I tried Instagram famous Helen Nugant‘s “walk in the woods” apple pie, using my normal filling, getting her book, pie style, from the library. A few things were off, like the amount of dough the recipe makes, and how much I actually needed to create the look. Also, the order of making the lattice and decorations I’d change from what the book says, to what she does in the video I found later. Anyway it took a LOT longer than expected, can you say 11:30 pm and dead on my feet?, but looked beautiful because I had some extra dough I could use in the freezer to make up for the scant recipe. So, after freezing overnight to hold shape, which she says in the video, but not the book*, it went into the oven. After 15 mins I turned down the temp and though absolutely beautiful when I checked it, realized I hadn’t set the temp high enough, so I thought, oh just to be sure I’ll turn it up a min or two before lowering the temperature. Why did I second guess when it looked perfect? Because I’m a rule follower.
That was a dumb idea made worse by not setting a timer.
So I multi tasked. Old people like me should just give up doing that. Especially ones with a concussion (lady ran a red light last week and murdered my car, but no broken bones).
So, I started slicing bread for the dip, but remembered I had a different newly sharpened knife, so switched – causing immediate blood loss. Nothing to write home about, but it became a reenactment of Lucy in the chocolate factory trying not to get blood all over the bread, and by the time I wrapped enough paper towel around the wound to stop leakage, I remembered the pie.
Oh the pie! The one I hand shaped tiny acorns for, one I hand embossed the leaves and lattice, cutting tiny surface details, the pie that was now tipped in black. Oh the humanity. Why do I try?
So I scraped the black bits to dark brown, vacuumed the crumbs, yes vacuumed!, and channeled the great British baking show by using a warm apricot glaze to recreate the glossy egg wash.
It was dark, and all the fine detail was lost, but it still tasted great. Though not exactly sure what it looked like. I worried the all butter crust wouldn’t be as good, but it was fine. Next time I will make more dough. The recipe called for two crusts to top the pie, one for decorating and one for lattice. I wanted a tighter lattice, so made three just for the top and it wasn’t enough (I used my standard good for almost anything dough for the pan, I expect one of hers would also not be enough.
This is my end result pie, with extra hand fluted lattice, because where was my fluted pastry wheel? And the good one is her pie from the book. Mine looked as good, if not better, before the great oven/blood letting debacle of thanksgiving 2021.
So yeah, I’d try it again.
*I don’t know about you but there are some books I really wish I could edit for the author, this was one of them.
Oh Maria! What a long, frustrating (at time) day in the kitchen. So glad that it was, indeed, delicious! I can tell that the next time you make it will truly be a work of art (like it was this time although the finish was lost somewhat due to the dark parts). I so don’t have your patience and wish I did.
You do have patience though, because you can make those fabulous cookies! I have no patience for those, not to mention never getting the 15 second icing correct. Oh, I’ve tried.
One trick she has that’s a good idea is building your lattice off the pie, freezing it, then sliding the whole thing on so you can center it with no fuss. That is unless you have a freezer drawer that makes it fall behind and shatter when you open the drawer. -I’m thinking of asking Santa for a freezer with shelves.
Maria, I just kept laughing. Then I’d read another paragraph and start laughing again. We need to give you an Indian name, like Bakes with Crazy Patience.
Have you seen The Pastry School by Julie Jones? I bought it because of her gorgeous pies, but have actually been too intimidated to try them because I remember you saying that dough that can be sculpted isn’t as tasty as plain old all-butter dough.
I’m laughing with you Marilyn! No, I have not seen that book [runs to library website].
All butter crust seems the way to go with these fancy pies, blending just to crumbly, but not the pea size chunks that creates a flaker crust, Like I make with dorie’s good for anything butter and shortening dough in t&t. The other thing is chill, chill, chill and/or freeze dough when working on these. I’m determined to pull this off now that it’s tried to be the ruination of me!