AN AMERICAN CLASSIC
There are two secrets to making truly great apple pie. The first is to mix the dough by hand, a technique learned many moons ago from a local pastry chef. Contrary to the popular method of mixing the dough in a food processor—where the consistency is akin to cornmeal, I like mixing dough by rubbing it through the fingers, a process that leaves sheets of fat and butter in the dough that later expand during baking to create light, flaky layers. I also use lard and butter in equal measure to create the perfect balance of buttery goodness and tender flakiness.
The second secret is to lightly sauté the apples before filling the pie. The apples cook down while they bake, I find that pre-cooking them solves the problem of air pockets forming between the pie crust and the apples, it also allows for more control of adjusting the balance of tartness and sweetness since the addition of sugar and lemon juice, and zest takes place in the sauté pan rather than the mixing bowl. Because I’ve paired this pie with our 2017 Estate Chardonnay, I’ve kept the flavor profile of the apple filling lighter and tarter than I might for a typical old-fashioned apple pie. — Christine Havens, Marketing Director
FOR THE DOUGH
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (we love King Arthur)
1 stick butter, cold, cut into 1/4” cubes
1 stick shortening, cold, cut into 1/4” cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6-8 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
FOR THE FILLING
6-8 organic Braeburn and Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg
In a large mixing bowl, toss together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and shortening. Cut the fat into the flour by using your thumbs and index fingers to smear the butter and shortening into sheets. Continue mixing by hand until the dough just comes together, there should be larger pieces of fat left in the dough.
Gently incorporate the water by sprinkling it over the top of the dough a couple of tablespoons at a time. It’s important to stop mixing when the dough just comes together, it should feel very tender to the touch.
Divide the dough into two balls, turn them out onto a floured surface and flatten them into discs, then wrap them in plastic wrap and chill.
While the dough is chilling, peel, core, and slice the apples.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°.
Melt the butter in 12” sautée pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the apples until they just start to brown, then add the sugar, a pinch of salt, and the lemon juice. Taste the apples to adjust the balance between the tartness and sweetness of the mixture. Add the flour, cinnamon, grated nutmeg, and lemon zest. Stir until the flour begins to thicken. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap one of the discs and roll it out until it is 1/8” thick. If the dough begins to stick, sprinkle it with flour. Fold the dough into quarters and set it aside. Roll out the second disc.
Position the dough into the bottom of a 12” pie plate. Mound the apple mixture into the center of the pie plate and cover it with the second round of dough. Trim the excess dough with a pair of kitchen shears, leaving a 1/2” overhang. Tuck the edges of the dough under, then press them together to create a seal. Shape the edges of the dough as desired.
Cut four 1” vents in the top for steam. Using a brush, apply an egg wash to the top of the dough and sprinkle it with Turbinado sugar.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350° and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool the pie on a rack for 2-3 hours before serving.