The desire to achieve the best apple pie led me to make 4 of them in a span of a week. After a lot of trial and error (I never thought pie crust would be so dang complicated to make! But so fun to make and eat as well...), I think I've finally got a tried and true apple pie recipe.
I had a previous one, but back then I was still a beginner pie maker! It did fare well for a couple of rounds though. But then I kind of fell out of the whole pie-making gig and went 4 months without making a single one.
I don't know about you, but I'd prefer a good apple pie over cake any day. I have always had a love affair with apple pie but had never had the guts to make the thing until I began to bake seriously in the recent years. The flaky, buttery crust in combination with the soft, cinnamon-y apples is for sure a match made in heaven. Ugh. This apple pie is perfection!
Tips and Tricks:
- I used Pink Lady Apples. I find that they are soft enough when baked in the pie and hit just the right note of tartness and sweetness. I would stay away from Granny Smith apples- which are incredibly sour and you'd have prob put twice as much sugar to counteract that. Honeycrisp apples work well. For ease, I purchase the 2 pound pack of apples from Trader Joes!
- Make sure your butter is cold! I don't feel the need to freeze it but make sure you don't take out the butter until you're ready to cut it into the flour.
- Being a university student living with not a lot of space or gadgets, I cut up my butter with a bench scraper. You can also use a food processor or perhaps a grater (for frozen butter).
- Don't cut up your butter so small that they are pea sized. Not like you do with scones. Make sure they're big and chunky and walnut sized- to ensure a flaky crust.
- When adding the water-vinegar mixture, you will, after 14 tablespoons be tempted to added more and more because the pie dough might not come together at the time. No, no that's not that move! You will knead the dough hard into itself. Stand on your tiptoes and push the butter back into the flour. Just keep on kneading- until all the loose flour/butter pieces come together.
- When you split the dough into two, make sure you roll it out in the plastic wrap so that it is not cracked on the sides and the disc is as circular as you can get it. Trust me, it'll save you a lot of work later on.
- Make sure you level your apples into the tin in an even layer. Since the apples will become soft and lose volume if you place all your apples in the middle of the pie tin, your dough will be in that shape and your apples will sink. It'll look a bit weird.
- You want to make sure you have a ton of dough for the lattice. You will want to have two times the width of the pie pan (18 inches) for a wide lattice pattern.
- Freeze the pie completely before you bake it. It makes everything easier!
Let's get baking!
- 390g All purpose flour
- 30g sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2.5 sticks butter (1.5 cups), very cold
- 1.25 cup water
- 5 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 lb apples, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, for egg wash
- To make the double crust pie dough: measure out flour, sugar, salt.
- Measure out water and mix in vinegar. Place in fridge or freezer.
- Take out the cold butter and using bench scraper, cut the butter into the flour (make sure all the butter chunks are coated with flour) until all butter pieces are walnut sized.
- Take out the water-vinegar mixture and using a spoon, spoon in about 13 tablespoons of the mixture into the dough. You can add another tb of this mixture if you really need to.
- Knead, as hard as you can, until there are no more watery or loose flour bits. You will have to press the dough really hard onto itself.
- Split the dough into two equal pieces. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Using your rolling pin, roll the dough discs into a somewhat circular shape, with no cracks. Store in the fridge for at least two hours.
- To make the apple filling: mix together the sliced apples, cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside at room temperature until needed.
- After two or more hours, take out your chilled pie dough discs. Let it come to room temperature. Don't try to roll it out right out of the fridge. It will be rough and brittle and you'll regret it!
- On a generously floured surface and rolling pin, take the pin and hit it firmly on the dough until it is a bit flat.
- Only roll one way (towards you!) and rotate the dough 90 degrees on each roll, always roll one way towards you. Repeat this until the dough circle is about 12-13 inches in diameter.
- Place the pie tin upside down on the fully rolled out pie dough. And using a knife, cut an even circle that is about 1 inch wider than the edge of tin.
- Dust off any excess flour and use your rolling pin to pick up the dough.
- Unveil the dough onto your buttered/floured pie tin.
- Place the apple filling inside, in an even layer.
- Repeat the rolling out process with the other disc of dough. Make sure it is at least 16-17 inches in length so that you can use your knife and cut up as many 3 inch lattices as you can.
- You can watch some Youtube videos on how to place you lattice, but it goes a little something like this: Place 4 (3 inch each) strips vertically over the pie filling. It's okay if the dough is hanging over. You want to cover the whole top of the pie with the vertical lattices. Lift up the first and third pieces until there is about 1/2-1 inch gap at the top. Place your next piece of lattice horizontally here. Place down the 2 vertical strips that are currently lifted up. Take the second and fourth vertical strips and lift those up. Place a horizontal strip there. And so on...
- Trim off the excess dough (you can cut the bottom crust pie dough and lattice dough together), so that there is about a 1.5 -2 inch overhang for the whole pie tin.
- Fold the extra dough inwards towards the pie, tucking it inside.
- Crimp as desired.
- Freeze the pie for 15 minutes or until frozen.
- Preheat your oven to 410 F and bake for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for an additional 43 minutes.
- Let cool at room temperature.
- Eat with ice cream and enjoy!