Apple Pie

Apple pie was not in my Thanksgiving repertoire for many years – my grandmother was usually in charge of the pies at family functions and she more or less restricted herself to pumpkin and pecan.  Once in awhile I would wheedle a mincemeat pie out of her, but since she and I were the only people who would eat it, that didn’t happen very often (and it’s for that reason I haven’t made one in many, many years – even Beloved doesn’t care for mincemeat and he’ll eat just about anything).

However, while the kids all have their favorite pies – Oldest Son loves pumpkin, Darling Daughter prefers pecan, and Miss Jacki will eat any kind of pie you put in front of her, Jolly doesn’t like either pumpkin or pecan pie.  She likes apple pie.  Since I do too (it’s my hands-down favorite pie of all time), and there’s nothing I like better than throwing another dish on the holiday menu (I never claimed to be in my right mind), apple pie became part of the Romanesque orgy we call Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and The Young One?  He’d rather have warm chocolate souffle.  There’s one in every family.

I’ve been refining my apple pie for many years.  The version I make now uses a method that Rose Levy Berenbaum perfected for her fruit pies, and it makes a damn fine pie.  It’s a little more involved than most standard apple pie recipes, but I promise you it is well worth it.

Note: I put a mixture of tart apples and sweet apples in my pies – I think it just makes for a tastier pie.  Make sure, whatever type you prefer, to use firm apples that stand up well to cooking.  Granny Smith and Macintosh are good tart baking apples, and Jonathan and Gala apples are sweet varieties that withstand cooking fairly well.  Don’t use Golden or Red Delicious – they seem to turn to mush too easily.  I also don’t slice my apples very thinly; we’re shooting for tender yet firm apples in the pie.  Slicing them too thinly can easily turn your pie into an “applesauce pie.”

Apple Pie

serves 8

Pie crust for a 2 crust, 9″ pie

2 1/2 pounds baking apples (about six medium), peeled, cored and sliced at least 1/2″ thick

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and toss to mix.  Allow the apples to sit for about an hour.

Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over another bowl for about 15 minutes, capturing the juice.  You should have between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of liquid.  Return the apples to the original bowl and toss with the cornstarch.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan over over medium-high heat, boil the liquid from the apples with the butter until syrupy and slightly caramelized.  Swirl the liquid but do not stir it.  You should have between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of syrup, depeding on how much liquid you started with.  Pour over the apples, tossing gently.  Don’t worry if the syrup hardens slightly on contact with the apples; it will dissolve during baking.

Pour the apple mixture into a pie plate that has been lined with the bottom crust and trimmed 1/2″ wider than the plate.  Brush the edges with water, and cover with the top crust, trimming it to fit the bottom crust; press down all the way around to seal.  Crimp the border using a fork or your fingers, then slash the top crust 3 – 5 times.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 375 F and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes.  Cover the edges with foil if the crust seems to be browning too quickly.

Allow to cool for at least 4 hours before serving.

22 thoughts on “Apple Pie”

  1. Apple pie is my hand’s down, I’d eat it every day, yahoo it’s Thanksgiving favorite pie. In fact, I’ll even eat if for breakfast if allowed.

    Does this mean I have to make two pies…one with your recipe and one with my mom’s? I just think you should each make one and send the pies to me for taste testing!

    tricias last blog post..Forced Home for Christmas

  2. ahem.. Mrs. SmIth’s comes in a partially hydrogenated post industrial cellophane wrapper(which they taste like), but Mrs. SmYth’s pies are home grown from scratch – and when the mood strikes, that includes an INCREDIBLE flaky crust. However, I will second the motion that the pre-made pie crusts in the dairy section are very good and certainly convenient. I would NEVER go to the trouble to hand make a pie crust (since I’ve been paid to do it), but Jan’s really are divine. Hold off on the Thanksgiving Day shopping list until y’all cajole the crust recipe out of her!

    Apple pie was never on my top list (I generally am not a fruit pie lover – I’m allergic to uncooked apples), but THIS recipe really is incredible. And YES it makes a fantastic breakfast!

    This pie never lasts long. I feel sorry for the Chef because she loves fruit pies and usually doesn’t get much of this one because it is sucked up so quickly.

    woo hoo 10th!

  3. altho this sounds like a lovely recipe…and is no doubt better than any apple pie i have ever had in my LIFE….

    mincemeat, warm from the oven + a l’il whipped cream over apple pie (ah yes…the start of my next ‘choices’ list)…

    looking forward also to the pecan pie and the Lemon Chess…you are a Recipe Goddess….

    thistles last blog post..Post #100 For the Dog Lovers Among Us

  4. Jan, When must all this pie baking be done? What Imean is- How far in advance can I bake for next Thursday. I suppose tomorrow (Sunday) is too soon? Or do you need to bake on the day it is served? When will you be baking?

  5. Linda – I bake my pies the night before Thanksgiving; Sunday is a little too soon, yes. However, I’ll start cooking on Tuesday night, just to keep things from getting too crazy on Thanksgiving. This is usually what my schedule looks like:

    Tuesday – make the cranberry sauce, bake the cornbread for the dressing and put together the dough for the pie crust (it benefits from being refrigerated overnight).

    Wednesday – Bake the sweet potatoes and roast the pecans for the sweet potato dish – this can be assembled the night before so all you have to do is bake it on Thursday; bring it to room temperature first. Bake the pies and bake the rolls if I’m doing homemade – I found a recipe for homemade brown and serve rolls I may try this year.

    Thursday – Roast the turkey, prepare the dressing and refrigerate until it’s ready to go in the oven with the sweet potatoes. Make the brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes (if I’m making them) and gravy while the other side dishes are baking, then heat the rolls last.

    It always helps to have a plan.

  6. Today I scored three new chafing dishes at Linens and Things at 50 percent off. Yea me! Probably nobody except you would appreciate how excited this makes me just before Thanksgiving.

    Why has BE been paid to make pie crust? I hide the boxes the pre-made crusts come in because when I use them my step daughter gives me a ton of grief. Her mom has many attributes but cooking isn’t one of them. She’s the queen of microwave meals and I unfortunately set the bar very high when our little girl was still little. So, any “cheating” I do is noticed, cataloged and mentioned. ughhh.

    I think I’ve commented far too many times on this post :o)

    tricias last blog post..Forced Home for Christmas

  7. Phhhst – you have no idea how that makes my day! I couldn’t be more tickled that everyone liked it.

    Tricia – Three new chafing dishes at 50% off? OMG, that excites ME. I take Thanksgiving is fairly informal at your place too. There’s no way I could put all of the dishes I make on the dining room table and still have room for the diners. We fill our plates in the kitchen, then sit at the dining room table; it’s the only way it could work.

    Vodkamom – could I persuade you to maybe post your apple pie recipe, or is it a closely guarded secret?

  8. Wow…this recipe sounds great! Tonight will be my second attempt to make apple pie. I hope I found this recipe a li’l earlier. But my hubby is looking forward to the recipe I made last year. He even picked the ingredients in the grocery 😀

    I might try some variety using yours on Christmas day as hubby is an apple pie fan.

    Thanks for sharing this… 🙂

Comments are closed.