When you have a food blog, it’s therapeutic to rant and rave about airlines, frats, writing and wine. Other times, (okay— maybe often) you get to poke fun at your husband and embarrass him with little anecdotes. After a while you start to worry that maybe your readership isn’t taking you seriously as the chef you are pretending to be. So in an effort to up your culinary game, you decide to challenge yourself and blog about something you love, but have never made—something like your mother’s Apple Pie and her Teeny-Tiny Cinnamon Rolls. Pure PIE PERFECTION!!!
Of course, this requires you admit to never having made a pie, which is embarrassing, especially when you’re masquerading as a food blogger. You have to admit that you’ve lied and cheated. Many a hypothetical pie has fallen off your counter and been eaten by your dog, maybe even your soon-to-be hypothetical husband. But that carefully constructed deception will soon be a thing of the past. You are about to visit your mother!!! She is the PIE and teeny-tiny cinnamon roll expert.
She eagerly divulges her deepest pie secrets, happy to pass the long-overdue pie torch. At first you worry that not having an 85 year old cutting board, a 55 year old pastry cutter or a 40 year-old lucky plastic bowl and a 30 year old rolling pin will effect your future pie results, but then you realise you could slip these items effortlessly into your carry-on luggage. Your mother would blame it on her forgetfulness.
You surrender yourself into the hands of the pie queen and the result are impressive. The pie is flakey, sweet, juicy and the cinnamon—divine. The teeny-tiny cinnamon rolls (made from the trimmed crust) the perfect flakey nibble with a cup of coffee or tea. You wonder why it took you so long to do this.
It’s a “No Fail Pie-Crust” which means a no-fail pie. YUM!!!
No Fail Pie Crust (good for a nine inch pie or an 8″inch pie with enough pastry left over for Teeny-tiny cinnamon rolls.
2 cups Flour 1 egg
3/4 tsp salt 2 Tbsp cold water
1 cup shortening 1 Tbsp Vinegar
Mix flour and salt in your ancient plastic lucky bowl and cut in shortening using 55 year old pastry cutter. Mix egg water and Vinegar in a small bowl and add to shortening mixing with a fork until combined. According to my mother, it is the addition of this egg and Vinegar that gives this crust it’s flakey “no-fail” consistency.
Press the dough into two equal balls for rolling.
Roll one ball at a time, (using a well-floured board) squishing each ball slightly before you roll. My mother says you have to use a light touch and roll in all directions to make something that resembles a circle. If your rolling pin is 30 years old or older it will help.
Roll into a thin pie-crust thickness (keep checking to make sure it’s not sticking) and then delicately roll the pastry in order to transfer it to the pie plate.
At this point be happy you’ve made it this far. Your first pie is only moments away.
Take the apples you peeled and thinly sliced and have floating in a bowl with cold water and a dash of lemon juice to keep them from going brown. Drain the water and:
Filling for an 8″ Pie
5 cups sliced apples (Something firm and crisp like Courtland, Gravenstein or Gala)
1/2-2/3 cup of sugar depending upon the sweetness of the apples
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon (slightly rounded)
1 Tbsp Butter
Dash of salt
6 cups sliced apples
3/4-1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon butter
Mix these ingredients together and put them in the pie.
If you have any left over chuck them in a small pot and cook them on low until you burn them and then throw them out.
Next repeat the rolling process for the top of the pie.
Dampen the bottom edge of the crust with water and unroll the second crust on top.
Pinch edges together and cut off excess to be used for teeny-tiny cinnamon rolls. Cut a few slits in the top and then bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until you see bubbling through the slits and the top is nice and brown.
Serve with ice cream or cream or a slice of cheese if (like my step-father) you want to ruin a perfectly lovely piece of pie. (Remember to stash all of the key ancient cooking equipment in your luggage while your mother is watching the “snooze.”)
Tiny Tiny Cinnamon Rolls
- Take the remains of the pie crust and re-roll until you’ve formed another circle. Spread with soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll, Cut and arrange on a little cookie sheet and pop into the oven with the pie. I don’t remember how long they take to bake, but if they are brownish and look cooked take them out. Make a cup of coffee and have one while you wait for the pie to