02 December 2009

Mountain of pie

This pie, I think, is the best homemade apple pie I've made yet! What is it that makes it so good? For one, I used a sweet pie crust recipe instead of my usual pate brisee. For another, I used an abundance of great apples (mostly Pippins, with a couple of Galas thrown in), mounding them into my pie shell to make a mountain of pie. Mmm. Mountain of pie. The crust came out nice and flaky, with a little extra crunch of raw sugar sprinkled on top. The apple slices were soft, yielding a luscious syrup spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and finely grated lemon zest.

Every Thanksgiving, my family expects a trio of pies (apple, pumpkin, and pecan) to be served after the main meal. This year, I think I shocked them by serving only pumpkin creme brulees and that Ruby Red Pecan Pie I wrote about before. Feeling a little guilty for not indulging them in accordance to tradition, I pulled out all the stops in whipping up this pie a couple days later. Ooohs and ahhhs came pouring forth when my family saw this beauteous pie fresh from the oven. My pie-guilt has been dispelled! Next time you want to please your loved ones, I recommend making this pie of impressive stature and taste.

Best-ever Apple Pie
Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, cut into 1/2" cubes, chilled
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

2 1/2 pounds assorted apples (such as Pippin and Gala), peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons flour

Milk (for glaze)
1 tablespoon raw sugar*

For crust:

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter; cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and blend just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 3 hours. Soften dough 15 minutes at room temperature before rolling out.

Roll out 1 dough disk on its plastic wrap to 12- to 13-inch round, dusting top with flour as needed to prevent sticking to the rolling pin. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie dish and press dough onto bottom and up sides of dish, allowing overhang to extend over sides. Roll out second dough disk on its plastic wrap to 12- to 13-inch round; transfer dough to baking sheet. Refrigerate both crusts while preparing filling.

For filling:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, spices, and lemon peel and mix thoroughly. Combine apple slices and sugar mixture in a large bowl and toss gently to coat all slices thoroughly with the sugar mixture. Let stand at room temperature until some juices form, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Place crust-lined pie dish on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle flour over bottom of crust. Transfer apple filling to crust, mounding filling slightly in center. Brush crust edges lightly with water. Using a small sharp knife or shaped cutters, cut out a steam vent at the center of the second dough round. Invert dough round atop filling; carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Trim dough overhang on both crusts to 1/2 inch. Press crust edges together, then fold under. Using fingers, create decorative fluting around the edge of the pie. Brush top crust lightly with milk, then sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake pie until crust is golden, apples are tender when pierced, and juices are bubbling thickly, covering crust edges with foil collar if crust is browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool to lukewarm or room temperature.


Anonymous said...

so true, so true, can't beat a pie with impressive stature ;)

jenchilee said...

erica, i am going to make this apple pie for thanksgiving . . . wish me luck!

erica said...

you can do it, jenchi! :) i too, will be making this pie...in fact, i'm scheduled to put the crust together tonight, and i'll be thinking of you!

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