There are few things that say “fall” more than apple pie. Yesterday, I decided to make one using some of the apples I picked last weekend at Eckert’s.
Some people have very specific opinions about pie. They like cherry but they hate apple, or they love pumpkin but they will never touch chocolate pie. I happen to like most pie but one of my favorites is apple. It’s sweet, tangy, tart, spicy, and reassuring, everything that good pie should be and more.
This recipe is relatively straightforward but it does call for one odd ingredient. You have to mix apple cider vinegar into the apples before you put them in the crust. After I did it, I could smell the vinegar from across the kitchen. I thought I’d screwed up the pie but never fear, it will still turn out well. The vinegar balances the sweetness of the apples and make them more tender while they’re baking inside the crust. You can’t taste it in the finished product. It’s stealthy that way.
This is one of the best pies I’ve ever made. I know I say that all the time but this time is true. I topped myself, partly because I’m getting more comfortable making crust and partly because I love apple pie. When you’re passionate about what you’re baking, it will taste better in the end.
My boyfriend was impressed, too. He usually tells me that what I make is good but in this case, he agreed with me that it’s restaurant quality. I guess this moves me one step closer toward opening my own bakery. I hope that happens sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this recipe for apple pie. You should make it if you have some extra apples on hand that you need to use up. The crust is buttery and flaky, the apples are warm, spicy, tart, and sweet, and the sprinkle of sugar on top adds a touch of sweetness when you take your first bite. If I haven’t sold you on it by now, I never will.
Here’s a song to get you started on your apple pie-making journey. I saw “A Star Is Born” on Friday and I can’t get this song out of my head.
for the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
20 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
8 Tbsp ice water
1 egg, lightly beaten (for brushing the crust later)
for the filling:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
First, make the crust. Pulse together the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor until pea-sized balls form. Then pulse in a tablespoon of ice water at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove it from the food processor and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough a couple times then divide it in two and form it into two balls. Wrap each ball tightly with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for two hours or overnight. I prefer to leave them in the fridge overnight. Don’t worry if your dough is a little wet and sticky at this stage. You can sprinkle a little flour on the dough later when you’re rolling it out.
When you’re ready to make the whole pie, take the dough for the crust out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Place a large baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the apples and stir to coat. Whisk together the spices, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar, and sprinkle on top of the apples. Lower the heat. Stir to coat the apples and cook for about five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples soften. Whisk together the flour and cornstarch in small bowl and sprinkle on top of the apples, and then stir it in. Cook for another three to five minutes, stirring every so often.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Scrape the apples onto a baking sheet to let them cool completely. You want them to be completely cool before you add them to the crust (do not rush this process).
Grease a 10-inch pie tin. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the first ball of dough until it’s about 12 inches in diameter. Press the crust gently into the pie tin and make it so there’s about a half an inch in overhang around the edges. Place the pie tin with the bottom crust in the freezer.
Roll out the dough for the top crust until it’s 11 inches in diameter. Remove the pie tin from the freezer, fill it with the cooled apples, and then place the second crust on top. Press the edges of the two crusts together and then trim the overhang. Use the back of a fork to makes tines around the edge of the pie. Then use a sharp knife to cut three to four vents in the top crust near the center of the pie. Brush the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp sugar on top.
Place the pie in the oven on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the insides are bubbling. You might not be able to see the insides bubbling but you can hear it. If the top starts looking too brown, you can cover the pie with a pie of aluminum foil until it’s done baking.
Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool for a couple hours. The pie will keep on the counter for two days and then it needs to go in the fridge.