Last year, at almost exactly this same time, I made my first apple pie. At the time, I was pretty impressed with myself (having made the crust from scratch for the first time). This year, to celebrate the first day of my favorite month of the year, I was ready to try a new apple pie recipe, and see just how much I had grown over the last year.
I think it’s safe to say that this year’s definitely tasted better (which may be partly due to the fresh, hand-picked apples from our trip here), but also because I’ve come a long way as a baker in the last year. I’m excited to start this as my new tradition – that at the beginning of every fall, I make it a priority to bake an apple pie, and use it to celebrate my successes and progress from year to year.
For crust (top and bottom):
2 cups + 4 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into about 16 pieces
6 tbsp ice water, more if necessary
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
6 good cooking apples (cortland, macintosh, etc)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
milk as needed
Recipe (from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)
For crust: Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (you want some chunks to be bigger than others). Add ice water, knead with hands until a ball has formed. Wrap in plastic and allow to harden in freezer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from freezer, and divide ball into two. Roll each out (making sure the bottom crust is about 2″ larger in diameter than your pie dish). Place larger crust into pie dish, and place top crust on flat surface and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
For filling: Peel and core apples. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. In a separate bowl, combine sugars and spices. Mix in with apples and lemon juice until well coated. Stir in cornstarch if desired (this makes the pie less runny).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove pie crust from fridge. Poke holes in bottom crust with a fork. Add in apple filling, top with butter chunks, and sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top. Place top crust on pie, fold edges under, and brush lightly with milk. Sprinkle more granulated sugar on top of crust if sweeter taste is desired.
Place on cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, and bake for an additional 40 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Let cool, best served with a side of vanilla ice cream.