Classic Apple Pie
By: Michelle Norris, The Brown Eyed Baker
Ahh, apple pie. Nothing quite says fall like apple pie. I first made a homemade apple pie a few years back, and shared the results with you. It was my first-ever homemade pie and I totally adored it. However, as my baking prowess began to grow and I started to experiment with different recipes and doing research before diving in, I started trying new apple pie recipes. And I have to say, this one here is by far the absolute best. Such a tender, flaky crust, and that mile-high dome of a pie that you imagine seeing in the dessert cake of a 1950′s diner. Perfectly golden crust packed full with a mountain of apples. THIS is the ultimate apple pie.
I love the ooh’s and ahh’s when you pull such a tall and gorgeous pie out of the oven. So pretty!
The pie filling is surprisingly simple, which I think is best with fruit pies. Some sugar to sweeten it up and a few spices to enhance the natural flavor of the apples, but by and large the apples are left to stand on their own. Their texture and flavor shine through – absolutely delicious.
This recipe calls for Granny Smith and McIntosh apples, but the beauty of apples and fall is that you can substitute in your favorite varieties, or head to the local orchard and pick whatever they have growing there. I would recommend mixing and matching the tart and not-so-tart varieties to give the filling a good balance, but other than that, go for your favorites!
Incidentally, if you ever find yourself on vacation in Florida during the month of September and you get rained in on a Sunday, the hands-down perfect way to spend the day is by baking an apple pie and watching football. Can’t beat it.
Classic Apple Pie
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 1½ hours | Bake Time: 55 to 60 minutes
For the Crust:
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ¼-inch pieces
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling:
2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples)
2 pounds McIntosh apples (about 4 medium apples)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for topping
1. Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse to mix in five 1-second bursts. Add the shortening and continue pulsing until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, four or five more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl. (To do this by hand, freeze the butter and shortening, grate it into the flour using the large holes of a box grater, and rub the flour-coated pieces between your fingers for a minute until the flour turns pale yellow and coarse.)
2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if dough will not hold together. Squeeze dough gently until cohesive and divide into two equal balls. Flatten each into a 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap separately in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 degrees F.
4. Roll one dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan.
5. Gently press dough into sides of pan leaving portion that overhangs lip of pie plate in place. Refrigerate while preparing fruit.
6. Peel, core, and cut apples into ½-to-¾-inch slices and toss with ¾ cup granulated sugar, lemon juice and zest, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Turn the fruit mixture, including juices, into the chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center. Roll out the other dough round and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2 inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits at right angles on dough top. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar (omit if freezing unbaked pie, see below).
7. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to almost room temperature, at least 4 hours.
*Note: Do-Ahead – Freeze the unbaked pie for two to three hours, then cover it with a double layer of plastic wrap, and return it to the freezer for no more than two weeks. To bake, remove the pie from the freezer, brush it with the egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and place directly into a preheated 425 degree oven. After baking it for the usual fifty-five minutes, reduce the oven to 325 degrees, cover the pie with foil so as not to overcook the crust, and bake for an additional twenty to twenty-five minutes.
(Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
Michelle Norris is a passionate foodie, baker, writer and eater. Visit her website at www.browneyedbaker.com for hundreds of delectable recipes and planning tips.