So, I have a confession…I actually don’t love apple pie and it’s the last dessert I would order in a restaurant or buy at the store. Does that make me un-American? I guess I feel like there’s usually something wrong with most apple pies. Either they’re too sweet for my taste or the apples are too crunchy or the crust is too tough (whine, whine, whine.) Obviously these are my personal preferences and obviously I’m an apple pie snob so when we decided to post an apple pie recipe we knew it had to solve these problems be as close to perfect as we could get it. This recipe produces a deep dish pie with a tart, subtly sweet, and soft apple filling. The apples are enfolded in a crust that is a flaky and buttery contrast to the bright tang of the filling.
The other reason I like this pie? It’s, well…really pretty and impressive looking. Instead of a traditional top crust or lattice crust, pie cutouts are used to create a patterned top crust that looks more complicated and time consuming than it really is. We used a snowflake cutout that ended up looking more like a star/blob/amoeba but it still came out looking awesome…the shape is whatever you want it to be! The first time I made this pie I used a maple leaf cutout that also came out looking like a star/blob/amoeba but still impressed everyone at Thanksgiving. My point is…use whatever cutout shape you fancy and you will end up with a pretty pie that everyone will love.
Have you ever seen a dry white wine that says that it has apple undertones? Well, that is the exact type of wine I wanted to pair with our pie. I wanted something dry to balance the sweetness of the apples and I wanted it to have a juicy tartness that would highlight the bit of lemon juice and play up the natural flavors in the apples. This wine fit the bill! When I read that it has “subtle aromas of tropical fruits over a background of apple and fennel” I was sold. This wine enhanced the complexity of the pie and I highly recommend pairing an apple-y Sauvignon Blanc with your next slice of apple pie!
Without a doubt, this is the best cider that I have had to date. This cider is aggressively carbonated like a sparkling wine (and likely fermented with a champagne yeast) and has a tart granny smith aroma. As the ‘brut’ in the name implies, it is dry with sweet apple flavors with some great funky tart notes that balance this cider really well. The dry and funky flavors are what really made pairing a cider with our apple pie work. When you have had enough of the rich flavors of baked apple, cinnmon, and pie crust the sour flavors and high carbonation content of the cider help was down the pie while still complimenting its flavors.
Classic Apple Pie:
based on this recipe.
For the dough:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. granulated sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 to 5 Tbs. ice water
For the filling:
2 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
2 lb. Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp. water
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1. To make the dough: in a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and granulated sugar together until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 4 Tbs. of the ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 tbs. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half of the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the dough in half and then into quarters and transfer it to a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish. Unfold and gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the dish. Trim the edges flush with the rim of the dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. On a large sheet of lightly floured parchment paper, roll out the remaining dough disk into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Using leaf or snowflake (or whatever you want!) pie cutters, make rows of cutouts in the dough, spacing them 1/2 inch apart and leaving a 1-inch border along the edges, to create a lattice appearance. Reserve the cutouts for decorating. Re-roll the dough scraps to make more cutouts. Refrigerate the lattice top and cutouts for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large Dutch oven, stir together the apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cornstarch. Set over medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until the liquid has thickened and become glossy, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
5. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven, place a baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 400°F.
6. Let the pie shell, lattice top and cutouts stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Transfer the apple filling to the pie shell, scatter the butter pieces on top, and gently invert the lattice top over the pie. Trim the edges flush with the rim of the dish and press the top and bottom crusts together to seal. Brush the underside of the cutouts with egg wash and gently press them onto the edges of the piecrust, overlapping the leaves slightly. Decorate as desired with the remaining cutouts. Brush the entire top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
7. Place the pie dish on the preheated baking sheet. Bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 1 hour, covering the edges with aluminum foil if they become too dark. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1½ hours before serving. Serves 8.