Fewer desserts in life are as comforting as an old-school, no-frills apple pie. That perfectly flaky golden crust, the mound of soft warm apples, the smell of cinnamon and butter wafting through the entire house…an apple pie can make even the shittiest of days better, and soothe even the most painful of woes.
Now, I haven’t made all that many apple pies in my life…not because I don’t absolutely adore apple pies – I do, with all my heart – but because there’s rarely enough people around to justify a whole full-sized pie. I do realise that I CAN make smaller or mini ones, but something about that just doesn’t feel right to me. The ratio of pastry to fruit is just PERFECT in a proper full-sized pie, I think, and thus far I have been reluctant to attempt anything other than that. So a few weeks ago when my neighbours were coming over to visit, and I had a mountain of apples sitting on the counter from our apple picking trip the weekend before, it was the perfect excuse to make one.
All the apple pies that I’ve made were quite delicious, as I believe it is rather hard to make a bad apple pie…unless of course the pastry is soggy, in which case it truly WILL be bad. This one here, though, has to be my favourite of them all.
I tried a new pastry recipe from Serious Eats this time. If you bake a lot and are familiar with pie doughs and shortcrust pastries, you’ll know the common method of cutting the cold, cubed butter into the dry ingredients, followed by a drizzle of cold liquid, minimal handling, chilling then rolling out. That’s the method I’ve always used, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it (you’ll find it here and here, and it is my go-to method for any tart or pie). However, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by this new method I came across during one of my late-night, insomnia-induced, binge-recipe-reading sessions. The difference in this recipe is that the butter and flour are combined in two distinct phases rather than one, which claimed to produce an equally flaky crust, as well as make the dough easier to handle and roll out. I just had to try it.
I am thrilled to report that it not only delivered, but I personally think the dough was even flakier than any other pie pastry I’ve made/had! I absolutely LOVED this recipe, and will be experimenting with it more for sure. Since I used the Serious Eats recipe exactly as it is, no changes at all, and since there is already a step-by-step photo guide of it here, I won’t go into any more details and will direct you to the original.
As for the filling, I also used a Serious Eats recipe, but I did change it ever so slightly for my taste, so I’ll write down what I did below in the recipe box.
This pie was the perfect way to use up all those gorgeous apples we picked ourselves last month in Borodell Vinyards when we visited Orange (you can read all about it here), and made for a gorgeous couple of days of breakfast and dessert! It’s a lovely thing to make for a big gathering or dish party, as it can be made in advance and transports easily once cooled…and you can bet that NOBODY doesn’t like apple pie! It’s a sweet treat sure to evoke nostalgia and happy memories for most, as well as comfort and joy for all.
- 1.2-1.5kg baking apples (I used granny smith & pink lady), peeled, cored and sliced into approximately 0.5cm thick
- 2-2.5 litres boiling water
- 150g sugar (I used raw), plus extra for sprinkling
- ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 quantity pie dough (link to recipe below)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. milk or water, for brushing
- Start by making the pastry. Once the pastry is chilled for 1 hour, begin preparing the apples.
- Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F).
- Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Boil a kettle of water and pour it onto the apple slices in the bowl till they are fully immersed. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain the apples very well in a colander; let them sit in the sink to drain for about 10-15 minutes while you roll out your pastry, tossing occasionally, until completely dry.
- Roll out your bottom pastry (follow instructions in the pastry recipe, link below), transfer into a 22cm pie dish and chill the lined dish in the fridge while you roll out the top pastry.
- For the top pastry, you can either roll it out into a circle and leave it whole to simply top your pie and cut a few slits to release steam, OR you can make a lattice. Any lattice will work well (pinterest & google have tons of ideas!), I did a very simple fat lattice (thick strips) and I just laid them across each other without even bothering to weave them. If you are feeling less lazy, go for something more intricate. In any case, prepare your top pastry, then bring out the pie base from the fridge.
- Drain the apple slices one last time and transfer them to a bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and cornstarch and toss to combine. Pour the apple mixture into the pie base, spreading it out evenly but leaving a bit of a mound in the middle.
- Top with the prepared top pastry/lattice and tuck in & crimp the edges. Brush the entire top of the pie with the egg-wash and sprinkle liberally with sugar.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (it should be light golden brown), then reduce the temperature to 190 C (375 F) and continue baking for a further 25-30 minutes until deep golden brown. TIP: If you find that the crust edges are getting too dark too fast, cut strips of foil and wrap them around the pie's edges to protect them slightly from burning.
- Let the pie cool down at room temperature for at least 1 hour (2 is better if you can possibly wait!) before serving! Lefotvers can be kept covered at room temperature for one day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Recipe for the pie dough here, step by step guide here
Filling adapted from Serious Eats here