November 11, 2010 at 9:08 am , by Ladies' Lounge
Making apple pie at Thanksgiving is something I’ve always left up to my mom. She is an absolutely amazing cook, but when it comes to baking she bakes one thing (and only one thing) really well: apple pie. I’m really the baker of the family. I make cookies, brownies, bars, cake, cake, cake… but for some reason never pie. So for “Dishing It” this week, I chose to make Ina Garten’s Deep Dish Apple Pie. Not only did I want to try my hand at pie, but I have to admit I have always joked that Ina Garten was my second mom — or at the very least, an aunt. So for this challenge I decided to pit Ina Garten’s apple pie against my dear mom’s apple pie. (That’s my mom on the left, and of course Ina on the right. You have to admit, they could be related, right?)
First off just glancing at Ina’s recipe I see a few major differences. She uses lemon and orange zest as well as fresh lemon juice and orange juice! Whoa, I don’t think citrus in any form has ever entered mom’s pie, but I digress (sorry shameless Golden Girls reference there).
So, to begin, I started with Ina’s perfect piecrust. I followed the directions exactly, but when it came time to roll out the dough, the problems began. No matter how careful I was, the crust kept tearing. So I decided to ball it back up and add some more cold water…thank goodness this mostly did the trick. The recipe calls for 6 to 8 tablespoons of ice water, but I think it needs more, perhaps 8 to 10 tablespoons. Maybe this depends on the climate or my over-eager radiator, but mine was too dry on the first attempt. After I figured this out the rest of my pie making night went pretty smoothly. The only other change I made was after about 30 minutes of baking the top of the pie started to get too dark, so I just covered that section with a bit of tin foil.
After 60 minutes, it was time to take the pie out of the oven. I let it cool slightly, maybe 15 minutes, before I had to have at it. And the verdict is… Sorry Ina, mom wins this one. I’ll admit the crust was delicious and flaky, but I just found it way too citrusy and acidic. I think maybe a little orange zest would have delivered a hint of citrus to compliment the spice, but not with lemon zest and juice and orange juice. My mouth was on citrus overload! Mom, I’m sorry for ever doubting you. And “Auntie” Ina, I’m sorry but this pie just wasn’t for me. (Don’t worry I still love you for your coconut cupcakes and every other baked confection). — Laura D’Abate, associate photo editor