GBC Baking Class Week 2: Apple Pie

I have registered for a baking class at a college since I have never learnt the good practice of baking skills. The class is every Tuesday 6-10 pm and there are 12 classes in total. This course is prerequisite for all the other baking classes, such as pastries, cake, bread making etc. No matter what I want to do next, I will have to do this basic class. Being told that this class is not that easy/ super beginner level, I have decided to take the course. First week was introduction... Finally it's week 2! We were taught to make apple pie. Focus a lot on types of flour, flaky pie dough vs mealy pie dough, cutting skills etc. There are a lot to learn, especially I have horrible experience in making pie dough...

The dough used in this recipe is a flaky dough, recommended for all traditional home baked pies. 
Note: Choice of apple - northern spy, wealthy and rome beauty are recommended. 

Key learning to make pie dough: 

1) The shortening is cut or rubbed into the flour until the particles of shortening are about the size of hazelnuts. It is a key to make sure the flour is not completely blended with the fat and the fat is left in pieces. When the dough is rolled out, the lumps of fat will be flattened and becomes flakes of dough. 
2) Do not handle dough too much, this will toughen the dough. 
3) Always keep the dough cold. 

Pie Dough Recipe

Ingredient (enough for 2 pies)

750 g All purpose flour
500 g Vegetable shortening
250 mL Cold water (as cold as possible)
15 g Salt
30 g Brown sugar


1) Rub shortening into flour until reduced into irregular pea sized crumbs.

2) Dissolve salt and sugar in cold water. Make a well in center of the flour mixture add the water mixture in the well all at once. Mix just enough to incorporate.

3) Flour a large area of your table. (Use bread flour for flouring) Transfer the dough to floured table. Slightly knead a few times and shape into a thick roll.

4) Use immediately. If it is not used immediately, it can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. Place the pie dough in the freezer until the moment you roll it out. Avoid any chance of melting the fat, so make sure the whole process is quick.

Apple Pie Recipe 

Ingredient (enough for 2 pies)

2000 g (about 10 big) Northern Spy Apples
1 tsp lemon juice (juice from 1/2 lemon)
500 g sugar
50 g corn starch
To taste cinnamon
2 x 250 g Pie dough
60 g butter

For egg wash:
1 egg
3 tbsp water


1) Prepare pie dough ahead of time and keep in the freezer.

2) Peel, quarter, core and slice apples. Toss with lemon juice.

3) Preheat the oven to 350 F.

4) Toss 1/2 of the sugar into the apple and let it sit for 30 min. Sugar can help extract the moisture from the apple, so the excess water can be drained. Drain the water after 30 min and toss with the rest of the sugar, corn starch, cinnamon.

5) Cut 1/4 of the pie dough, place the rest back to the freezer (keep it cold when you are not working). Flour the table with bread flour, slightly knead the dough a few times just to smooth it out. Then, start using a rolling pin to roll out the dough (roll outwards). Keep it in the shape of a circle. Constantly rotating the pie dough, ensuring that it is not sticking to the table, flour the table and dough when needed.

6) When pie dough is rolled to the size of pie plate, transfer it to the pie plate. Place it back to the freezer. Take out another 1/4 and repeat step 4 for the top pie dough. Cut a 1-cm diameter hole in the middle of the top pie crust for steam to escape while baking.

7) Take out the bottom pie plate from the freezer. Fill and pack generously with the apples (remove any excess juice again), fill up any gaps or "valleys". Divide butter into smaller pieces by finger and place in top of the apples. Egg wash the rim of the pie dough. Transfer and secure the top crust to the bottom crust, flute the edges and egg wash. Avoid puddles of egg wash on top for uniform color.

8) Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes.


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