I use egg and vinegar in the dough,is two ingredients make the dough pliable easy to roll and tender: two eggs is ok but need to reduce water amount. The apples is cooked first help to reduce the empty space underneath the top crust and less soggy at bottom crust. I used mutsu apples this time and I like it very much but I did not see them at local market here. A variety of apples is sure giving the filling fun to eat with different texture and flavor. Honey crisp is popular now too. Buy one or two extra just in case needed. I do not use butter in the filling but add 2 Tbs or more if you want too. I think we have enough taste of butter in the crust. Sugar in the filling can be cut back to 1/2 cup and after apple tender, taste and add more if needed. Do not cut the pie when it is hot. It need at least 2 hours for the filling set. It can be make and store at room temperature 2 days in advance and serve cold or warm by itself or with whipped cream, caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream (Apple pie a la mode)
Remember a scene in The Masterchef show, chef Rampsay tested the Apple pie of Christine Ha by using the knife to make the crusted sound and look underneath the pie. This is perfect way to test the doneness of Apple pie. She only baked the pie in 18 minutes at 450 oF as in an interview. Is it a miracle?
Make one 9.5-in. Pyrex glass pie pan
For the crust
3 cups all-purpose flour and extra for dusting
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
8 oz (1 cups) cold butter, cut into thin slices
1 Tbs white vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup iced water
For the filling
5 lb assorted apples
3/4 to 1 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of apples and your taste
1/2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
2 tsp to 1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cornstarch
For egg wash
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp coarse or granule sugar for sprinkling
Whipped cream , vanilla ice cream, or caramel sauce for serving (optional)
1. The pie dough:
In a food processor, pulse together flour, salt and sugar 5 times. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs with a few pea size crumbs about 20 seconds. Beat egg with vinegar and 2 Tbs cold water, and pour through the tube while the machine running . May add extra ice water, 1 Tbs at a time and pulse until the dough look moist but not wet and hold together when press by fingers. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts on plastic wraps and flatten each into a 3/4-in thick disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. The dough maybe refrigerate up to 3 days but need to take it out or the fridge 5-10 minutes before rolling.
2. The Apple filling:
While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling. Peel,core and slice apples into 1/4-in about 12-13 cups of apple slices. In a large pot, toss together apples, sugar (I use 1 cup sugar), brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, , lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour. Set aside for 20 minutes. Cook on medium heat.. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking until apple soft,tender when poke with a folk but still keep the shapes about 5-7 minutes. If the liquid is till thin, drain apples but reserve fluid. Cook liquid until thicken. Mix the thicken liquid to apples and let’s cool completely. If the liquid is thicken too quick before apple tender, low the heat down to medium low and cont. stirring until apple tender.
3. Make the pie:
- Preheat oven to 425 oF and arrange a rack at the lowest position with a rimmed baking sheet. Take one disc out, round and smooth the edge to help less cracking. Roll out one disc to 13-in circle on a slightly floured surface or between 2 plastic sheets or parchment paper. Roll from the center out to different directions: top, bottom, left and right. Then turn the dough 45 o and keep rolling to an even thickness circle -2-in larger than the pie pan (lay the pan upside down and eyeball it) around 13-inches in diameter. Occasionally check for sticking and may sprinkle more flour to the dough and the working surface underneath the dough or try to lift the plastic or parchment paper away from the dough. If the edge gets cracking just use hands guiding while rolling from each side to bring the cracking edges together. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over the pan. Ease the dough and press gently to the bottom and side without stretching the dough. Trim dough flush with the rim with a knife and refrigerate the crust in the pan for at least 30 minutes, or 15 minutes in the freezer or over night. Roll out the second disc the same way and put it between 2 layers of parchment paper on a baking tray or fold it into half moon shape and half again, and refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze in 15 minutes.
- Spread the filling over the bottom crush. Mounding them lightly in the center. Use cookie cutters to make patent on the top dough. Loosely unroll the rolled pie dough or wrap the flat dough on the rolling pin and roll over the pie. Trim all excess dough except 3/4-in overhang and fold the top layer under the bottom layer. Flute the edge of the dough with lightly floured fingers or press down with a folk. Roll the trimming and use leaves cutter to cut leaves , brush with leftover egg wash and bake until golden brown,
- Cut several 2-in. slits if not use cookie cutter in step 2 on the top crust to help steam escape. Brush the egg over the crust and sprinkle with 1 Tbs sugar. Transfer to the preheat baking sheet in oven and bake about 25 minutes and reduce the heat to 375 oF. Cover the edge with foil. Bake until the top and bottom crusts golden brown and the filling bubble. about 30-45 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving about 2-3 hours or overnight. The pie can be made 2 days in advance and keep at room temperature with foil wrap. Reheat at 325 oF in oven for 20-25 minutes until warm before eating.