A perfect French tart is a thing of beauty. An American pie is homely, and rustic-looking. But done well, pie is so delicious that we’re happy to eat pie without ice cream; so comforting that a double crust is worth the calories; so tempting, we break off ‘mouse bites’ of crust from the edges to eat on the spot.
‘Pi Day’ is Friday, March 14th. (Get it, 3.14?!) Between now and then, I challenge us to practice our pie and pastry skills. A month before, I’ll invite home cooks to participate in the Great American Pie Bake, sharing our best pie recipes and our best tips for producing tender, flaky crusts.
AMERICAN APPLE PIE
Time to table: 2-1/2 hours
- 1 batch chilled Flaky Tender Pie Crust or dough for a double-crust 9”-10” pie
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Baking apples (see TIPS), peeled and sliced (5 - 6 cups of sliced apples)
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup white or brown sugar (see TIPS)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (see TIPS)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch (see TIPS)
- Egg wash of 1 egg yolk & 1 tablespoon water, whisked
- Raw (turbinado) sugar, optional (see TIPS)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Squeeze juice into a large bowl. Add apples as they’re sliced, tossing to coat with juice to prevent browning. Toss sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch into apples. Roll bottom crust and arrange in pie pan, patching if needed, letting rough edge hang over the side. Refrigerate.
Roll top crust. Fill bottom crust with apple mixture (see TIPS). Gently smooth the fruit, tucking slices that stick out. Arrange top crust over filling. With a knife, slice off excess crust, leaving about a half-inch beyond the pan’s edge. To form the crust, tuck the outer edge under itself and gently press to seal, then gently crimp between thumb and forefinger to form a decorative edge. Brush top (but not the edge) with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for about 45 minutes (see TIPS) or until top crust is golden brown and juices inside are bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
A Great Pie Starts with a Great Pie Crust
My favorite variation of this simple apple pie recipe is to substitute homemade butterscotch for the brown sugar (for sweetness) and the cornstarch (for thickening). I make it while peeling the apples, watching carefully. If you're new to butterscotch, Simply Recipes has a great photo tutorial on how to make butterscotch.
Granny Smith apples work beautifully, too, especially for people who like apple pie filling to be almost as smooth as applesauce. Just be sure to use the higher amount of sugar to contrast with the sourness.
More Pie Recipes
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