If you’ve ever made an apple pie from scratch, then you know that it’s, well…. kind of a production. Definitely not one of those desserts that you can whip up at the last moment when guests drop by unexpectedly. But in my opinion, all the fuss – the peeling and coring, the dough rolling and crimping, the baking and cooling – is totally worth the effort. Here’s a recipe for a deep-dish apple pie that’s a blue-ribbon winner in my book. The crust is tender and flaky, while the filling is full of tender apple slices bathed in a cinnamon scented golden syrup. I recommend using a combination of sweet and sweet-tart apples. Good choices include Pink Lady, Gala, Envy, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Cortland. One more thing – you might notice that the crust on my pie has a lightly embossed design on it. I used a fondant impression mat to create this design, but in truth, I think this application works better on a lattice crust or flat – as opposed to mounded – top crust. That’s because it’s the egg-wash that brings out the design, and with a mounded pie, the egg-wash tends to roll off the top and pool at the edges of the crust. But it’s kind of fun to experiment with embossing. A variety of fondant impression mats are available online, from cake decorating outlets and amazon, if you’re ready to give it a go.
- 3 cups (426 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons (71 grams) vegetable shortening, frozen for 15 minutes
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks and frozen for 15 minutes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup (118 grams) ice-cold water
- 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) apples (a combination of sweet and tart), peeled, cored and sliced ¼-inch thick (see apple suggestions above)
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (71 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup (30 grams) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water
Make the pie crust:
- Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse on and off until combined. Scatter the shortening, in chunks, and the butter pieces over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine on and off until the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Mix the vinegar with the ice-cold water, add it to the flour mixture and pulse about 10 times, until the dough just starts to come together. (Don’t allow the dough to form a ball on the blade, or the resulting crust may be tough.)
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into 2 thick disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to two days).
- Unwrap one of the dough disks and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch round, then roll it up onto the pin and unroll it onto a 9-inch deep dish pie pan, letting the excess dough overhang the edge of the pan and gently easing the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Using scissors, trim the overhanging dough if necessary, so that it is overhanging by about 1/2 inch all around. Loosely cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or until you are ready to fill the pie.
- Meanwhile, unwrap the remaining dough disk and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough up on the rolling pin and unroll it onto the back of a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.* Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate, on the baking sheet, until you are ready to place the dough on the apple filling.
* Note: If you want to create a design on the top crust with a fondant impression mat, do that now – flour the impression mat well, then place it, design side down, on the dough. Roll the pin over the mat, using steady pressure. Gently peel off the mat. Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it, on the baking sheet, until you are ready to assemble the pie. When you are ready to place the top crust on the pie, run a long metal spatula under the chilled dough to loosen it from the mat, then very carefully slide it over the filling.
Make the filling:
- Place the apple slices in a large bowl and toss well with the lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch. Sprinkle the mixture over the apple slices and toss well to combine. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Fill and bake the pie:
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Arrange the apple slices (but not the juice, yet – let that pool in the bottom of the bowl) in the pie dish, mounding them slightly in the center. Measure out 1/3 cup of the juice in the bottom of the bowl and drizzle it evenly over the apples. Dot the filling with the butter cubes.
- Invert the chilled top crust over the filling and trim the edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang. Fold the upper and lower crusts under and press lightly to seal them. Crimp the edges. Brush the top crust well with the egg-wash. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 evenly spaced 2-inch steam vents in the top crust. Cut a 1-inch vent in between each 2-inch vent. Place the pie on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚F. and continue to bake for another 50 to 55 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Cool the pie on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving. (Leftover pie can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.)