Making the Perfect Apple Pie.

The perfect apple pie has a perfectly sweet and juicy filling…and perfectly flaky, buttery pie crust…guaranteed to be a favorite for both the holidays and weekend desserts.

Apple pie is a classic dessert that’s especially perfect for fall….(or any other time of year, right?!)

So let’s get started…and let’s hope that this fall is much better than most of the year so far has been thanks to coronavirus and face masks)…

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The Apples

The apples that you should use for apple pie will be tart, sweet, and firm enough not to simply turn into mush while you bake the pie, but light enough that they are soft when they bake.

You  will need about seven peeled and sliced apples. Good apple choices would include…

  • Braeburn…sweet and crisp, bakes up firm and juicy
  • Cortland…juicy and tart, relatively soft, great all purpose apple for baking
  • Fuji…crisp, firm, juicy, balance of sweet and tart, holds its shape in baking
  • Golden Delicious – Softer, sweet, and yellow in color
  • Granny Smith…tart, green, flavorful, and perfect for apple pie
  • Honeycrisp…honey sweet and tart flavor, crisp and juicy, holds shape in baking
  • Idared – Red in color, not too harsh in flavor, on the tart side
  • Jonagold…cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan with a lovely aroma and a sweet and sharp taste
  • Northern Spy – Red and green, honey notes, and on the sweet side

Combining several different varieties of apples will give your pie a more complex, deeper flavor.

Avoid using Red Delicious apples for pies, they don’t cook well. Actually I avoid Red Delicious apples altogether. They are the “beauty queen” of the apple bins…made to look gorgeous but not really that useful.

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the Filling

  • 1/2C sugar
  • 3Tbsp flour
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2C butter
  • 1/4C water
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 8Tbsp ice water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1C butter

**********

The Apples

The apples that you should use for apple pie will be tart, sweet, and firm enough not to simply turn into mush while you bake the pie, but light enough that they are soft when they bake.

You  will need about seven peeled and sliced apples. Good apple choices would include…

  • Braeburn…sweet and crisp, bakes up firm and juicy
  • Cortland…juicy and tart, relatively soft, great all purpose apple for baking
  • Fuji…crisp, firm, juicy, balance of sweet and tart, holds its shape in baking
  • Golden Delicious – Softer, sweet, and yellow in color
  • Granny Smith…tart, green, flavorful, and perfect for apple pie
  • Honeycrisp…honey sweet and tart flavor, crisp and juicy, holds shape in baking
  • Idared – Red in color, not too harsh in flavor, on the tart side
  • Jonagold…cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan with a lovely aroma and a sweet and sharp taste
  • Northern Spy – Red and green, honey notes, and on the sweet side

Combining several different varieties of apples will give your pie a more complex, deeper flavor.

Avoid using Red Delicious apples for pies, they don’t cook well. Actually I avoid Red Delicious apples altogether. They are the “beauty queen” of the apple bins…made to look gorgeous but not really that useful.

*******

The Filling

  • 1/2C sugar
  • 3Tbsp flour
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2C butter
  • 1/4C water
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 8Tbsp ice water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1C butter

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Prep Work

Heat oven to 375°F. Place one oven rack in the lowest position. Put a large rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack to catch any drippings from the pie. Position second rack one rung above that.

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Making the Pie Filling

Peel, core, and slice or roughly chop the apples into 1/4″-1/2″ pieces. You want to go ahead and peel the apples because apple peels will make your filling chewy.

As you slice your apples, add them to a large bowl and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Mix together the vanilla, flour, sugar, and spices in a separate bowl. Then add this to the apples and toss the mixture again. Adding flour to the fresh apples will make the juices thicker and spicier as the pie bakes.

You could also use two 21oz cans of store-bought apple pie filling if you don’t want to bother with making your own filling.

Now let the filling sit at room temp while you are making the pie crust so that the sugar will start bringing out the juices from the apples.

