If I had to choose which dessert I like making most I would have to say cookies. I love how easy cookies are to make, and appreciate that there is always a new type of cookie to try. My second favorite dessert to make? I think you probably guessed it- it’s pie. I really love to make pies, and actually find it to be very relaxing. Cutting butter into pie dough, rolling the dough out, and in the case of apple pie, peeling the apples, are all tasks that I can put my hands to work on while my mind wanders and reflects on life.
This particular apple pie is my favorite for a couple of reasons. The crust is perfectly flaky and buttery, and aren’t those heart cutouts just adorable? You can use any shape cookie cutter, as long as it is fairly small. I think leaf cutouts would be so pretty for this time of year. Another reason why this pie is my favorite is the filling. The filling is cooked on the stovetop before you bake the pie in the oven, allowing the apples to soften and absorb the flavors of the sugars and spices. Isn’t it the worst when pieces of apple in a pie are dry and not cooked through? That never happens with this pie. Pre-cooking the apples before baking ensures that the apples will have the perfect soft texture when you are ready to eat your pie.
In my family, the two classic pies that we enjoy on Thanksgiving are pumpkin and apple. This is my favorite pumpkin pie, and now you have my favorite apple pie recipe as well. Check back later in the week for the perfect ice cream to accompany your apple pie. Hint: It’s sooo delicious and the flavor pairs perfectly with the apples.
My Favorite Apple Pie
Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie
For the crust:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 to 4 tbsp. ice water
For the filling:
- 2 lbs. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- 2 lbs. Pink Lady apples (or your favorite variety), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tsp. cornstarch
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp. water
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- To make the dough, place the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times until blended. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 3 tbsp. of the ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half, and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one of the dough disks into a 12-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Gently wrap the dough around a rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish. Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the dish. Trim the edges flush with the rim of the dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the remaining dough disk into a 12-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Using a small cookie cutter, make cut outs of the dough and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Re-roll the dough scraps to make more cutouts. Refrigerate the cutouts for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large Dutch oven, stir together the apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Heat over medium heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until the liquid has thickened and become glossy, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Position a rack in the lower third of an oven, place a baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Let the pie shell and cutouts stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Transfer the apple filling to the pie shell and scatter the butter pieces on top. Assemble the cutouts decoratively over the filling, slightly layering them until the pie is covered. Trim the edges flush with the rim of the dish and press the top and bottom crusts together to seal. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
- Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet. Bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 1 hour, covering the edges with foil if they are browning too much. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 ½ hours before serving.