simple is best

The night before Thanksgiving, after seeing lots of instagram pics and facebook status updates that either showed magazine perfect pies or expressed absolute fear of making a crust from scratch, I had to take action. I posted the two apple pies I made and included the recipe. While I want the food I make to look attractive, I’m not overly concerned with how it looks. I care about taste. Thankfully my family agrees with my philosophy.

As I was typing up the recipe, it dawned on me that I could tag it with a term that wasn’t part of my vocabulary back in 1989 when we believe my mum first brought home this recipe from a friend — it’s a super simple vegan crust! Every single crust tastes awesome, perfectly flakey, and just plain good.

20141126-pieOil Pie Crust
yield: one crust

2c flour
1/2c oil
1.5tsp salt*
1/3c icy cold water

Mix. Roll out. Enjoy.

* salt is based on table salt (common when this recipe came to me). I dropped it to heaping 1/2tsp kosher salt and it tastes fine.

What oil to use? I use canola. Maybe one day I’ll remember to try olive oil and add a bunch of roasted root vegetables but definitely for desserts you want a neutral tasting oil. I mixed these in my lovely stand mixer and it’s definitely easy to over mix which is why I don’t have a nice lattice. The other pie has random leaf shapes I cut out free-form with my paring knife.

When I asked my mother how she mixed it up, she confirmed she always did it by hand, it comes together quickly. Right. Just because I have a tool that mixes doesn’t mean it’s the right one to use in every situation.

She always rolled it out between two pieces of waxed paper. I didn’t and it was fine.

Can you double the recipe? We never have. It’s just easier to make smaller batches.

My apple pie recipe is even simpler: apples, sugar, cinnamon. I called mum to ask if she had any rule of thumb for apples to sugar and she didn’t. She said if it tastes right, it is. Early Wednesday morning I gathered a variety of apples, sliced them up and added cinnamon and some sugar and a bit of orange juice since I forgot to buy lemons. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in the cool basement. Every few hours I stirred and tasted. I used less sugar than I expected and the pies still tasted amazing. One of the apples was new to me — I forget what it was, we bought it at H-mart and it tasted almost like an asian pear. When it was baked into the pie with the others it was amazing.