I love a good Apple Pie, as any Midwestern-born-and-raised girl should. In fact, my dad’s family is notorious for their love of any kind of pie. If you don’t have enough pies at a Stenger holiday gathering, well then, you may have a riot on your hands!
Note: You will a hand-held dough cutter to make the dough for this recipe. You can also use a food processor, but be sure not to over-process the flour and butter mixture.
Makes one 9 inch pie with a top and bottom crust. Serves 6-8 for dessert.
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar (Pro Tip: The vinegar helps to break down the glutens in the flour and makes it easier to roll out, because the dough will not be so elastic)
- 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (1 lb, 2 oz)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 lb unsalted butter sticks, chilled, cut into small cubes
- 8 medium red skinned baking apples, such as Gala, Fiji, or Honey Crisp, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
- approximately 3/4 cup granulated sugar (every apple is different – add sugar until your apples taste sweet, but you do want to keep a little tartness)
- lemon zest from 1 lemon (Pro Tip: I love my Microplane for grating citrus zest)
- juice from 1 fresh lemon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (reduce the cinnamon to 3/4 tsp if you are adding the pumpkin pie spices)
- Optional Spices (Add all, some or none of these, depending on your tastes): 1/4 tsp ground allspice, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spices, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream, or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar for sprinkeling
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add the cubed butter and mix by hand with the dough cutter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. Sprinkle the water mixture over the flour mixture. Using your clean hands, use a folding motion to mix. The dough should be sticky, but not too wet or too dry. Add cold water by tablespoons if the mixture seems too dry. Sprinkle flour over the dough if it seems too wet. Divide into two equal portions. Flatten each slightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling to chill the dough and to let the glutens relax.
5. Take both portions of dough out of the refrigerator. If they are stiff and very cold, let stand until the dough is cool but malleable. Adjust your oven rack to center position and heat the oven to 425°F.
6. Roll one dough portion on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Use plenty of flour on your counter, the dough and the rolling pin. Carefully un-stick the dough from the counter by sliding your floured hands underneath, and turn and flip the circle of dough often to create a uniform shape. (Pro Tip: I love a French style rolling pin because it is very maneuverable, but any wooden rolling pin works well for pie dough, as long as you keep the pin and the dough well-floured.)
7. Fold the dough circle in quarters, then place dough point in center of 9-inch glass, stone, or ceramic pie pan. (If you use a metal or disposable pie pan, reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes.) Unfold the dough and gently press dough into sides of pan leaving the portion that overhangs the lip of the pie plate in place. Refrigerate the bottom crust while preparing the second portion of dough.
8. Repeat the rolling process with the second portion of dough, fold in quarters, and store in the fridge.
9. Pour the apple mixture, including juices, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center. (Pro Tip: Mounding the apples higher than the pie plate insures that the apples will not cook down and leave a gap between the filling and the crust.) Run a wet finger around the dough at the edge of the pie plate. This will help to create a bond between the top and bottom crust.
10. Place the top crust by placing the corner of the folded dough circle into the center of the mounded apples and unfold. The dough should overlap the edges of the pie plate. Trim the top and bottom pie crust edges to 1/2 inch beyond the pie pan lip. Tuck the rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with the pan lip. (Pro Tip: This dough is a very tasty, but delicate dough. You may find that it is easier to press the top and bottom crust together with a fork, rather than fluting the edges, which may fall flat during baking.) Cut four slits at right angles on dough top. Brush the top of the pie with the heavy cream or the beaten egg whites to achieve a golden crust. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
11. Bake at 425°F until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Serve or store in the fridge.