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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Two Years Ago:

German Apple Cake

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I love apple baking season!! My son has also become obsessed with cinnamon-sugar ever since pumpkin doughnut muffins became part of his life. 🙂 Apples and cinnamon-sugar are a match made in heaven- not to mention eating tasty cake a la mode- the whole dessert was heavenly!

I chose this recipe because the presentation was so pretty- so happy it was equally delicious. This cake was AMAZING. The recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn, via Martha Stewart Living. I used Ginger Gold apples because they were the most tart and best baking apples available at my farmstand at the time. It would also be wonderful with a combination of Granny Smith, Winesap, or Cortland apples. I usually prefer to combine varieties, but I couldn’t wait to make this cake. 🙂

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  • cooking oil spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, separated
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 large, tart apples, such as Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Cortland, or Winesap

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  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (on convection). Butter (or spray with cooking oil) a 9 x 7-inch or an 8-inch square pan, or other equivalent-size baking dish. Line with parchment paper, butter or spray the parchment as well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/3-cup sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Squeeze lemon juice into a medium bowl. Peel, core, and slice the apples into the bowl. Add the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss to thoroughly coat each apple slice.
  6. Arrange the apple slices on top of the batter in overlapping rows, pressing lightly into the batter. Drizzle remaining cinnamon-sugar over the top.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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