Double Apple Pie

I have never made an apple pie that I didn’t enjoy. Apple pie is delicious! 😉 But, I am still seeking a pie that I absolutely love- a pie that will end the search for the perfect pie.

This pie was lovely, with notes of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. I used a combination of apples and sliced them in a food processor. The pie crust incorporated vodka to ensure a flaky result; my Mother-in-law always utilizes this trick. The filling, thickened with tapioca and apple butter, held together perfectly. I baked it the day before Thanksgiving and it kept well at room temperature.

I served it at the end of our Thanksgiving feast along with my favorite Pumpkin Chiffon Pie and Pecan Pie Bars. Most of us eat small slices of whichever dessert strikes our fancy- topped with either whipped cream or served with vanilla ice cream. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark.

Yield: One 9-inch pie

For the Crust:

  • 2 ½ cups/300 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon/2.5 grams coarse salt
  • 2 ½ sticks/20 tablespoons/285 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons/60 ml vodka
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water

For the Filling:

  • 3 pounds/1 1/3 kilograms apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (1/8-inch) (I used a combination of Sweet Tango, Envy, Granny Smith, and Fuji apples)
  • ½ cup/99 grams granulated sugar, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons/30 grams dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons/30 grams quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 ½ teaspoons/3 grams ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon/3 grams ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons/22 ml lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons/45 grams apple butter
  • heavy cream or milk, as needed
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling, as needed
  • vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving
To Make the Crust:

  1. In a food processor, pulse together flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms 3/4-inch pieces.
  3. Mix vodka with 4 tablespoons ice water (or use 1/2 cup ice water).
  4. Add half the ice water mixture to dough, pulse a few times, then continue adding liquid a tablespoon at a time until dough just comes together (you might not use all the liquid). Dough should be moist, but not wet, and hold together when pinched. If there are visible pieces of butter in the dough, all the better.
  5. Between layers of plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface, gather dough into a ball. Remove a third of the dough and form into a disk. Form remaining dough into a disk.
  6. Cover both tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 5 days.

To Complete the Pie:

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out larger disk to a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp edges. Prick crust all over with a fork, then chill crust for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  2. While dough chills, heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  3. Line chilled crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes; remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden, 5 minutes more. Cool on rack until needed. (You can bake the crust up to 24 hours in advance.)
  4. Toss apples with sugars, tapioca, spices, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lemon juice. Fold in apple butter. Transfer apples to crust and press gently to make sure fruit is tightly packed.
  5. Roll out remaining dough disk to a 10-inch round. Use a knife to cut strips 1 3/4 inches wide (or desired width). Arrange strips over the filling in a lattice pattern.
  6. Brush top of crust with heavy cream or milk. Sprinkle with granulated or turbinado sugar.
  7. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling thickly, about 1 hour 15 minutes more.
  8. Let pie cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before cutting.
  9. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche.

One Year Ago:

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Five Years Ago:

Ina Garten’s Apple Pie Bars with Browned Butter Glaze

I have to interrupt my Thanksgiving side dish posts (I know you’re upset! 😉 ) to share this indulgent, crowd-pleasing dessert. (A request by my dear friend who plans to make it for her Christmas Eve feast.)

Recently, my kids and their friends performed in a holiday concert at our house. This was our third annual concert! Everyone brings an appetizer and we eat while the kids rehearse. This year, the concert was upgraded to incorporate a microphone and some stand-up comedy. The parents were asked to perform as well. Special and fun. 🙂

Along with the appetizers, I always feel the need to include a dessert (as I love any excuse to bake). These pie bars had caught my eye and were perfect to serve at a large gathering. The recipe was adapted from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten, via Barefoot Contessa.com. I baked them in a parchment-lined pyrex dish, used pecans instead of walnuts, (predominantly) Fuji apples instead of golden delicious, and topped it with a brown butter glaze inspired by Joy the Baker. Delicious!

