Yesterday I made apple pie for the first time. I don't know why I never made it before. I've made other pies, and I'm comfortable working with pastry dough - in fact, I really enjoy it. And I have always loved apple pie...I just never tried making it. Anyway, I put apple pie on the list of things that I wanted to make for my second year of blogging, and I knew if I didn't do it this fall I'd miss the chance to use awesome local apples. So when we got invited to a birthday potluck, I decided it was the perfect time to finally make an apple pie. I decided to use the recipe from The New Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated - really can't go wrong with that book! The pie came out very pretty, with a gorgeous golden brown crust. The crust was flaky and tender and buttery, and the filling was delicious. The apples had good texture and the amount of spices was just enough to enhance the flavor of the filling without covering up the character of the apples. (Sorry I don't have a picture of a slice of pie for you - the pie went pretty fast at the party and we didn't want to interrupt things by taking pictures). I'm really glad I finally made this! I just wish we had some leftovers...
Have you ever made apple pie?
Adapted from The New Best Recipe
Makes one 9-inch pie
I used a mixture of Cortland, Macoun, and Empire apples for this pie. Royal Gala, Winesap, and Rhode Island Greening are other good choices. If you do not have access to these less common apple varieties, use 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith and 2 pounds McIntosh apples.
12 1/2 ounces (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled, and cut into small pieces
12 tbs (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6-8 tbs ice water
Filling and topping:
3 1/2 pounds apples (see headnote)
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup plus 1 tbs sugar, divided
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Pulse together flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until well blended. Add shortening and pulse until mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 8-10 one-second pulses. Sprinkle the pieces of butter evenly over the flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-sized lumps of butter, about 10 one-second pulses.
Sprinkle 6 tbs of the ice water evenly over the mixture and pulse until dough just comes together. If the dough does not come together, add additional ice water. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat dough together into a single mass. Divide dough into two balls and gently flatten each one into a 5-inch disk. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
After dough has chilled for at least an hour, place a rack in the lowest position in the oven. Put a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 500 deg F.
Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and put it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle and transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate. Ease the dough into the pan, leaving any overhang, and refrigerate dough-lined pie pan.
Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Toss apple slices with lemon juice and zest in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, spices and salt. Toss this mixture with the apples. Fill the dough-lined pie pan with the apple mixture, including juices, mounding the apples in the center. The apples will be piled high but will shrink as they cook.
Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12-inch circle and place it over the filling. Trim the overhang of both dough layers to 1/2-inch. Pinch together the top and bottom dough layers and fold over the dough, tucking it under itself so that the edge is flush with the rim of the pie pan. Decoratively flute the edges of the crust and cut 4 slits into the top of the pie. If the dough has become very soft at this point, place the pie in the freezer for a few minutes.
Brush the top pie crust with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbs sugar. Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and lower the oven temperature to 425 deg F. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the pie from front to back and reduce oven temperature to 375 deg F. Continue baking pie until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 30-35 more minutes.
Transfer pie to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before serving.