The Quintessential Apple Pie

This quintessential apple pie recipe is like fall in a baking dish.

You don’t need to peel the apples, as most skins become soft in the baking, plus their tannins add flavor to the pie. If there is an apple with skin you find too thick, it’s just “off with their jackets!” as Henry Ward Beecher wrote. A mix of 6-8 different varieties, some for tart, some that hold their shape, and some that don’t, will give you a pie with exceptional flavor and texture. Makes one, 9-inch, deep-dish pie.
INGREDIENTS:

  • About 10 cups heritage apples (skin on), quartered and cored,to mound up high in the pie pan
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 gratings nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon artisan apple cider vinegar or 1–2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1–2 tablespoons calvados or other apple liqueur (optional but really good)
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 double-crust pie dough
  • 1 knob butter, the size of a small walnut, cut into small pieces for dotting the top of the filling
  • 1–2 teaspoons sugar, for sprinkling on top of the pie
  • Egg wash – 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water, fork beaten

See also Autumn Squash and Pear Soup

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Slice the apples into ½-inch thick slices, or chunk them up into pieces you can comfortably get into your mouth.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, put the apples, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vinegar, calvados and flour. Mix lightly until most of the surfaces are covered with what looks like wet sand.
  3. Pour the mixture into an unbaked piecrust, mounding high, and dot with butter.
  4. Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top. