Brown-Butter & Vanilla Bean Apple Pie

I love nutty browned butter and anything with vanilla beans so this pie was a winner! ­čÖé

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I modified the baking technique and crust.

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.
  2. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some blueberry-size clumps.
  3. Beat together egg, ice water, and vinegar in a small bowl.
  4. Add egg to flour mixture and pulse just until incorporated, about 10 times more.
  5. 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.
  6. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap, forming each into 1 disk.
  7. 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 (above)
  • 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.
  2. Toss together apples and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  3. Combine flour, salt, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla-bean seeds in another bowl, breaking up clumps and combining with a fork or fingers.
  4. Add browned butter to apples. Stir in flour mixture.
  5. Roll out 1 disk of dough to about 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Fit into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. (I used a 9-inch deep dish ceramic pie dish.)
  6. 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.)
  7. Place apples in pie shell, brush edges with water, and cover pie with top crust. Trim excess, leaving a 1-inch overhang. (Alternatively, make a lattice pattern with the top crust.)
  8. Fold top edge over bottom crust to seal, and crimp as desired. Cut steam vents in top crust. Freeze pie 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection, with rack in lowest position.
  10. Brush pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  11. Place on a parchment paper or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips. Cover edges to prevent over-browning.
  12. Bake pie on lowest rack 15 minutes.
  13. Cover pie with a foil dome (formed using an inverted bowl).
  14. 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. (*I removed the foil dome (and uncovered the edge) after 1 hour and continued to bake the pie for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.)
  15. Let cool completely on a wire rack, at least 6 hours.

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!)

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