I am not a person who gets excited about pie.
Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m definitely not one of those people who “save room” for dessert on Thanksgiving.
Have you met stuffing? Or sweet potato casserole? Or cauliflower gratin with gruyere and prosciutto??? There are boundless reasons to fill up before dessert. And after all, you can always have pie for breakfast.
I realize this is probably not an auspicious start to a post on what is admittedly a very good pie. But in the name of honesty, I felt it necessary to relate that pie and I, we aren’t that close.
Unfortunately, I happen to date a major pie enthusiast – apple pie in particular.
And since he’s so obliging 364 days a year in eating whatever I decide I want to cook (terrible things like penne with vodka sauce, pan roasted chicken thighs and barbecue ribs), I feel obligated to make what he wants on his birthday. It’s only fair.
And what he wants is apple pie.
Having been given my marching orders, I knew I needed to make the perfect pie. We actually have a pretty fabulous recipe in my family that involves a custard-like filling and streusel topping. However, when I made it last year I experienced some technical difficulties (read: extreme undercooking) and ended up with apple soup.
It was still delicious. But it was a bit disheartening, and I didn’t have the energy for another failure this year so I went the traditional route via Epicurious’s favorite apple pie.
Traditional though it may be, it’s actually a very complicated recipe. So obviously I had to knock it down to my level, starting with store-bought pie crust because I really don’t do dough.
(I also don’t do three trips in and out of the refrigerator with said dough – really, can that be necessary?)
The key here is the coarse sugar sprinkled over the top crust before baking, lending it some crunchy caramelization and, let’s be honest, fanciness.
And at the end of the day, it’s mostly fool proof although if you do end up burning the crust a little or a lot (not me of course, talking about a friend here…), on whole it will still be delicious.
Classic apple pie
(Adapted from Epicurious)
Note: Rather obviously, I didn’t try this tip from Pillsbury but I would recommend it given the crunchiness of my crust: they recommend covering the edge of the crust (the crimped part) with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent burning.
2 store-bought pie crusts (thawed under refrigeration if frozen, and set out at room temperature an hour before using to become pliable)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
3 1/2 pounds apples such as Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Golden Delicious (I used 4 smallish Honeycrisp)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Coarse or raw sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
With non-stick spray or butter, grease a 9-inch pie plate. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk to create an egg wash and set aside.
Take one prepared pie crust and carefully lift it into the pie plate, pressing it into place. Using scissors, trim extra dough hanging over the edge of the plate, leaving about a 1/2 inch overhang.
Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick wedges and place in a large bowl. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg if using, salt, and lemon and stir to combine
Fill the dough-lined pan with the apple mixture, packing apple slices as tightly as possible. Then, brush the rim of the dough with the egg wash, reserving the rest. Top with the second pie dough and press it onto the apples to minimize excess space between apples and crust.
Press the top and bottom crusts together and trim the top crust, leaving about 1 inch of overhang. Tuck top edge under bottom edge and crimp it using your fingers or a fork.
Cut five vents in the top crust for steam. Brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet (to keep your oven clean from any juice leakage) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust edges are golden. Remove and cover the edges with strips of foil.
Return to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until all crust is golden brown and you can see juices bubbling.
Cool before slicing.
Our Favorite Apple Pie: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/our-favorite-apple-pie-51248690