What better to commemorate National Pie Day then a big, deep-dish, double-crust, packed to the brim, all-American apple pie? And a darn right perfect one at that! Yep, let’s just skip to the end – I did it and it was awesome.
Week after week, I sit here behind my keyboard and espouse my latest pietifications. I’ve conquered fruit pies, lattice crusts, mini pies and butter crusts. Cream pies and custard pies – shoot, they ain’t got nothin’ on me. Crimped edges? Crispy bottom crust? Bring it. But there is one pie I have steered clear of. One pie that threatens to topple all of the pie skills I have acquired over this past year. The one, the only… DOUBLE CRUST APPLE PIE. As if getting one crust right isn’t hard enough, this monstrosity demands perfection on the top and bottom! I haven’t had the courage to take it on until now. But a pie holiday calls for the most serious pie I can make.
This recipe is the collision of Grandma Ople’s tried and true and the America’s Test Kitchen 2006 scientific experiment. I figured old school meets new school would be a good mash up. Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie is one of the highest rated on Allrecipes.com. If you know me, then you know that I swear by the four and five star recipes on that site. On the rare occasion that I cook, you can pretty much bet that I found it on Allrecipes. I also LOVE America’s Test Kitchen because really, why do your own experimenting when someone has already done it for you?
From Grandma Ople, I adopted her technique of making a caramel sauce to toss with the apples instead of the usual sugar/brown sugar mixture. I also adopted the suggestion of saving some of that sauce and brushing the top crust with it. America’s Test Kitchen confirmed what I had begun to notice about apple pie – cooking the apples first ensures that they don’t shrink away from the top crust and that you minimize the moisture that threatens to make your bottom crust soggy. Voila – my perfect apple pie!
As American As They Come Apple Pie
1 double crust recipe of Best of Both Worlds pie crust. Follow this link for the recipe and instructions. Refrigerate the discs of dough for at least one hour or up to two days.
10 apples or about 5 pounds (6 Granny Smith, 4 Braeburn or Fuji)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg white, slightly beaten (for bottom crust)
Roll one disc of dough into a 13 inch circle. Place into a 91/2 inch deep dish pie plate. Trim dough to leave a 1/2 inch overhang. Return to refrigerator to chill. Next, roll the other disc of dough into a 13 inch circle and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator.
Place a baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 (or 400 convection).
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
Peel and slice apples into 1/4 inch thick slices. You can cut some of the slices in half so that the apples lay more compactly. Toss with sugar/spice mixture and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Place in a large dutch oven (or large skillet) and cook, covered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Stir often and remove from heat when apples are soft but still hold their shape. Place apples into a colander over a bowl to remove excess moisture. Let cool to room temperature.
While apples are cooling, prepare caramel sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the flour and cornstarch to make a paste. Add water, 1/2 cup brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, lower the heat and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Toss apples with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice then add 2/3 of the caramel mixture. Reserve some of the sauce to glaze the top crust. Remove pie plate from refrigerator and brush bottom crust with slightly beaten egg white. Pour apples into chilled pie shell and arrange so that they lay compactly.
Cover gently with the top crust and trim the edges to 1/2 inch overhang. To achieve an even edge, fold the edge of the top crust and tuck it under the edge of the bottom crust so that the smooth, folded edge is flush with the pie plate. Create a decorative edge and then use a knife to cut four vents into the top. Brush crust lightly with reserved caramel sauce and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired.
Place pie on baking sheet and bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and juices bubble.
Use a pie shield or foil if crust begins to brown before pie is done. Enjoy with ice cream, by itself, for breakfast, for a snack or all of the above!