Out of all the complex, gourmet desserts I could have, nothing ever compares to the homemade apple pie my mother used to bake. I wish you could ask her how much I loved an apple pie. Even when I went to Mickie D’s or BK, I ALWAYS ordered an apple pie with my burger. Publix around the corner from my house has this awesome bakery and their apple pies are sooooo good, cost about $3.49 for a full pie, not too expensive.
This recipe is to make the whole thing from scratch no ready made pie crusts here!
For the Pastry Crust:
3/4 c. cake flour
1-3/4 c. all purpose flour
scant tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lard
4 tbsp. Crisco shortening
large pinch Rumford Baking Powder
1 tbsp. buttermilk powder OR: 1 tbsp. lemon juice or
white vinegar ADDED TO: 5-7 tbsp. ice water
one stick plus 1/3 stick butter, frozen in advance
For the Filling:
10 apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
sprinkle of mace (optional)
sprinkle of vanilla
Flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot for thickening
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, then reduce to 375 degrees F after pie is in the oven.
Combine dry ingredients. Mix together Crisco and lard in metal bowl. Sprinkle with flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove butter from freezer and slice into 1/2 inch chunks. Add to bowl. Work butter and shortenings together into flour with fingers or a pastry blender, leaving large chunks, the size of walnuts. The purpose is to coat the butter particles with flour, but not to allow the butter or shortenings to melt. Do not overwork the mixture.
Add the lemon juice or vinegar to ice water and stir quickly into dry ingredients. Mix briefly, less than 45 seconds, leave large unincorporated pockets of butter and shortening. If mixture is beginning to melt, refrigerate briefly.
Gather mixture together into a flat disc, approximately 1 inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour or up to 2 days. Freeze if you want to reserve longer than 2 days. The half hour rest is necessary so that the dough will become easier to roll out. The buttermilk powder and/or lemon juice also helps relax the dough and prevent gluten, which can make for a tough crust.
NOTE: For a flakier pie crust, reserve 1/3 stick of butter and slice lengthwise, 1/8 inch thick. Place strips of butter onto dough and then fold into thirds before refrigerating for half hour resting period.
For the filling, use a combination of different types of apples. The best combination consists of mostly Granny Smith apples and a few Cortland types. The Granny Smith apples retain their shape when cooked and provide tartness and flavor. Meanwhile, the Cortland apples cook down into applesauce.
Granny Smiths and Cortland Apples used for this recipe
Mix the nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon with the sugar. Sprinkle the sugar with a few drops of pure vanilla extract. Work the butter and 2 tablespoons of flour or other thickener into the sugar. Slice the apples into thin wedges and place apples into pre-rolled out and fitted pie crust, packing apples in tightly, since they will cook down significantly. Mound apples higher in center. Sprinkle over the apples the juice of 1/2 lemon, then sprinkle the sugar-spice mixture over the apples evenly. Roll out and place top crust, fluting edges to seal tightly and creating several vent holes to allow steam to escape.
Brush top of crust with a mixture of one egg white and one tablespoon of water or with a little cream. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
Variation: One method of making a nice base for your apple pie is to peel a portion of the apples, placing the skins, cores, lemon peels, cinnamon sticks, and fresh grated ginger, into a saucepan with sugar and half cup of water or apple juice. Simmer over low heat for about an hour and strain, reserving the liquid. Thicken 1/2 cup of the strained liquid with 1-2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot and cool. Add 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla, the sliced and peeled apples, and pour into the pie shell.
This is a nice variation when you don’t have Cortland apples to mix in with the granny smiths because it keeps the pie from being too dry. The liquid is enough for one 10-inch pie about 4 inches tall at center. Adjust according to your pie size. Bake about 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Freshly grated ginger much improves the flavor over the ground type in this recipe.