Thanksgiving day preparations are in full swing around these parts, and the Mister and I have more dinner invites than we can shake a stick at. My contribution to the feast(s) will likely be dessert, so I figure now is a great time to brush up on my pie-making technique. It's also feels good to add a classic recipe to the blog roster.
Is there anything better than buttery, cinnamon-kissed, classic apple pie? Maybe apple pie à la mode? Apple buttermilk pie? It's hard to say.
I'd like to tell you that I slaved over the leaf cut-out crust, but it's really quick work when you use these little gizmos. If you have experience cutting out sugar cookies, then you can certainly make this fancied-up pie crust. It's all a matter of layering the cut-outs near the edge of the pie, and working your way inward.
Making pie crust in the food processor is a snap, but if you consider it a chore then you can certainly substitute a ready-made crust. If you opt for the cut-outs then you'll need at least three refrigerated pie crusts (that's 1 1/2 boxes of refrigerated roll-out dough). That's a good thing to keep in mind when making your shopping list.
You'll need three large apples for this pie. I went for the largest, firmest apples I could find, which turned out to be Gala apples at my grocery store. Granny Smith is also an excellent choice for pies.
There are many ways to vary this pie, but I like it best with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. A drizzle of salted caramel never hurt anything, either.
Classic Apple Pie
[click for printable version]
Yields one 9-inch pie
Pie crust (yields 2 crusts)
2 1/2 cups/310 g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
16 tablespoons/226 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
4 tablespoons ice water, additional as needed
In a food processor combine the flour, salt, and sugar; pulse several times to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.
Remove the lid and sprinkle 2 tablespoons ice water over the mixture. Re-attach lid and pulse until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, a little at a time).
Turn dough out onto a work surface and divide in two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Unwrap dough; place on a floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to a 14-inch round. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of plate.
Trim overhang to 1 inch; fold overhang under itself. Re-roll the scraps into one long piece and cut into three even strands (use some of the reserved pie dough if you don’t have enough scrap dough); braid the strands together. Brush the edge of the fitted pie crust with water and lay the braid on top of the damp edge. Press gently to adhere. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
1/2 cup/100 g sugar
1/2 cup/65 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (about 3 large apples)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the sliced apples and toss to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust and dot with butter. Return to the refrigerator.
Remove the second pie crust from the refrigerator and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a small cookie cutter (1 1/2 to 2-inch) cut as many shapes as you can from the dough. Re-roll crust and cut out more shapes; repeat until all the dough is used. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and layer the shapes on top of the pie starting at the outer edge and working inward. Using a pastry brush, lightly cover the entire crust with egg wash.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juice is bubbling.
Note: If you find the edge of the pie crust is becoming too brown, cover it gently with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield.