I wrote about my first experience in pie making here, and since then I've made that same pie one other time. I used frozen pie crust the second time, and justified it by thinking it was only my second attempt so I was still entitled to a shortcut.
I knew I wanted to make a pie this Thanksgiving, and I had to admit that at this point I was out of excuses so it was time to tackle pie dough on my own. I decided on a chai spice apple pie recipe that I got out of Ashley English's My Year of Pies, but I used the pie crust recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
This pie was definitely labor-intensive. Tuesday night I made the dough, which was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I don't have a pastry cutter so I kneaded the butter into the flour by hand but it wasn't too difficult. When I added the water in at the end the dough seemed a little sticky, but I wrapped it, stuck it in the fridge, and hoped for the best and the next day when I rolled it out for the pie it was totally fine. The other prep work I did Tuesday involved whipping out my mortar and pestle and grinding the spices for chai, and that took a lot more muscle. After that though all I had to do Wednesday afternoon was peel and chop my apples and put it all together and stick it in the oven. It was really nice to be able to wake up Thursday morning and have all my baking already done, I'm sensing a pie trend in my Thanksgiving future.
I was so nervous about this pie, especially because I couldn't taste test it before I brought it to dinner but luckily it was delish and so worth the work. I realized I didn't actually take a picture of the finished product, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it came out beautifully.
I'll never go back to frozen crust. The homemade version was actually a lot easier to work with. Frozen crust always seems to split apart where it's been rolled into a cylinder, but since this one was wrapped up in a ball it rolled out nicely and fit into the pan without any tears. Now that I've conquered my pie crust fear I'm itching to make more. If you have any good recipes, send 'em my way.