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Making the Pie Crust

Whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, sugar and salt—in a medium-sized bowl.

Cut in the butter…Cut the butter into cubes. Then add the cubed butter into your dry ingredients. Now use a pastry cutter or your fingers to create a mixture that resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean sized bits of butter.

You want to be sure to use very cold butter—either using butter straight from the refrigerator or sticking the butter into your freezer for a few minutes to make it even colder. This will ensure that you end up with the flakiest pie crust ever.

Also work quickly as you finish making the dough so that the butter stays cold. If the dough gets warm while you are finishing it, stick it in the fridge for ten minutes before proceeding.

Add ice-cold water…Gradually add only enough water as needed to allow the dough to start to come together without becoming too dry…not so much that your dough becomes too sticky.

Roll out the pie dough…Work the dough together with your hands. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Shape into a ball. Roll the dough into a 12″ circle that is about 1/8″ thick. If the dough starts sticking while you are working with it, gently lift up the dough and sprinkle a little more flour on your work surface to keep the dough from sticking.

Refrigerate…Layer dough circles between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate for at least ten minutes.

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Making the Bottom Crust

Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. Then take the disks of dough and let them sit out on the counter for about fifteen minutes.

line the bottom of a 9″ pie plate with one disc of the rolled out dough. Press firmly against side and bottom. Trim the crust around the edges lays about 1/2″ beyond the edge of the pan.

Or else, you could also skip all the trouble of making your own homemade pie crust and simply use Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crust like I do…right?!

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The Filling

Now you are ready to add the apple pie filling to the pie crust…and officially make an apple pie…name it and claim it…

First stir the filling again before adding it to the bottom crust.

Turn the apple pie filling into the pie crust, mound the filling in the center of the bottom crust.

Don’t worry if the apples are high in the pan, they’ll shrink as they cook.

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Making the Top Crust

You can either make the top crust by laying the entire pie crust disc over the pie filling or by weaving strips of crust to make a lattice-topped pie.

If you are laying the entire pie crust disc over the pie filling, place the disc gently over the filling…trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving about 3/4″ hanging over the edges of the pie plate…wrap this 3/4″ overhang over and under the edges of the bottom crust…crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork to seal…trim the edges…and finally cut slits into the crust in several places to allow steam to escape while the pie cooks.

Another options is to make a lattice pie crust…the woven crust typically seen on the top of an apple pie. To make a lattice pie crust, roll out the dough for the top of the pie into a 12″ circle….cut the circle into ½” strips, using a sharp knife, pizza cutter or pastry wheel…now arrange half of the dough strips going one direction across the pie, leaving a little bit of space in between each strip…weave the other half of the dough strips through the first set, over and under, pulling back the first set of strips as needed….trim off any excess dough from around the edges of the pie.

A third option would be to cut shapes out of the crust and then arrange the  shapes on top of the pie filling.

Brush with egg wash,..Stir together the egg yolk and cream in a small bowl.

Brush ovee the pie, using a pastry brush This will help the sugar stick and help the crust brown nicely.

Sprinkle with the sugar…Sprinkle some coarse turbinado sugar on top of the pie. This makes the pie look pretty and adds a delicious sweet crunch to the top crust.

Refrigerate…Refrigerate pie for thirty minutes before baking…while waiting for the oven to preheat.

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Baking the Pie

Place the assembled pie on top rack of oven.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the second rack. This will catch any filling that might bubble over the edges of the pie.

Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, until the top starts to lightly brown. Starting the apple pie at a higher temperature at first and then lowering the heat will keep the crust from getting soggy.

Turn the oven down to 350° F.

Bake another 40-50 minutes

Cover the pie loosely with foil. This will help prevent the crust from browning too much.

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Serving the Pie

Allow pie to cool for at least two hours before serving. As the pie cools, the filling will thicken up, making it easier to servem making sure that you don’t end up with a liquidy pie.

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