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Rustic Apple Pie

By The Irish Mother

"Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness."

~Jane Austen
I admit it, there have been times in my life that pie crust has made me cry. 

I can't effing do it, alright?! Just leave me alone.
Most often it was because I was rushing, and pie crust generally needs to be finessed;  romanced almost, like a high strung date.  Too much water and it gets sticky, creating a tough crust (Amy Winehouse), too little water and it is dry and crumbly (Jessica Simpson), making it difficult to roll out and work with.
My mother taught me how to make pie crust and pies at a young age.   She was a patient teacher and gave me plenty of latitude to take risks and learn from my mistakes.  One of my early flops was an apple pie that I was attempting completely on my own.  I learned from her to brush the top crust with milk, then sprinkle it with sugar before you bake it.  Well, I went into the pantry and grabbed a 5-lb bag of sugar, or so I thought.  I proceeded to happily and liberally sprinkle my beautiful pie and it?s decoratively fluted edge with SALT. 
My pie, my beautiful pie....
Everyone was nice about it.  We still ate it.  It wasn?t too bad actually.  Of course, now it would be haute cuisine, like fleur de sel caramels.  
Back then it was just weird.  But I still remember my dad laughing about it.  Classic.  And hey!  I never made that mistake again!
This is a quick, frustration-free pie.  All the goodness, none of the fuss (Megan Fox). I first saw a pie done this way in Martha Stewart's Quick Cook (1983).  
Only one crust to roll, and it doesn't have to be perfectly round, in fact, it is more charming if it has an uneven edge.
It comes together in half the time and you don't even need a pie plate if you don't have one.  You could make it in a cast iron pan.  

Rustic Apple Pie

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup shortening
5-7 tablespoons ice water


4 large tart apples (McCoun, Cortland, McIntosh or Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and sliced.
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

To make the crust:  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar.  With a pastry blender, or two butter knives, cut in the shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.  With a fork, start tossing the flour while sprinkling on the ice water, one tablespoon at a time.  Add water until dough is just moist enough to hold together well.  Form dough into a ball.  Place on a well-floured surface.  Flatten ball slightly and smooth the edges.  Using a rolling pin, roll into a circle, roughly 12 inches in diameter.
Fit pastry circle into a pie plate, or 10-inch cast iron pan.  Pile sliced apples onto crust.  
Sprinkle with sugar and spices, dot with butter, and fold the pastry edges over the apples.
Bake for 45-55 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven, until apple filling is bubbly and crust is golden.  Cool slightly and slide the pie out of the dish onto a serving plate.  Before serving, dust with confectioner's sugar.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

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