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 with Moms Apple Pie Company, Occoquan, Virginia and this how we make an apple pie filling for a butter crust apple pie.
We use about probably two and three quarters pounds of apples, thats about three large apples. We use York apples whenever we can, we get them locally and they are just a really nice old-fashioned, kind of funny looking apple variety, but they are perfect because they are really flavorful and really crisp.
We also use green-golden delicious at certain times of the year as well, but we actually have a really cool apple peeling machine at our big location in Sterling, Virginia, but if I am just making one apple pie, Id like to just cut the apple up in to sections and take crust off with the knife. It doesnt matter if all of the apples are different, if all the pieces are different shapes, you can have different shapes and it kind of makes for a really cute apple pie because the top of the apple pie will be really nice in a kind of bubbly working, its really cute and old-fashioned.
Some people leave the skins on because maybe some of the health nuts do that because the peels are where the good stuff is in apple pie, but if you want just even texture you can take all the peels off. So, of course different apples are of different sizes, but roughly you just need under three pounds, just under three pounds. So, you will probably be using about three or four apples depending on their size and you can cut them up into pieces, just roughly about this, if like larger wedges, you can do it that way too. The important thing when you are making filling is to have an amount of sugar thats appropriate to what you are making, something like rhubarb pie of course its going to be really tart and you are going to need a lot more sugar than an apple pie. We use probably just under a cup of sugar for the apple pie and its best to mix it up with the cornstarch in advance. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar, before adding it so you dont get crumbs of cornstarch in the pie. So, just over a table spoon of cornstarch to do it because apples arent going to release as much juice as say like blackberry pie.
Just under a half tea spoon of salt will bring out some of the nice flavors of the apples and depending on your taste, we use probably about a tea spoon of cinnamon. So, you can just mix that up pretty well, so you dont see any little clumps of cornstarch. Then you just toss the apples with the sugar mixtures till they are nicely coated. You want to have a pretty even coat on each of little piece of apple so that the cornstarch can absorb the juices and make it into thick or pie filling kind of texture.
We dont add any water to our pies at Moms Apple Pie Company because its going to be just really nice intense fruit flavor in the pie. If you just the appropriate amount of sugar and the appropriate amount of spice you are going to have a really nice intense fruit flavor without kind of compromising that with water. The juices will kind if come out and solidify a little bit, but really what you want is the natural fruit flavor.
So, that is how you make a pie filling and we can go on and Ill show how to make it -- put the whole pie together.