We tasted a wide variety of apples and learned that a combination of two distinct types — tart Granny Smith and sweet Mclntosh — yields the richest apple flavor in the pie filling. They also cook at different speeds, which makes for a multi-textured filling: The Granny Smiths soften a bit but stay pretty firm and the Mclntoshes break down to become mushy. For the crispest crust, we found that it’s important to first bake the pie at a very high temperature, then reduce the temperature so that the filling cooks completely. Baking the pie on the lowest rack of the oven, on a heated baking sheet, ensures that the bottom crust remains crisp.–The Editors at America’s Test Kitchen
LC Potential for Peeling Prowess Note
Are we the only ones whose moms used to be the mavericks of apple peeling, able to peel large apples in a single, long, dangly curlicue of red apple skin? Wow, there was some serious apple peeling prowess happening in our kitchens when we were growing up, and without any fancy pants peeling contraptions bought on late-night TV. A nicked paring knife is all that was needed. If you’re feeling a little nostalgic–not to mention inadequate in the peeling department–just breathe and remind yourself practice, practice, practice.
Classic Apple Pie Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 2 H
- Serves 8
- For the crust
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces nd chilled
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
- For the pie
- 2 pounds (4 to 6) McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and slice 1/4-inch thick
- 1 1/2 pounds (3 to 4) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough, bottom crust fit into pie plate
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Make the crust
- 1. Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter the shortening over the top and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and, using short pulses, process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer to a bowl.
- 2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.
- 3. Divide the dough into two even pieces and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it out and fitting one of the pieces into the bottom of a pie plate.
To make ahead: The dough can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let the frozen dough thaw on the countertop until malleable before rolling.
- Make the pie
- 4. Roll one dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of 9-inch Pyrex regular or deep dish pie pan. Unfold dough. Gently press dough into sides of pan leaving portion that overhangs lip of pie plate in place. Refrigerate while preparing fruit.
- 5. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500°F (260°C). Toss the apples with cup of the sugar, the flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and spices, and set aside.
- 6. Roll out the top crust to a 12-inch circle. Spread the apples in the unbaked pie crust bottom, mounding them slightly in the middle. Loosely roll the top crust around the rolling pin, then gently unroll it over the apples. Trim all but 1/2-inch of the dough overhanging the edge of the pie plate with scissors. Seal the edge by pressing the top and bottom crusts together, then tuck the edges underneath. Crimp the edges, and cut four vent holes in the top. Brush the crust with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- 7. Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425°F (220°C). Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature again to 375°F (190°C), and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.
To make ahead : The pie can be stored at room temperature, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, for up to 2 days.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Dec 31, 2005
I’m in love with this recipe, mostly because it tells you why you’re using the variety of apples you’re using. A lot of the time I’ll come across an apple pie recipe that just lists the apples, but there’s no accompanying note explaining the flavors or results. The combination of McIntosh and Granny Smith produced a result exactly as the recipe states: Tart and sweet. I did take David’s advice to add more flour (1 extra tablespoon) so the pie wouldn’t end up juicy. I also didn’t have that air gap between the pie crust and the apple mixture. The lemon juice wakes up the apples’ flavor, though next time I might add a tad bit less, as I could actually taste the lemon instead of the effects of it. Overall, this is a wonderful, solid back-pocket recipe.
Classic Apple Pie Recipe © 2005 The Editors at America's Test Kitchen. Photo © 2005 Carl Tremblay. All rights reserved.