macintosh or softer apples)
– 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
– 4 Tsp. sugar (C6H12O6) :]
– 1 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– 2 tbsp. butter sliced into thin pads
– condensed milk
Dough (makes 2 crusts – 1 for the top and 1 for the bottom of the pie)
– 2 cups all-purpose flour (don’t use whole wheat. This is an apple pie. Splurge.)
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1/3 c. super cold butter (I throw this in the freezer)
– 1/3 c. shortening
– 1/3 super cold water
1. Preheat the oven to 425.
2. Make the dough. The easiest way to make this whole pie is to have an awesome Cuisinart food processor, which is my most-favorite and least-used kitchen appliance. If not, you can use a Kitchen Aid mixer, or just kick it old school and do everything by hand.
3. Combine 2 C. flour, the salt & the baking powder.
4. Chop up the super cold butter into little pieces, add to the flour mixture. Here’s why you need the butter to be as cold as possible, and work as quickly as possible to make the dough itself. The cold little pieces of butter kind of burrow their way into the dough, and then when you bake this, they warm up and create these little pockets of explosions of deliciousness in the crust, which is amazing (obvs).
5. Pulse the butter into the flour mixture until it starts to form little pellets of dough. At that point, add the cold water (same reasoning for this as the cold butter) a little bit at a time, mixing until it starts to come together. My mom’s note is to not overmix this, “so don’t make this when you’re annoyed!”
6. Form a ball out of the dough, wrap in saranwrap and refrigerate while you get the apples ready.
7. Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4 inch slices.
8. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & nutmeg. Toss with the apple slices to coat.
9. Flour the surface of a piece of wax paper, dust a rolling pin with flour, then roll out half the dough into a circle.
10. Carefully flip the dough into the bottom of a pie dish, letting any dough overlap. Remove the wax paper and gently press the dough into the dish.
11. Layer the apples into the pie dish, saving about 1/2 cup.
12. Squeeze the half lemon over the apples, then add the slivers of butter in a circle. Top with remaining apples.
13. Roll out the other half of the dough in the same way you made the bottom crust. Cover the apples as carefully as you can.
14. Crimp up the edges of the dough to make the top of the crust and seal the pie.
15. Now comes the fun part! Pies need to breathe as they bake, so they need some air holes in the top crust. You can be traditional and just put a few slices into the top crust, or you can make cuts into designs and decorate it however you want. Or, you can be in love and put your initial and the initial of your boyfriend in a heart (ahem). I know, I know. Sometimes I’m like a 12 year old girl at heart.
16. Brush condensed milk over the top of the pie, then sprinkle white sugar lightly over the top of the pie.
17. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 45 minutes.
18. Serve with vanilla ice cream and also, as my mom instructs, “with lots of love.” Welcome home.