There’s Nothing Like Apple Pie

Oct 25 2008

I love seasonal food.

Of course, I’m blessed with a society that provides all sorts of food at any time of the year. If I want blueberries in February, I can get them.

But some food remains inextricably linked to certain seasons. Lemon ice cream just only tastes right in the summer. Beef pot pie requires snow on the ground (and, ideally, a crackling fire). Strawberry shortcake seems tied to spring, somehow.

And autumn is the best time for apple pie.

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Now, whereas some dishes are open for experimentation, apple pie remains a specific, classic dessert. When a person bites into apple pie, their teeth and tongue come to the experience with certain very definite expectations: Tender, flaky, buttery crust. A lattice top. Flavorful, tart apples. A sweet, thick interior that holds together; no running all over the plate.

That’s what this recipe delivers. And—please don’t click away from this page when you read this—it even includes its own pie crust, made from scratch. I’m proud of this, because the crust takes about 5 minutes to prepare (plus rolling it out, but that only takes another 10).

In fact, despite the length of this recipe, it’s really dead simple: toss the crust ingredients together and massage until it forms a dough. Chill it, then roll it out. Chop up the apples, and toss the remaining ingredients together with the apples. Put them in the crust, make the lattice top (or not), and bake it. And you’ve got perfect apple pie.

Prep Time 30-45 minutes, total time 1 ½ to 2 hours, plus cooling and chilling time

Software

For The Crust:

2.5 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour

1.5 sticks (¾ cup) butter

¼ cup Crisco or other vegetable shortening

½ teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons water

For The Pie:

3 Granny Smith apples

3 McIntosh apples

4 teaspoons lemon juice

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon allspice

Hardware

Large bowl

Pie tin

To make the crust, melt the butter in a microwave for 30 seconds on high. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, first with a spoon, then with your hands, massaging until it forms a consistent dough. Divide into two halves (ideally, make one half slightly larger than the other; the larger half will be the crust and the smaller the lattice top). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then roll out.

Preheat the oven to 500°.

Peel each apple thusly: cut it into quarters, then cut out the core using a V cut, then cut off the peel. Slice into roughly ¼” slices and put them all in a bowl.

To the apples, add the lemon juice and stir. Separately, stir together the sugar and spices, then add those to the apples and stir until all the sugar mixture clings to the apples.

Pour the apples into the crust. Cut the remaining crust into strips. To make the lattice, lay out one small piece on the far end, and another at a 90° angle to it on an adjacent side. Then lay a third, longer piece next to the first one, peeling back the second piece so the third piece can go under it. Lay the fourth piece parallel to the second piece, peeling back the first piece so the fourth piece can go under that one. Continue layout out lattice pieces, peeling back existing pieces to create the proper lattice effect.

Bake at 425° F until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 375° F and bake until the juices bubble and the top is deep GBD (Golden Brown and Delicious), at least 25 minutes more. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. The pie will need several hours in the refrigerator before the filling sets firmly. Then get out the vanilla ice cream and prepare yourself for some classic apple pie.

(A tip for rolling out dough: Lay the dough between two sheets of wax paper, and roll it out. You won’t need to sprinkle flour everywhere, your rolling pin will stay clean, and once the dough is at the edge of the wax paper, it’s wide enough to fit in the pie tin.)

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