Thursday, April 3, 2014

DESSERT: Classic Apple Pie with Butter Crust (and Lattice Top)

Apple pie is the ultimate feel good dessert.  Though I love chocolate, I'd take a good slice of apple pie over a chocolate cake any day (well, maybe not a flourless molten cake, but I digress).  The absolute key to a good apple pie is a well made crust.  I typically make low fat, and low calorie graham or even plain-cracker crusts constructed with just enough butter to bind the crumbs, but I went with a classic butter crust and pie top for this beauty.

  • Crust (from the must-have book How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition) by  
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
    • 1 teaspoon sugar 
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 pieces
    • 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary 
    • Egg wash
      • One egg beat with a tbsp of milk mixed in
  • Apple Pie Filling
    • 8 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into small squares 
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar 
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
    • Add nutmeg to taste
  • Crust (From How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition) by  
    • Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.
    • Put the mixture in a bowl and add the ice water; mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another tablespoon or two of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes sodden, add a little more flour). Form into two balls, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough for up to a couple of days or freeze, tightly wrapped, for up to a couple of weeks.)
    • For the pie plate: sprinkle a clean counter-top with flour, put the dough on it, and sprinkle the top with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky, and it's taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll, adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place. 
      • When the diameter of the dough is about 2 inches greater than that of your pie plate, drape the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Press the dough firmly into the plate all over. Refrigerate for about an hour before filling (if you're in a hurry, freeze for a half hour or so).
      • Trim the excess dough to about 1/2 inch all around, then tuck it under itself around the edge of the plate. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers.
      • When you're ready to bake, either fill it or prick it all over with a fork for prebaking.

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