Yield: Makes 18 to 24 bars

For the Crust:

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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For the Apple Filling:

  • 3 pounds mixed apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (I used predominantly Fuji apples with 1-2 Granny Smith and 1 Red Delicious)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

For the Browned Butter Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • milk, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency
  • pinch of coarse salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Line a 9×13-inch pyrex baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Make the Crust: Place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and salt together.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined.
  5. Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in the prepared pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides.
  6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  7. Par-Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool. (While the crust is still warm, I use a spoon to gently push the edge of the crust back up the side.)
  8. Meanwhile, Make the Topping: Put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the nuts and cinnamon, and mix on low-speed to combine. Set aside.
  9. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  10. Make the Filling: Combine the apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl.
  11. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.
  12. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  13. Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
  14. Pinch medium pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered).
  15. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely.
  16. Make the Glaze: In a small pot, melt butter. Continue to cook until browned and fragrant.
  17. In a small bowl, whisk together browned butter, powdered sugar, a splash of milk, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth. Add milk as needed until drizzling consistency is achieved.
  18. Spoon into a ziplock bag and cut a tiny tip off one corner of the bag.
  19. Drizzle glaze over cooled bars before slicing.
  20. Cut into bars of desired size.
  21. Store, wrapped individually or covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (Without the glaze, the bars can be kept at room temperature.)

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Luscious Apple Pie

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This is a gold standard apple pie with a little bit of a twist. The apples’  juices in the filling are concentrated prior to baking and thickened apple cider is also added to the filling- both add a deeper flavor to the filling- making it luscious. I do have one regret- not doing a lattice top. I always do a lattice top on my apple pie… but I didn’t want to deviate from the Baking Bible!! Next time! I think it would have been okay. 😉 This recipe is from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Pie Crust For the Standard Double Crust 9-inch Pie:

  • 12 T (1 1/2 sticks/6 oz/170 g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 1 T (10.2 oz/290 g) pastry flour or bleached all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 3 g (1/2 plus teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 1.1 g (1/4 teaspoon) aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (4.5 oz/128 g) cream cheese, cold
  • 3 T (44 ml/1.5 oz/43 g) heavy cream
  • 1 T (15 ml) cider vinegar
  1. Cut the butter into small (about 1/2 inch) cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a gallon-size reclosable freezer bag, place the flour, salt, and baking powder and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place the flour mixture in a food processor.
  4. Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  5. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the cubes is larger than the size of peas. (Toss with a fork to see the size better.)
  6. Remove the cover and add the cream and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together.
  7. Divide the dough in half (about 11 oz/312 g each). Spoon into two plastic bags. Hold either side of the bag opening and alternate using the heel of your hand and your knuckles to knead and press the mixture, from the outside of the bad, until most of the mixture holds together in one piece. Repeat for the second crust.
  8. Cut open each bag and empty the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap.
  9. Use the plastic wrap to finish kneading together the dough just until it feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
  10. Flatten each dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
  11. Remove the dough for the bottom crust from the refrigerator. If necessary, let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll.
  12. Starting from the center and moving outward, roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick on two overlapping pieces of plastic wrap, 12 inches in diameter, or large enough to line the bottom of the pie plate and extend slightly past the edge of the rim. (I used a tapered rolling pin to prevent the edges from becoming too thin.) Two or three times during rolling, flip the dough over and lift off of the plastic wrap to prevent it from creasing the dough.
  13. Transfer the dough to the pie plate, easing it into place. If necessary, trim the edge almost even with the edge of the plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

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For the Apple Filling:

  • 2 1/2 pounds baking apples (about 6 medium/8 cups sliced/2 pounds sliced/ 907 g sliced) such as Macoun, Cortland, Jonathan, Winesap, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith (I love to use a blend of different types)
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup, firmly packed (1.9 oz/54 g) light brown Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1.8 oz/50 g) granulated sugar (can add up to an additional 1/4 cup if apples are very tart)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (can add 1/4 tsp to 3/4 tsp if using strong specialty cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml/4.3 oz/122 g) unpasteurized apple cider, unsweetened
  • 1/2 T (5 g) cornstarch (for the apple cider)
  • 2 T (1 oz/28 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp (12 g) cornstarch (for the apples)
  1.  Peel the apples and slice them in half. Use a melon baller to remove the cores and a small short knife to cut away any remaining peel. Slice the apples 1/4 inch thick. Toss them with the lemon juice.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the apple and toss to coat them with the sugar mixture. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  3. In a small saucepan, stir together the apple cider and the 1/2 T of cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. It will become very thick. Scrape it into a small bowl, cover tightly, and set it aside.
  4. Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid. The mixture will release at least 1/2 cup of liquid.
  5. Transfer this liquid to a 4+ cup microwavable measure with a spout that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add the butter and microwave for about 6 to 7 minutes until reduced to about 1/3 cup (3.1 oz/88 g). It will be syrupy and lightly caramelized. Watch carefully to prevent burning. (Alternatively, reduce the liquid in a saucepan, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Swirl but do not stir it.)
  6. Transfer the apples to a large bowl and toss them with the 1 T plus 1 tsp of cornstarch until all traces of it have disappeared.
  7. Pour the reduced syrup over the apples, tossing gently. (Do not be concerned if the syrup hardens on contact with the apples; it will dissolve during baking.)
  8. Scrape in the thickened apple cider and again toss gently to mix it in.
  9. Spoon the apples into the dough-lined pie plate.

