Petra CoxPetra is a specialty baker for Mom's Apple Pie Company, a family-run bakery with four locations in Northern Virginia. By the time she was born, the family business had been operating from their home for three years. Petra and her siblings grew up rolling crusts, peeling apples and baking pies with their parents from early on. In addition to bakery experience, Petra trained with family friend, Is Harris, making a variety of Thai cuisine from scratch, punctuating her culinary appreciation for both sweet and savory flavors and techniques. Subsequent training in oenology and cuisine both in Florence, Italy and Washington, DC led to her current position as wine buyer and recipe research and development at Mom's Apple Pie in Occoquan, Virginia.
Petra Cox: I am Petra from Moms Apple Pies in Occoquan, Virginia and we have made our crust and we have made our filling and now I am going to show you how to put the whole pie together the ultimate step. So, you have probably about thee apples worth of filling in here and this crust has been waiting in the fridge, while I made the filling. So, it doesnt get too soft to work with. This here might be a little bunging for the crust we have, but it's fine to pile in a little high, it will cook down a little bit and makes a really attractive pie when you slice it open and just right when it comes out of the oven, if you had it nice and piled high. So, we want to gently lay the crust, the top crust over the bottom crust, so thats resting. It is very delicate, so you dont want to press it over the apples too hard and with just your finger feeling, where the edge of the pie tin is you want to just trim, the excess dough. Leaving probably about three quarters of an inch, hanging over the pie tin because that you are going to fold back over before you crimp the crust.
So, you are cutting both the top and the bottom crust at one time. It's okay if the pie crust looks a little funny to you before you bake it because after it's baked, it just looks like a nice homemade apple pie and the kind of color of it, match some of the imperfections. If you want a perfect looking apple pie, Id say probably make a shortening crust, but if you want the best tasting apple pie, make a butter crust.
This is just a small pairing knife that I am using to cut the edges, be careful not to cut your hand, but this one isn't too sharp, just sharp enough to go through the dough. So, to braid the crust, or to make a nice crimped edge crust you are going to have a little bit of excess crust around the edges and you can just take the top crust and fold it gently under the bottom crust there.
So, that the crusts are going to be pinched together and also the juices will be bubbling in there and it's good to have a crust where the edges have been kind of bound together, the top and the bottom edges have been bound together, so that you dont have the pie bubbling out of there too much. So, once you join those edges together you can use your thumb and your forefinger on your left hand, if you are right handed and sort of pinch it like that, make a little fingerprint, and thats how we do our pies here, but some people will take a fork and kind of press the edges and have a decorative edge made that way. Some people even just have a whole different piece of dough that they will make into sort of a rope and break together and press in there, but to me this is the most functional and the cutest little decoration you can do. You dont have to be too worried with the top crust if there are cracks in it, if you are not too worried about aesthetics because you will need to have vents in it anyway to let steam escape so that the crust doesnt just completely explode. You can have sort of decorative fence like that, or you could do a design, you could do sort of like a flower thing if you want.
The last step after you put it together is to make an egg wash, would just consist of an egg and probably about two table spoons of sugar. You can use just a regular pastry brush or sort of a marinating brush that you might find at a grocery store, or anywhere but, and any sort of food related products, any sort of tampons and things and you can just beat the egg with the two table spoons of sugar with the brush. You gently paint the top crust and you dont want the egg to pool up in any areas, use one an even coating of the egg wash. So, you dont get too much on your brush before you starting painting it, just as much as you need for a few strokes there. You are painting only this middle part, not the crimped edges because if you paint the crimped edges, they are kind of pointy and they tend to get burned, just paint the middle part and it helps to get a nice golden sort of color and a nice shine to it. So, here at our bakery, we use commercial convection ovens and we bake the pie at 325 degrees, but in a home oven it's probably going to be more like up to 400 degrees, between 375 and 400. Convection ovens have a lower temperature because they are blowing the air around and it's very consistent heat. So, you can just stick it in there probably about an hour, the fruit needs to be bubbling for a good ten minutes before you take it out, that means the cornstarch has worked enough and it needs to be able to solidify some of the juices just a little bit and going to grab the other one of the bottom.
The final result should look something like that. It's a nice kind of bubbly tops butter crust the apple pie and the fruit juices have bubbled for a good ten minutes and that means that the filling is ready. You can smell it, when it was ready to serve. Thats how we make an apple pie.