A cold April rain is pelting the windows in my office-slash-craft room right now. It is dark and peaceful, and I could give in and take a Saturday afternoon nap, but I want something even more comforting: pie.
Here is an apple pie recipe you’ll turn to again and again, and probably, knowing all you bakers out there, modify it some more yourselves with your own tricks. As it stands, however, this is a beauty of a pie. Your house will smell amazing as it bakes.
Pie crust for a two-crust pie – use your go-to crust recipe or refrigerated crusts. You really can’t go wrong with this pie.
6 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced*
¾ cup sugar plus extra for sprinkling
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg white
* For heaven’s sake, use your favorite apple: Granny Smith are the traditional go-to baking apples because they add a nice tartness. Lots of folks enjoy McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, or a blend. Go with what you enjoy or what you have on hand. Like the crust, you won’t go wrong. I’ve got Fuji today, which are panned for their juices not thickening enough, but I’m not feeling picky. If you’re entering the county fair, then be picky.
How to Make It:
Heat your oven to 425 F.
Place your bottom crust into a 9-inch pie plate.
In a large bowl, mix the apples, ¾ cup sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and lemon juice. Do this gently, so you don’t break up your apple slices. Spoon the filling into the bottom crust.
Sprinkle on the cut-up bits of butter.
Cover with your top crust. Trim off any excess and tuck the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust. Pinch it together and flute it. (No woodwinds involved.) Use both hands and pinch and seal the dough with your pointer fingers and thumbs, giving a tiny twist as you go all around the edge of the pie. Check out my Bloody Good Cherry Pie recipe for marginally more details on fluting.
With a sharp knife, cut some slits in the top crust to vent the steam. Or you could use a pie bird, or little cookie cutters and cut shapes out of the crust (before you put it on top of the filling, making sure everything stays cool) to do the same thing.
In a little bowl, whisk the egg white until it is nice and frothy. Brush the egg white over the top of the pie. This will give you a nice shiny finish.
Now, sprinkle sugar gently over the top of the egg white. You’ll end with a sparkly, delicious top.
Step carefully around your mini-Schnauzer who is positioned so she can instantly grab any accidental food-from-the-sky. She doesn’t look alert. That’s a deception. Just wait until you drop something…
Bake your pie for 40 to 45 minutes or until the apples are tender, you can see bubbling through the vents, and the crust is golden brown.
Before this happens, though, you need to check after 15 to 20 minutes of baking and cover the edges of the crust. You can do this with foil, or a pie crust shield. I got these little Norpro 3275 Silicone Pie Crust Shields, 5-Piece for Christmas, and I have to say, they’re the bomb. They’re adjustable to other sizes of pie, go on so easily (WAY easier than foil) and clean up fast. I do recommend them.
Whatever method you use, be sure you cover those edges on the crust, or they will be over-browned by the end of the baking time. And you’ll be sad.
Cool your pie on the cooling rack for at least two hours before serving. If you can wait even longer, believe it or not, that’s better: the filling will set even more and not seep when you cut it. Still, I know: it smells like heaven and you can’t touch it for two hours. Now is a good time for that nap.