It’s not autumn, so why am I posting an apple pie recipe in the middle of February you ask? This is more of a cozy comfort fall recipe, I know, but apples are always in season here in California. Sadly there isn’t a plethora of apple orchards to go apple picking on the weekends during a specific time of year. So that being said, I was craving a slice of apple pie the other day and the only logical option I had was to make one myself. So here we find ourselves with another installment of my new favorite series on the blog, The Classics! It’s been a while since one of these posts/recipes have made an appearance on the site so just in case you’ve forgotten, I’ll refresh your memory. The first round was The Classics: Buttermilk Fried Chicken. The crunchiest and juiciest and easiest and most flavorist (not a word but I needed it to sound like the other words) chicken you’ll ever make and eat. Then The Classics: Bacon Cheeseburger graced us with it’s presence and we all sort of died a little because it was a monster of a burger. And then because two savories could only be followed by an incredible sweet, The Classics: Cinnamon Rolls debuted and taught us that large cinnamon rolls the size of your face is the only way to go.
The Classics: Apple Pie was the only logical fourth installment because I’m always looking for any excuse to make pie so that I can then go ahead and eat the entire thing by myself and not feel bad because it’s all in the name of work. I’m also always on the look out for recipes that are socially acceptable to be eaten with a giant scoop or two of ice cream. If apple pie isn’t the ultimate vehicle for large scoops of vanilla ice cream, then I don’t know what is. Thank you mamma for teaching me life’s most important lessons. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard here and there from a few sources—and by a few sources I mean I’ve been the one spreading the rumors—that pie is a breakfast food so serving yourself a slice of apple pie first thing in the morning with a large cup of coffee is totally okay in everyone’s book. There are apples in the middle, lots of apples, so it’s healthy. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Just in case you don’t know the whole story about The Classics series, I’ll give you a brief synopsis. These posts are quick shortened posts that focus on the simplicity of these classic dishes we’re all familiar with. Recipes we’ve grown up with and have come to love. The posts aren’t filled with tons of photos like they normally are and the recipes aren’t overly complicated with hard to find ingredients. They’re just simple and straight forward and what’s more, they’re fun to make because you don’t have to worry about hard to follow directions. Sure there are a millions recipes out there for apple pie etc., but there aren’t a million of my version of the classic and perhaps it’ll become your go to recipe as well! Sold? Well then go head and get to baking! Don’t forget to snap a few pictures during the process and share them with all of us on Instagram! Tag the photos with #TCAclassics so that we can easily find them. I’ll even share them around in the newsletter! More importantly though, you’ll have a giant apple pie all to yourself once you’re done and that’s motivation enough if you ask me.
We begin by making the crust which as I’ve said time and time again, is the best part to any pie. I’m going to use the same pie crust recipe that I always use, so if you’ve read such posts as Shepherd’s Potato Pie or Red Beans and Rice Empanadas, you’ll recognize this recipe. It’s super flaky and buttery and I love it.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and vegetable shortening and cut in with a pasty blender, two butter knives or a potato masher, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
**Tip: Cut the butter into small cubes and then place in the freezer to ensure that it remains super cold. Cold butter makes for a flakier pie crust.**
Add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together into a rough ball/mound. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, divide in half and knead each piece until it forms a somewhat smooth ball. Shape into a disk and wrap well in plastic wrap.
Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight, if using the next day. The dough needs to be cold, again so that the butter bits are cold which will result in flakier crust. As you can see, the most important thing about pie crust is cold butter for flaky crust.
**Tip: This dough freezes really well, so wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, place in a large food storage bag, sealed well, and freeze until ready to use. To thaw, place the dough in the fridge the night before.**
Once the dough is chilled, before rolling it out, get the pie filling ready.
You can use whatever apples you like using for your baking on a regular basis, whatever you’re familiar with. I’ve used a combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady Apples for this pie. I think it’s a great mix of tartness and sweetness and firmness, yes firmness. Peel the apples, core them and cut them into thin slices.
Add in the lemon zest, fresh lemon juice (that’ll not only give the apples flavor and create a sauce, but it’ll also keep the apples from turning brown), brown sugar, granulated sugar, pinch of salt, cornstarch, and some spices.
**Note: I’ve used ground cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, ground ginger, cardamon, and cloves. Basically all of the pie spices.**
Set the apples aside and allow to sit and marinate while you roll out the dough. Working with one piece at a time, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a large circle about a quarter of an inch thick.
Carefully transfer the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie plate and trim off the excess dough, leaving about an inch of a hang over.
Fill the pie with all of the apples, leaving most of the liquid in the bowl. Dot the apples with the cold, cubed butter.
**Note: You don’t want to add all of that liquid to the pie because it’ll sog up the bottom crust. No one wants that.**
Roll the second pie crust on a lightly floured work surface, into a large circle about a quarter of an inch thick. Trim the rough edges and carefully transfer on top of the apples. Tuck the edges underneath the bottom crust and either crimp or seal the edges with a fork.
**Tip: Make a few slits on top to allow steam to escape during baking.**
Brush with an egg white wash (one large egg white whisked with a splash of water) and sprinkle the top liberally with raw sugar (turbinado sugar).
Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown all around.
**Tip: Place the pie on a baking sheet during baking so that it catches any drips if the pie juices decide to bubble over. It’ll prevent a smokey mess in the oven!**
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack and allow to cool down before slicing and serving.
**Note: Waiting to cut the pie until lukewarm will make the whole cutting and serving process a lot easier. It’ll also save you a lot of cursing and tears and sadness.**
Because pie by itself just isn’t enough and because I am my mother’s son, pie a la mode is always the way to go. It’s the only way pie should be eaten, so I of course, added a large scoop of vanilla ice cream to my warmed slice of apple pie. You’re excited aren’t you?
If you have ever wanted to make apple pie, but had a fear of it being too hard or complicated or scary, I hope this proved to you just how attainable this classic can be. And it didn’t convince you, hopefully these pictures of ice cream topped pie will do the trick.
The pie will last for one day, at room temperature, wrapped really well. Or up to five days stored in the fridge. Although, I’m pretty sure it wont even last five days in your house. It barely made it past the first day at mine.
If you make this apple pie, don’t forget to tag your photos with #TCAclassics on Instagram and Facebook so that I can look at them and feel proud and get happy and share them with everyone else. It sounds fun, right? Well don’t waste another minute, get to baking this pie. Enjoy!
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
- 4 large granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 large pink lady apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cardamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 large egg white, beaten with splash of water
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar (turbinado sugar)
- To make the pie crust, In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold diced butter and rub with your fingers (or a pastry blender) until coarse crumbs form. Add the vegetable shortening and rub with your fingers (or pastry blender) as well, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. It should be slightly sticky. Form it into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, shaping it into a disc. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. (Can be frozen and saved for later!)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the peeled and sliced apples into a large bowl. Add in the sugars, cornstarch, spices, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss to evenly combine. Set aside and roll out the dough.
- Working with one piece at a time, place the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a large circle about a quarter of an inch thick. Carefully transfer the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie dish, trimming off the excess dough and leaving about 1 inch of dough to hang over. Fill the pie with all of the apples (draining off the liquid). Dot with the cubed unsalted butter.
- Roll out the second dough into a large circle, about a quarter of an inch thick, and trim off the rough edges. Carefully transfer the rolled dough on top of the apples, tucking the dough underneath the bottom crust. Fold and crimp the edges or seal with a fork. Brush liberally with egg white wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or until bubbly and golden brown all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool down before cutting and serving. Will keep wrapped at room temperature for one day or in the fridge for about five days. Enjoy!
- yields: 1 9-inch pie