Breathe….. You can do it! I’m serious…I know that little voice in your head telling you, you could never make a beautiful pie. You better kick that little voice out because you are about to get over your fear of pies!…
I know pies are very intimidating but this recipe is extremely simple. There are a few kitchen tools I use in this recipe that may not grace every kitchen (food processor, digital kitchen scale). You do not HAVE to use these but I would highly recommend them for a consistent crust every time. Ross Dress for Less or T.J. Maxx carry kitchen scales for around $10. Trust me, it is well worth the investment.
I have always loved baking pies because there is such a huge reward at the end of all of that hard work; however, I have tried a few pie crust recipes that have been epic failures! Now THAT is a terrible feeling – spending all of that time, having your hopes up for that gorgeous, golden, flaky crust, only to get your heart crushed by a burned outer edge or a crust that shrinks down into the pan and turns to leather.
This pie crust recipe will leave you excited to make all of the pies you have ever wanted to make but didn’t have the confidence to attempt. Believe it or not, you won’t need anything fancy to cover your pie with so it won’t burn, there is a GREAT trick to avoid that.
I can not take credit for this recipe. The author of this AMAZING series of articles on pies, J. Kenji Lopez Alt, put hours upon hours of his time testing 10 different kinds of apples and several different crust recipes/methods and came up with a pretty fabulous combination. I was mesmerized for hours reading all about the science of pie crusts and fillings. I realize this probably doesn’t interest others as much as it does me but here is the website in case you are curious. http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/10/the-food-labs-apple-pie-part-2-how-to-make-perfect-apple-pie-filling.html
Okay, we are going to start with the crust first. Ready??? Here we go…
Easy Pie Dough
Note: This makes enough for two single-crust pies or one double-crust pie. For a slightly more tender crust, replace up to 6 Tbsp of butter with vegetable shortening. Pie dough can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw in refrigerator before rolling and baking.
12.5 ounces all-purpose flour – This is where you will need your kitchen scale because flour can vary in weight by up to 50% due to many different factors (like moisture and pack, resulting in a different product every time. If you measure by weight, you will ALWAYS have a consistent crust.
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats (I used 14 Tbsp butter with 6 Tbsp shortening)
6 Tbsp cold water
Combine 2/3 of flour along with the sugar and salt the bowl of a food processor. Pulse twice to incorporate. Spread butter chunks evenly over surface. Pulse until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps, about 25 short pulses.
Use a rubber spatula to spread the dough evenly around the bowl of the food processor. Sprinkle with remaining flour and pulse until dough is just barely broken up, about 5 short pulses. Transfer dough to a large bowl.
Sprinkle with water then using a rubber spatula, fold and press dough until it comes together into a ball. Divide ball in half. Form each half into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling and baking.
Easy enough, right? Let’s make our pie.
Perfect Apple Pie
4 to 4 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious, Braeburn or other baking apples, peeled cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch slices (I used 1/2 Golden Delicious and 1/2 Braeburn)
3 quarts boiling water
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 Tbsp for sprinkling over crust
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon depending on your tastes
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and place a heavy rimmed baking sheet on it. (Lowering the pie in your oven will keep the top from burning and the baking sheet below your pie will keep the bottom from overcooking, so clever!) Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
The following step is optional but is supposed to keep your apples from shrinking in your pie, creating that empty dome or fallen middle. My Braeburns oxidized a little but this was not evident in the end product.
Place apple slices in a large bowl or pot. Pour boiling water directly over top. Cover and set aside at room temperature for ten minutes. Drain apples very well and transfer to a large bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally (I kept mine in the strainer during these 10 minutes just to be certain all of the water drained out.) Right before you add your filling to your crust, add sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch and toss until apples are evenly coated.
Roll one disk of pie dough into a circle roughly 12-inches in diameter. Your dough should be approximately 2 inches larger than the top rim of your pan.
Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Add filling.
Roll remaining disk of pie dough into a circle roughly 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to top of pie. Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim the edges of both pie crusts until they overhang the edge of the pie plate by 1/2 an inch all the way around. Fold edges of both pie crusts down together, tucking them in between the bottom crust and the pie plate working your way all the way around the pie plate until everything is well tucked. Use the forefinger on your left hand and the thumb and forefinger on your right hand to crimp the edges. Cut 5 slits in the top with a sharp knife for ventilation.
Use a pastry brush to brush an even coat of lightly beaten egg white all over the top surface of the pie. Sprinkle evenly with a Tbsp of sugar. Transfer pie to sheet tray in the oven and bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
I would absolutely love to hear your stories about your pies. Also, please let me know if you have any questions. I will try to get them answered as quickly as possible. Enjoy!