To Complete the Pie:

  1. Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water.
  2. Roll out the dough for the top crust to a diameter of 12 inches.
  3. Place the top crust over the apple filling. Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust border and press down all around the top to seal it. Crimp the border using your forefinger and thumb or a fork, and use a small sharp knife to make 5 evenly (I tried!) spaced 2-inch slashes in the top crust, starting about 1 inch from the center and radiating toward the edge.
  4. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking to chill and relax the dough.
  5. 45 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it. Cover with non-stick aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (convection).
  6. Place a foil or silicone ring over the edge of the pie crust to protect from over browning. Set the pie on the foil-covered baking stone or sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pie.
  7. Continue baking for 20 to 35 minutes, or until juices bubble through the slashes and the apples feel tender but not mushy when a cake tester or small knife is inserted through a slash.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  9. Store at room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 4 days.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Brown-Butter & Vanilla Bean Apple Pie

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I love nutty browned butter and anything with vanilla beans so this pie was a winner! 🙂 This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

For the Crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  1. Place flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some blueberry-size clumps.
  2. Beat together egg, ice water, and vinegar in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture and pulse just until incorporated, about 10 times more. Squeeze a small amount of dough to make sure it holds together. If dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap, forming each into 1 disk. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples (6 to 7), peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • Double-Crust Pie Dough
  • Water, for brushing
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is golden brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes; let cool. Toss together apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine flour, salt, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla-bean seeds in another bowl, breaking up clumps and combining with a fork or fingers. Add browned butter to apples. Stir in flour mixture.
  2. Roll out 1 disk of dough to just under 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Roll out remaining disk of dough to a 13-inch round. Rolled-out dough can be refrigerated up to 8 hours. (Be sure to let the 13-inch round sit at room temperature until pliable before topping pie, or it will break.) Place apples in pie shell, brush edges with water, and cover pie with top crust. Trim excess, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold top edge over bottom crust to seal, and crimp as desired. Cut steam vents in top crust. Freeze pie 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lowest position. Brush pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips. Cover edges to prevent over-browning. Bake pie on lowest rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until well browned, about 45 minutes (convection) to 1 hour, or until bubbling through vents, up to 20 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack, at least 6 hours.
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Notes: The dough can be frozen up to 1 month. The pie can be made 1 day ahead and stored at room temperature. (I make my pies the day before Thanksgiving.)

One Year Ago:

Apple-Pear Pie with Walnut Crust (vanilla bean too!)

Apple-Pear Pie with Walnut Crust

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This recipe requires the filling to be cooked prior to baking the pie; it is well worth the extra work.  The combination of pears and vanilla bean with the apples created a very special pie.  This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living.  I may have to include it at part of the Thanksgiving meal next year.  The recipe calls for 1/3-1/2 cup of ice water in the crust but I found that only 1/4 cup was needed to create a moist dough.

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 1/2 ounces walnuts , toasted and chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 (to 1/2) cup ice water
Filling:

  • 5 to 6 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 firm-ripe Bosc pears
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 5 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Fine sanding sugar
  1. Crust: Pulse flour, walnuts, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor until walnuts are finely chopped. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds. Drizzle pi cup ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture comes together when pressed in your hand (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse.
  2. Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece. Bring edges of wrap together to gather dough. Press into disks. Roll out disks, still wrapped in plastic, to 1/2-inch-thick rounds (8 inches in diameter). Refrigerate at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before rolling.
  3. Roll out 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch round (a generous 1/8-inch thickness) on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, and trim edge, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Roll out remaining disk of dough to a generous 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate, along with dough in pie plate, until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Filling: Peel and core apples, and cut into eighths (you should have about 7 cups). Peel and core pears, and cut into eighths (you should have about 5 cups). Toss apple and pear slices with salt, granulated sugar, vanilla seeds, and lemon juice. Melt butter in a large saute pan over high heat. Add fruit mixture, and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes more. Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; let filling cool completely.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lower third of oven. Cut dough on baking sheet into 3-inch-wide strips. Pour filling into dough-lined pie plate, and brush edge of dough with some egg wash. Weave dough strips into a lattice over filling, and press overhang onto edge of crust. Trim edge, fold under, and crimp as desired. Brush top of pie with more egg wash, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  6. Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling through lattice, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: Pie can be stored at room temperature 1 day.

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