I’m not one to do things last minute. Listen, if I can plan every single minute of my day, I would. Granted, that’s not possible, so I try my best to plan what I can; except when certain cravings strike.
For some odd reason, I had a crazy hankering for apple pie. It’s crazy because we’re still not pie people. At this point, I don’t think there’s any way to convert my family. Either way, I wanted pie. So I made one.
First thing’s first, I made the crust. The last time I made a pie, I used store bought. It was kind of messy, and my tart plate was bigger than a regular pie plate. Let’s just say it was a mess, because it kinda was. Pie crust is sort of like making biscuits. I don’t know if anyone’s made that connection before but it reminds me so much of the process.
An epic pie crust requires super cold butter. Unless you’re a shortening person. Don’t even look at me; I don’t do shortening. Something about staying solid at room temp freaks me out, so I stick with all butter all the time. The key is keeping those butter cubes cold at all times. It’s kind of hard but doable. Mix that flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until it’s pea sized. This is the part that reminds me of biscuits. Probably because cold butter cut in to the dry ingredients is the secret to flaky anything. I’m a lil bit of a rule breaker though, so I kept mine bigger than peas because the bigger the better, right? After evil-y cackling because obviously, this was awesome, I poured in the ice cold water until the dough became a dough. This was fascinating. The key here is to not overwork the dough. It’s SO EASY to mess that part up. Minimal handling or else we’ll soften the butter. Portion the dough in half and refrigerate. Mine stayed there for a few days, as I didn’t have time to make it all at once. Small blessing in disguise.
Part two was the apples. I am a huge fan of Granny Smith apples. I’m almost selfishly glad they’re basically the default baking apple. They’re tart, sturdy, and overall delicious. You can’t make an apple pie with only Grannys (I mean, you could but you’d need quite a bit of sugar to offset all the tart!), so McIntosh apples are also added to the mix. I’m an apple slice in the pie kind of girl (yay inconsistent knife cuts!). I’ve seen it done with chunks but that just doesn’t seem stable; in terms of slicing. Either way, it’d still be delicious. For added awesomeness, I decided to do half brown and half white sugar. I felt like all white might’ve been too sweet but totally up to you. Brown sugar + cinnamon + apples just go together! Speaking of cinnamon, pump up the spice jams in this one! I used the awesome Deb’s apple pie filling, and she says to double them. I totally did, and may or may not have added rounded teaspoons of cinnamon. The more the merrier, right?
Can I just say, for my first classic apple pie totally from scratch, this pie was amazing?! I’m not even just saying that! The crust was crazy flaky and crisp, a little nutty, sturdy, and overall awesome. The apples were tart and sweet, with a little crispness from a few al dente bites (yay inconsistent knife cuts again!). The crust was perfectly golden brown, and looked like a real deal, legit apple pie. Sometimes, I amaze myself when things look like they’re supposed to; like I worked some sort of miracle.
Making this pie was somewhat of a lesson, wrapped in dessert. I learned that pie crust is easy to make, and easy to mess up. It’s also the greatest once you know how to work with it, and not against it. You can never guess if the apples will be too tart or too sweet; you just have to hope for the best, and be happy with the outcome because it’ll be delicious anyway. Also, always put a baking pan under the pie. Bubbling, sugary juices + a hot oven floor = a burning, literal hot mess.
I guess I can be thankful (ha, see what I did there?) I had the time to make this pie. My family loved it, even though they are pie adverse, and it totally satisfied my craving. If you’re thinking I’m making a pie for Thanksgiving, you’re still wrong; there’ll probably be cake 😉
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup iced water
- 3 medium-large Granny Smith apples
- 3 medium-large McIntosh apples
- 1 squeeze of lemon or lime
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 egg white, beaten lightly
- Raw/turbinado sugar
- Cube two sticks of unsalted butter, and place in a metal bowl. Stick in the freezer for a few minutes.
- While that chills, mix together the flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, add a cup of water and several ice cubes.
- Retrieve the butter and begin to cut in, with either a fork or pastry blender, until the butter is about the size of peas (or larger!) Drizzle in half a cup of the iced water, and gently mix together with a rubber spatula until a dough forms. If still dry, drizzle in more water, by the tablespoon until it comes together.
- Gently knead the dough together until it forms a dough ball. Split the dough into two, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 500F.
- Peel, core, and slice the apples into thin/slightly thick slices. Squeeze a small wedge of lemon or lime over the apples and toss.
- Take the dough out of the fridge to slightly soften before rolling out.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the sugars, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Toss the dry ingredients onto the apples and mix together until completely incorporated. Set aside.
- Lightly flour a flat surface, and begin rolling out one of the dough halves. Continuously flip and move the dough while rolling, to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
- Roll the dough out slightly larger than your pie plate; you want overhang.
- Gently place the rolled dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Accommodate the dough by lifting it and gently pressing it into the pan.
- Load up the pan with the apple filling, and all the leftover juices. Mound the apples in the middle.
- Reflour the surface, and roll out the second half of the dough. Again, slightly larger than the pie plate!
- Gently place the dough over the mound of apples. Crimp, or press the top and bottom doughs together, to seal the pie. You can get decorative but don't worry if it's not! Trim off any excess dough.
- Whisk the egg white in a small bowl, and brush the pie. Sprinkle the top with plenty of turbinado sugar.
- Cut four slits atop the pie crust for ventilation.
- Lower the oven temperature to 425F, and bake until the top is golden brown and awesome; about 20 minutes. Lower the temperature again to 375F and continue to cook for about 30 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before enjoying!
Pie crust and apple filling recipes adapted from Smitten Kitchen