I didn’t want my pumpkin pie to be feeling all the pressure on our Thanksgiving table, so I did the only thing I could: I baked an apple pie too. I figured that my family of traditionalists would be satiated.
And so they were.
You know that saying, “we eat first with our eyes”? Well, this apple pie was something to behold:
Can’t you just feel the Thanksgiving love? (Don’t you wish your screen was scratch and sniff?)
I should have taken a side view shot, because the height of this pie really added to its promising, applause-worthy beauty. (Another reason I need to get myself more of these, I think). You can’t really see it in this picture, but this pie practically sparkled. All of the tiny grains of sugar sprinkled over the golden crust worked together to whisper at you, “Eat me! I am as tasty as I am beautiful!” This pie will make your loved ones be thankful that they have a pie maker in the family.
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar (or 2 if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1/2 cup chilled Crisco, cut into small bits
ice water (6-8 tbsp)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 large egg yolk for wash
1 tbsp cream for wash
3 1/2 pounds assorted apples (I used the perfectly tangy/juicy Honeycrisp with a few Spartans)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter cut into little pieces
sugar for sprinkling
1. Put a cup or so of water into the freezer to chill while you get the rest of the crust ingredients organized. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Drop the pieces of butter into the dry ingredients and toss with a fork. Drop the pieces of shortening into the butter and toss again with a fork. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut / rub the fat into the dry ingredients until you have mostly pea-sized bits. A few larger pieces are good for the flaky-factor. Take out your water and drizzle 4 tbsp onto the mixture, tossing it in with your fork. Add more water, 2 tbsp at a time, mixing after each addition, being sure to get to the flour that hangs out at the bottom of the bowl. After you have 6 tbsp in there, try to press a bit of the crust together to see if it holds. If it doesn’t, add a little more water until you are able to get it to hold together. Pack it like you would a snowball and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger for the bottom crust. Ken Haedrich says to give it a knead or two, but you really don’t want to work it much at this point. Flatten each piece into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour in the fridge or longer.
2. After you’ve chilled it, roll the larger pastry disk into a 13-inch circle and turn it over a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in without stretching it and trim off excess so that you have about a 1/2 inch overhang. Chill for 15 minutes or so while you get the apples ready.
3. In a large bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, flour, sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt. Stir it around. Once the pie shell has finished chilling, pour the mixture into it and dot with the 2 tbsp butter. Stick it back in the fridge.
4. Roll out the second disk of pastry. Do any cut outs that you’d like. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with egg wash or water and then center the top crust on top of the pie plate. Trim to create 1 inch overhang and then tuck the top dough under the bottom. Press down all around the edge and crimp to beautify. Cut steam vents with a sharp knife. Chill or freeze until it’s firm, about 30 minutes. While that’s going on, preheat the oven to 425º.
5. Brush the pie with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar to up the “sparkle factor.” Put the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake about 25 minutes until the crust starts to turn light brown. Reduce the temperature to 375º and bake until it is golden and the juices bubble thickly, 60-75 minutes more. You might need to tent the pie with foil. Martha tells us that the high temperature is to set the crust fast, to prevent it becoming soggy, and I think she knows what she’s talking about. Cool completely on a rack to allow it to set.
A song about serendipity, since baking a beautiful pie is always a little bit about serendipity, yes?