I have already written about my great love of all things pie-related, as well as the trials & tribulations of making the perfect piecrust. I think almost everyone has their own favorite type of crust (with eggs? lard? butter? vegetable shortening?) and special filling (fruit? custard? curd?) that they will swear by. For me, a classic, beautifully simple, apple pie is at the top of a very short list.
I was always that kid who hung around the dessert table at Thanksgiving, eyeballing the pies instead of the golden brown turkey! This particular apple pie recipe has everything that I love about autumn baking; a flaky & buttery crust, juicy apples, and just the hint of warm cinnamon and nutmeg. I use a very light hand with the traditional apple pie spices, to really let the apples sing.
I will point out that I think the right combination of apples is key to a great apple pie. You want juicy apples in the mix, but not the whole pie, because you'll get a soggy mess after baking. I have done a lot of experimenting over the years, and this is what I have found to work the best for me.... a blend of Granny Smiths, Galas, and good old Macintoshes with an odd Red Delicious thrown in. The filling comes out sweet, juicy, but retains some structure due to the firmer apples.
This pie is delicious, and I will come clean here... I love it so much that, given the chance, I'd eat it for breakfast too!
Old Fashioned Apple Pie
makes (1) 9 inch pie
1 chilled batch of double pie crust (click here for my favorite butter pie crust recipe)
6 or so cups of thinly sliced apples (2 granny smiths, 3 galas, 2 macintoshes, & 1 red delicious)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon all purpose flour + more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat your oven to 375F. Reserve a 9 inch standard sized pie dish.
Wash, peel, and core your apples. Slice thinly and add to a large bowl. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir to combine.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll out your first disk of pie dough on a well floured surface. Roll until large enough to cover the pie dish. Carefully transfer to the pie plate.
Next, add the apple mixture to the dish, spreading the fruit evenly in the pan. It's ok to slightly heap the filling (it shrinks down when cooked). Then dollop the 1 tablespoon of butter on top of the filling.
Working quickly, roll out your top disk of dough on a floured surface, and cover the top of the pie, leaving a bit of overhang. If you have an abundance of overhanging pie dough, trim carefully with a small paring knife, leaving about an inch to spare. Save the scraps for decorative pieces.
Now, roll the top portion of the dough under the bottom portion of the dough with your fingers, around the circumference of the pie. Lightly pinch the two layers as you go, to seal the edges.
Next, it's time to pinch or fork crimp your pie crust. I prefer to pinch using my thumb & forefinger on one hand and the pinkie finger of the other hand.
Cut any remaining scraps into decorative pieces if desired, and attach to the crust with a spot of water.
The pie will need to 'vent', so you may either cut 3 or 4 lines into the top of the crust, or fork prick as I have done. You may also want to add an egg wash to the top of the pie (1 egg yolk + 2 tablespoons water mixed), but I tend to do that only on berry pies, so you won't see it here.
Take two strips of aluminum foil and lightly press to the edges of the crust, so the crust is protected from the heat.
Bake for 25 minutes with the foil on and then an additional 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown) with the foil removed. Watch for over-browning, especially if using an egg wash.
Cool on a wire rack. I like to cool overnight so the pie can 'gel' a bit. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.