This past Easter weekend, I volunteered to make the apple pie for family dinner, and I am so proud to report that… my granny gave it rave reviews!
See, my grandma is the queen when it comes to baking anything and everything. To receive her stamp of approval is my equivalent of winning a James Beard Award! So of course I have to write about it.
First, I was very concerned that Granny would ask me about what kind of apples I used. I don’t know about your grandma, but mine is very particular, especially when it comes to using only Jonathan apples in her apple pie.
Well, I decided that I wanted to use a variety because I like the tartness of the Granny Smith, I enjoy the sweetness of the Honey Crisp (which I discovered during my first experience with apple picking with J a couple years ago)…
Sidebar: How amazing is apple picking?! Insert our *basic* Fall Instagram picture here…
…Anyway, back to my point! I also respect tradition and had to use a couple Jonathans as a nod to the Burns family matriarch.
Second, I finally understand the real key to any good pie crust (because you know, the crust kind of makes the pie). All of your ingredients must be COLD COLD COLD.
Third, the devil is in the details. You are not done preparing your pie after you fill it and slap some dough on top. Proper treatment to that top layer of dough just before you put it in the oven really makes a difference!
Those are the secrets, and here’s what you get!
8 large apples (3 Granny Smiths, 3 honey crisps, 3 Jonathans or Jonagolds), sliced thinly
1/2 cup butter, unsalted, cold
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
This crust recipe was inspired by Paula Deen’s “Perfect Pie Crust” which can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/paulas-perfect-pie-crust-recipe.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbs white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 vegetable shortening, cold
12 tbs butter, unsalted, cold
1/4 cup ice water
- To make your crust, cut your butter and your shortening into cubes, place them on a small plate, cover, and put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sift together the flour, white sugar, and salt.
- Remove the butter and shortening from the freezer. Mix the shortening in with the flour until the shortening is completely covered by flour. Then use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture quickly to prevent the butter from getting warm. Continue incorporating the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
- Add the cold water a little bit at a time, and continue adding more as needed until a dough is formed. The dough should not be damp or sticky, but it should be smooth.
- Divide the dough into two halves. Form the halves into discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough discs from the refrigerator, roll them out with a rolling pin, and they are all set for filling!
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- To make your pie filing, melt the butter in a large pot, then add the flour and mix to make a paste. Add the white and brown sugars, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the sliced apples to the pot, and stir to coat. Allow the apples to sit in the mixture for 10 minutes.
- Pour the apple mixture into your bottom pie crust (reserving a few tablespoons of liquid), top with the second piece of rolled out dough, and crimp the edges of the dough with a fork. Discard any excess dough hanging over the edge of the pie dish.
- Using a knife, cut several slits in whatever design you like in the top layer of dough. Brush the top of the pie with the reserved liquid in which you previously coated the apple slices. Sprinkle the top of the pie all over with a bit of white sugar.
- Bake the pie for 45-60 minutes, checking often. About halfway through baking, once the edges of the pie have browned, cover them with foil to prevent burning.
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