Hello apple pie! I developed this recipe by combining and mixing a few different recipes from my absolutely, no-question, can't-imagine-how-I-lived-without-it, favorite new cookbook. What is it? Oh, I'm not telling you. Just kidding, it's the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. The pictures! The tips! The how-tos! Maybe I didn't want to tell you because you would buy it and then never need me again. And I want to be needed.
I appear to be neglecting the pie. The pie. Flaky, crispy, sweet, delicious, pie, pie, pie. There are a few things that make this pie so successful. One, lightly cooking the apples first. This ensures that the apples don't shrink during baking, and leave a gap between the pastry and the filling. This way it is apples up to the brim.
Two, the hole I cut in the middle. It might look a little funny, but giving the filling some room to breathe, steam, sweat, talk about its feelings - keeps the juices from seeping into the crust and making it soggy. Three, the demerara, turbinado, muscovado sugar (somebody who knows things in life please tell me what the difference is) sprinkled on top gives the perfect sweet, crunchy finish to the pie.
You know what the problem is with pie? How many times have I used the word pie in this post? The problem with pie, is that the first piece is always the least attractive. And the first piece is usually the one I photograph. Because, well, if I don't photograph the first piece, I will eat it. And then I will cut a second piece, and eat that one too.
Instead you can just cover up the first-piece problems with ice cream. Tada!
Tip of the Day: If you have extra scraps of dough remaining, roll them out and cut out fun shapes to decorate the top of the pie.
Bonus Tip of the Day: If you have one of those fancy new-fangled apple corers (OK, I do), you can core the apples first, then stick your thumb in there to get a better grip when you're peeling them.
Recipe: (adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 tbsps shortening, cubed and frozen
9 tbsps butter, diced and frozen
6 to 8 tbsps ice water
(I used half Granny Smith, half Golden Delicious)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp cinnamon
1 egg white
Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
Sprinkle the shortening over the flour, and pulse until it resembles cornmeal.
Then scatter the butter on top and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and stir in 4 tablespoons of the ice water.
If the dough doesn't come together, sprinkle a tablespoon at a time until it does.
Divide the dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour.
Core, peel, and slice the apples.
In a saucepan, stir together with the sugars, lemon juice and cinnamon.
Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until just tender.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Roll half the doughout on a well-floured surface into a 12-inch circle.
Carefully fit the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving the overhang. Cover with saran wrap and freeze, about 30 minutes.
Fill the crust with the cooled apple mixture.
Roll out the remaining dough into a 10-inch circle, and a cut a hole or vents into the dough.
Place over the filled pie.
Trim the excess of both crusts to about a 1/2 inch, and crimp to form a neat edge.
Beat the egg white and brush it on top, sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake at 425 F for 25 minutes, then reduce to 375 F and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes.