Fall in upstate New York means apple picking, which, in turn, means having a giant sack of apples that I have to do something with. My mom made fantastic apple pie when I was a kid, so I decided to try my hand at her recipe, which is from an older edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook (a very slightly different version can be found on their website). I used to help her make the pies when I was a teen (and have the mandoline scars to prove it), but had never made one by myself. Fortunately, it turned out to be delicious!
Double 8″ Pie Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup shortening, such as Crisco (the website says 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons; I think this might have worked better)
- 4-6 tablespoons cold water
Sift together the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender if you have one, or using two knives pulled in opposite directions (or, um, mix it with a fork if you’re too uncoordinated to master the knife action). Add one tablespoon of water at a time and mix with a fork until all the flour is moistened and can be squeezed into a ball without crumbling.
Divide the dough into two equal balls. The website recommends wrapping the dough in plastic and letting it sit in the refrigerator for 45 minutes; I accidentally skipped this for the bottom crust but let the top crust cool while I prepped the apples. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Flour your baking mat and rolling pin to prevent sticking, and roll out one dough ball into a circle roughly 2″ larger than your pie. Add more flour as needed if it sticks to the pin, and when the dough inevitably cracks, just pinch it back together with slightly moistened fingers and re-flour. Remember, if you want a flaky crust, the dough is gonna be flaky too. It’s annoying to work with, but winds up tasting delicious.
Lift one edge of the mat to flip the dough onto the rolling pin, then carefully pull it off the mat onto the pin and center it in the pie pan.
Pinch together any tears that form in transit, using excess crust from the edge if necessary (hopefully the crust will hang over the edges all around so you can make it pretty later). You can roll out and set aside the top crust now if you want; since I was letting the second ball of dough chill, I went on to the filling and rolled it out when I needed it.
Apple Pie Filling
- 5-8 cups thinly sliced tart apples, peeled and cored (about 5-8 apples; I used 4 and it wasn’t quite enough) Mom usually used Granny Smith apples; I think I used Golden Supremes and Lady Jeans, but a couple might have been Empires or Macouns. They got all mixed together in the bag.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- a dash of salt
- 1 tbsp. butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 425º. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then toss the apple slices in small batches to coat them. The thinner you cut the apples, the more surface area you get, and the more sugar mix they’ll use up. If you run out of sugar mix before apples (not that this happened to me, noooo), make a bit more! Layer the apples in the pie crust, heaping somewhat over the top of the pan since the apples will settle as they cook. Slice the butter into thin pats and scatter over the top of the apples.
If you haven’t already rolled out the top dough, do so now and then center it carefully over the pan. Go around the edge of the pan and pinch the two layers of crust together with your thumb and forefinger to make a pretty pattern, setting aside any leftovers. If you feel really ambitious, you can roll this out and cut out decorative shapes with cookie cutters and place these on top of the crust. Or, you know. Just eat it raw.
Poke vent holes in the top crust with a fork, then use 2-3 thin strips of foil to cover the edge of the crust so it doesn’t burn (or put the entire pan on top of a big piece of foil and wrap it up over the edges).
Cook for 40-50 minutes, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes. Let cool, then dig in!
Ideally, serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream. Or, just stuff it in your face. I won’t tell. The crust turned out to be as flakey as I’d hoped, and the filling was slightly tart but delicious. It maybe could have used a bit more cinnamon, otherwise, it was perfect.
Of course, I still have a ridiculous number of apples to use up. What are your favorite apple recipes?