My mom asked that I bake an apple pie for Thanksgiving. There were already going to be other pies at the table, including a paleo pumpkin pie, a paleo pecan pie, and a grasshopper pie. I mentioned to her that I had a number of other pies that I wanted to try, and she took the dessert course to another level. She baked a non-paleo pumpkin pie as well as a sweet potato pie and a salted honey pie at my encouragement. To add insult to injury, I also baked a chocolate pie because it is really the only pie that my wife will eat. So, eight pies for just ten people. Normal.
This apple pie recipe was included in a pie feature in the Burlington Free Press. I liked using the boiled cider in the pie I baked last year, and this recipe presented a similar concept, boiling down the juices of the apples used. Moreover, I liked cooking the apples because it made them softer and lessened the bake time.
I used two apples each of the following varieties: Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Gala, Pink Lady, McIntosh, Golden Delicious. I probably should have swapped some of the firmer apples for more McIntosh, as some of the varieties that I thought would be softer did not cook down into applesauce. I chose my apples to be slightly above the weights listed in the ingredients to account for peeling, coring, and slicing. As seen in the picture below, the cross-section is full of apples, and the pie sliced really well for a fruit pie.
I made only a few alterations to the recipe. I swapped half of the granulated sugar for light brown sugar, splitting the sugar into thirds between white, light brown, and dark brown. I also added some traditional apple pie spices, none of which were included in the original recipe. The sugar substitution probably didn’t make much of a difference, but I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t add the spices.
The crust was fairly easy to prepare, and it appeared to bake nicely. I could see the flakiness of the crust in the lattice on top, and it browned nicely with the egg wash. Unfortunately, the pie was not cool in time for my travel arrangements, so I had to put the pie in the carrier while still warm, and it traveled this way for the full 7-hour trip to Vermont. This led to condensation and a less crispy crust. I’ll have to try another pie (or two) with this crust to give it a fairer shake.
350 g all-purpose flour
5 g kosher salt
25 g granulated sugar
150 g cream cheese, cold and cut into half inch cubes
150 g unsalted butter, cold and cut into half inch cubes
25 g apple cider vinegar
100-125 g ice water
4 lbs. firm apples (mix sweet and tart), peeled, cored, and sliced
1 lb. applesauce apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 large egg + 1 tsp. water
- For the pie crust: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and sugar.
- Toss cream cheese pieces into the flour mixture, then place bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Transfer flour and cream cheese mix to the bowl of a food processor, then pulse 8 times.
- Add the butter, then pulse an additional 8-10 times until the butter has broken down to the size of peas.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, then drizzle the vinegar and water over top two spoonfuls at a time, tossing by hand in between. The dough is ready when it is moist enough to be pressed together 90% of the way.
- Frissage the dough, until it has come together completely.
- Divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other for the decorative crust. Shape each piece into a 1″ thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Roll out the smaller disk of pie dough, and press into a deep dish 9″ pie plate, leaving any overhang. Cover with plastic wrap. Roll out the second disk of pie dough, place on covered pie plate, and cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Chill until ready to fill.
- For the pie filling: In a large pot over medium-high heat, toss together apples, sugars, spices, salt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook ~15 minutes until the firm apples are just tender when poked with a knife.
- Transfer the mixture to a large colander to drain juices for ~15 minutes. Return juices to the large pot, then simmer until reduced to ~1/2 cup.
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place an empty rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine apples and reduced juices in a large bowl, adding additional lemon juice as needed. Cool to room temperature.
- For assembly: Fill pie plate with apples, then top apples with second pie crust. Trim crusts as needed, then pinch edges together. Be sure to cut 4 2″ slits in the top crust or use lattice pattern.
- Chill filled pie for 10 minutes
- Brush top crust with egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar, and bake on heated baking sheet for 40-45 minutes, or until crust is dark golden brown.
- Let cool completely before serving.