Classic 2-Crust Apple Pie

December 1, 2012

Aunt Suzy says . . . . 

In our recent Dutch Apple Pie post, Margaux mentioned how shocked we were that we had not shared even one apple pie recipe.  Shocked because we love apple pie and make it regularly in the fall!  So we both got in gear and baked our families’ classic apple pie.  Note that I used the plural of family – when we dug into the apple pie recipes used by Margaux’s Grandma Major and Granny Teegarden (my Mom), they were basically the same recipe.  Any slight variations have to do with ingredient quantities and method.  In both cases, this is a regular vs. deep dish pie, and is elegant in its simplicity. Margaux and I make it somewhat differently, so we will describe both approaches.  So Margaux?  Serve with ice cream or not?  I like the pie plain – no ice or whipped cream – with a strong cup of coffee.

Margaux says . . .

I usually like my pie just straight up…no ice cream!  I’m a big sweets eater, though, so I do usually get a scoop of ice cream, too, and just eat it separately.  🙂  I make apple pie probably more than any other dessert, other than maybe brownies.  I usually use Jonathan apples, but if I can’t find them I prefer Golden Delicious (recommended in Joy of Cooking), Macintosh or Rome.  I never use Granny Smith because they become mushy when baked.  One time I read in a Cook’s Illustrated article that it’s best to use a few different varieties, one tart, one sweet, etc…which I did once and it was great.  But usually I’m making an apple pie because I need to do something with the bag of apples I bought that are going to go bad soon, so that’s not possible!

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

Depending on how many people you are serving you might want to make 2 pies.  In our house, apple pie goes fast because we eat it for dessert and, best of all, for breakfast!

Ingredients

Dough for a 2-crust pie – here’s Margaux’s favorite recipe

6-7 medium baking apples – Jonathan is our favorite variety

a little lemon juice, optional

2/3 -1 cup sugar

2-3 tablespoons flour, depending on how juicy the apples are

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

Additional sugar for dusting the top crust

Aunt Suzy/Granny Teegarden’s Method

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Separate the dough for the crust into two equal balls.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or more).  Remove one ball from the fridge and roll out into a circle. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, patting into place.

Peel, core, quarter and slice the apples to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness.  Place directly into the dough-lined pie plate.  Occasionally add a few sprinkles of lemon juice to prevent the apples from turning brown.

You’ll know you’ve added enough sliced apples when they form a rounded mound that is somewhat higher than the sides of the pie plate.  Next sprinkle the sugar evenly over the apples.  Continue by adding the  flour, then the salt and cinnamon.  Lastly, cut the butter into chunks and place on top of everything.  Don’t forget the butter!!  (Although if you forget, you can poke the chunks through the top-crust vents, something I know well from experience!)

Roll out the other half of the dough to a circle.  Place on top of the apples.  Fold the top and bottom crust together and lightly press onto the rim of the pie plate.  Crimp or flute the edges to seal the crusts.  Cut vents into the top crust in a pattern of your choice and sprinkle with sugar. Bake on a rack in the middle of the oven at 425 for 15 minutes.  Turn the heat down to 350 and bake another 30-40 minutes until the filling is bubbling.  You might want to line the bottom of the oven with foil in case the filling spills over.  Remove from the oven.  I like pie room temp, so I cool completely on a rack.  If you like it warm, cool to desired temperature.

COOK’S NOTES: Most apple pie recipes instruct you to toss the apples with the dry ingredients and then turn into the pie crust and top with the butter.  I have done that, but I like this way better because it’s easier with one less bowl to wash and no noticeable difference in results. Plus you always know exactly how many apples to use – you just stop when the pie plate is full.  I tend to like things less sweet so always use 2/3 cup sugar or less. Last tip – don’t forget the salt in the crust nor in the pie filling.  I made two pies recently, the first with not enough salt and it was bland!

Margaux/Grandma Major’s Method

My ingredients are almost exactly the same…I use 6 cups of sliced apples (about 2 1/2 lbs) and 3/4 cups sugar.  I mix the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl before I roll out the pie dough.  I let the apple mixture sit while I’m rolling out the crust, stirring it every once in awhile.  Next I pour the apple mixture into the prepared crust, dot with the butter and close with the top crust, and sprinkle with 2 tbsp sugar.  I bake the pie at 425 for 30 minutes, turn down the oven to 350 and bake another 30-45 minutes, until the apples feel just tender when speared with a fork.  I usually need to cover the outer edge with my pie crust cover, which can also be done with foil, when I turn the oven down to 350.

 

 

Aunt Suzy says . . .

My Mom, a.k.a. Granny, is a great pie baker of the traditional persuasion.  What I mean is that she had a few basic pie recipes – nothing fancy – that she was well known for because they were so outstanding.  Growing up I didn’t appreciate this because I definitely liked cake better than pie.  If I did like pie, it was the cream or custard variety where I’d eat the filling out and leave the crust. Now it’s the opposite!  I prefer pie, love the crust and fruit filling trumps cream/custard.  When rhubarb season rolls around it heralds the fruit pie-baking season for me.  Last year, we posted all kinds of fancy rhubarb dessert recipes.  Time to appreciate the basic approach of this timeless and classic rhubarb pie.

Margaux says…

This is one of my favorite pies!  I don’t think I’ve ever actually made it, but mainly because I haven’t needed to…you can usually bet that there will be one of these at my Dad’s house this time of year, and more than once, sort of like apple pie in the fall.  So if I get a craving, I can just invite myself to dinner.  But I completely agree with Aunt Suzy…sometimes a basic, classic pie just totally hits the spot.  And this one fits the bill!

This recipe is geared to a 9-inch pie plate.  Adjust quantities up or down for other sizes.  Line the oven bottom with foil and preheat to 425°.

Ingredients

Your favorite pie crust for a 2-crust pie (see Margaux’s)

3-4 cups rhubarb

1 scant cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter, in chunks

NOTE ON THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR:  We like our rhubarb pies on the tart side, adding less sugar to the filling and then sugaring the top crust. You will want to add a little more sugar to the filling if you like things on the sweeter side.

Instructions

Roll out half the crust and line the pie plate with it.  Mix the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest and flour in a bowl and turn into the crust.  Dot with the butter chunks – don’t forget!  I can’t tell you how many times Granny or I have had to poke the butter through the holes in the top crust.  🙂

Place the top crust over the filling.  Crimp the edges and then cut slits in the top crust.  If you want to get fancy, you can cut a beautiful pattern into it.  Margaux’s other Grandma had a lovely traditional family pattern that she used.  My Mom took a more practical approach, cutting a few slits to make sure the steam escaped.  Sprinkle sugar over the top crust.

Place the pie in the pre-heated oven.  Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350° and bake for another 30-45 minutes until done.  (Electric ovens seem to finish closer 30 minutes, gas ovens take longer.  Start checking after 30 min.) Don’t forget to turn the heat down after the 15 minutes!

Enjoy warm or room temperature, plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  And don’t forget to leave some for breakfast (of champions)!