Decisions, decisions…so many recipes to share! I sit here this Sunday morning debating, pondering whether to share a savory dish or a delectable dessert or a scrumptious cookie…
And apple pie shouts out loudest.
I had never made an apple pie before. I remember watching a former roommate peel, core, and slice apples right into a pie crust, dotting it all with butter and sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar. She made it look so simple, but in my early 20’s, I had yet to accomplish many baking skills.
Once you surpass the pie crust creation stage, yes, making apple pie is fairly simple. But oh, the woes of the pie crust! And although it’s not hard at all to mix together an apple pie, it is certainly time consuming to peel, core, and cut all those apples. Worth it, though? Absolutely!!
I scoured quite a few recipes, trying to pick one. I finally settled on an apple pie I found on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog. It requires the extra step of sauteeing the apples on the stovetop for a few minutes, but this step reduces the amount of juices that can otherwise make for a soggy pie. Ultimately, it allows for even more apples piled mile-high in the actual pie, and I liked the sound of that.
When I took my first bite, though, I really, really, really loved the lemony tang to this pie. After pre-cooking the apples on the stovetop, you drain them, saving the juices. Taking some of the juice, you add some lemon to it, and this gets put back into the pie. Yum! I also took the liberty of adding a few additional spices and flavorings to this particular step.
Overall, the pie had lots and lots of apple layers, warm spices, the bright hint of lemon–all enveloped in a flaky crust.
And good news: it freezes well. I took the leftover pie, cut it into slices, wrapped each slice in plastic wrap, then tossed them into a baggie and stored them in the freezer.
I think this would taste scrumptious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In the photo below, I tested it with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. Generally, that would pair well with apple pie, but this particular pie has that strong hint of lemon that just didn’t take too well with cinnamon ice cream.
Tell ya what, though, it tastes stellar all on its own; it doesn’t even need ice cream to dress up its flavor.
- double pie crust (recipe below)
- 2 1/2 pounds (about 5) firm, tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 1/2 pounds (about 5) firm, sweet apples (such as Gala), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. grated fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- Roll one disk of pie dough into a 12-inch circle and fit into a 9-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edge (or just buy pre-made pie crusts). Trim the excess dough, allowing a 1/2-inch overhang. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll the other disk of dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes also.
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, toss together the apples, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon.
- Cover the pot; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the apples are tender when poked with a fork but are not mushy, 10-12 minutes (don’t overcook because the apples will finish cooking and softening up in the oven).
- Transfer the apples to a rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet, allowed them to both drain and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Be sure to reserve those drained juices.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix together 1/4 cup of the reserved juice from the apples, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
- Spread the apples into the dough-lined pie plate, mounding them slightly in the middle, and drizzle with the lemon juice mixture.
- Loosely roll the second piece of dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over the pie. Fold the overhang from the bottom crust over the top crust, crimping the edges together. Cut 4-5 vent gashes in the top of the pie, like spokes on a bicycle tire. Brush the crust with the lightly beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp. of sugar (or use turbinado sugar).
- Place the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch drips), and bake until crust is golden, about 25 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is a deep golden brown, about 25-30 minutes longer.
- Remove from oven and allow the pie to cool on a wire rack until the filling has set, about 2 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
One Minute Pie Dough
(food processor required)
Makes dough for one single pie crust; can easily be doubled for a two-crust pie
- 1 3/4 cups flour (about 9 ounces)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
- 1/2 tsp. salt (omit salt if using salted butter)
- 1/4 cup ice water (approximately)
- Place flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Pulse.
- Add about half of the butter. Pulse.
- Add the remaining butter. Pulse until mixture turns into coarse crumbs.
- Through the feed tube, slowly add the ice water and pulse until the dough gathers into a ball. It if doesn’t form a ball after a few seconds, add a few more drops of ice water until it does.
- Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and place it on a sheet of floured plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- When dough has chilled, roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap (a little trick that will make pie dough rolling much easier!) until it is a little larger than your pie dish. Transfer the flattened dough to the pie dish by gently rolling up the sheet of dough around the rolling pin and transferring the rolling pin to the pie plate and unrolling the dough. Gently press the dough down into the pie plate.
SOURCE: The Italian Dish