I can’t start Christmas Season without making the traditional apple pie. Even though I wasn’t born here, once I made my first apple pie it became a family tradition. I personally think that you’ll always have room to improve an apple pie. So far I am quite content with this recipe. But if you are like me, always searching for new techniques and flavor twists, you know that I will probably be revisiting this recipe in the future.
I really don’t consider myself an expert in doing apple pies, but I know a thing or two about it. There are two elements for making an apple pie and that’s the pastry and the apples.
My favorite pie crust is made with butter rather than shortening because it has a buttery flavor and a crumbly texture. But you could use your own pastry crust recipe or you can just use store bought pie crust. I added a third element in making this crust and that is alcohol. There are some recipes over the web that call for vodka to make the crust. Well, the first time I tried this trend I did not have vodka, so instead I used dark rum. And let me tell you, I loved it! The alcohol adds more moisture to the dough, so it’s becomes more flexible to roll and the crust will have a beautiful golden color. One thing that is very important is temperature. It is crucial to have the water and the butter very chilled; If you want a firm and flaky crumbly texture that is key, otherwise your hands will melt the butter very quickly and your crust could end up greasy and flat.
Now, let’s talk about the apple filling. You can make this pie with any firm textured apple that will not lose its shape when baked. My favorites are Honey Crisps, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Fuji. Also, is great to mix them; you’ll have a different tone of tangy flavor and textures.
The other key into making apple pie is just to be very patient, so just enjoy the process and make a great piece of apple pie with ice cream!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
- 2 tablespoon of dark rum or vodka (optional)
- 2 1/2 pounds of apples (about 6 large), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch-thick (about 8 cups (2 L))
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of ginger (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour)
Making the Crust:
- In a food processor, place the flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture look like coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Do not over mix.
- Pour 1/4 cup of water and the tablespoons of rum in a slow steady stream through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
- Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. Note: You can freeze the dough for up to 6 months. To use it transfer the dough to the refrigerator a day before.
- After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. (Always roll from the center of the pastry outwards, flip up the dough meanwhile rolling to ensure uniform thickness).
- Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- Then remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.
Making the Apple Filling:
- In a large bowl combine the sliced apples with the sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to three hours.
- Place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl in order to capture the juices. Let the apples drain for about 15minutes – or until you have at least 1/2 cup of juice.
- Spray a 4 cup heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray, and then pour in the collected juices and add the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high, about 5 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup and is syrupy and lightly caramelized. You can also make this process in a saucepan.
- Meanwhile, remove the bottom pastry crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it has time to soften. Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch (corn flour). Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine. Pour the apples and their syrup into the chilled pie crust. Moist the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the apples.
- Fold any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then curve the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make five 2 inch slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the pastry while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place the oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack before preheating the oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the stone (or pan) to catch any apple juices.
- Bush with an egg wash and sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the top. Then, set the pie on the stone or pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and the apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits.
- Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from : Joy of Baking