Hi. It's me, Meghan. It's been a while.
I'm sheepishly peering around the room, like a kid who ate the last cookie in the jar while no one was watching. I feel guilty for not having posted in so long. It's been a while.
Since we last spoke four months ago, I ran a science museum; road tripped with my favorite ally from Tucson to San Francisco and back; drove across the country from Arizona to D.C. with all of my stuff; moved into a condo on the 22nd floor with two wonderful friends surrounded by windows teeming natural light, delicate fall foliage, and a view of the National Cathedral; and began teaching middle school geography, physics, and robotics at a new charter school between the National Portrait Gallery and National Archives. It's been a while.
This week, for the first time, I took a moment and baked. I made an apple pie. Though a common classic, apple pie is anything but boring. My cozy apartment came to life with the smells of nutmeg and cloves as the piping hot steam danced in the afternoon glow. It was the most comforting dessert I could make: something so dependable and familiar after so much upheaval and change. I added my own personal touches - apple cider vinegar in the crust and little apple cutouts for the top, but this pie is like coming home again.
Homemade Apple Pie
yields one 9" apple pie
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into pieces
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons ice cold water
5 or 6 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes
1/8 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 teaspoon coarse sanding sugar
Crust: Pulse butter and flour in a food processor until it resembles coarse meal. Add the salt, vinegar, and water and pulse until dough begins to form. Remove from processor and divide into two equal parts. Roll each half into a ball, flatten into a disk, and wrap with plastic wrap. Let chill in refrigerator for an hour.
Filling: In a bowl with a wooden spoon, mix apple cubes, orange juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Assembly: Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove dough from refrigerator. Lightly flour surface. Roll one disk into an 11" round, then fit it into a 9" glass pie plate. Transfer filling to pastry bottom. Scatter 3 tablespoons of butter over fruit. Roll the remaining disk of dough out on the lightly floured surface into an 11" round, then cut out mini apples. Layer mini apple cutouts on top of filling to make top crust, fold edges of dough under, and crimp edges. Brush crust with 1 tablespoon of milk or cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until pastry is deep golden (cover edges of crust with foil if browning too quickly), 60–70 minutes. Set pie aside to cool for several hours before serving.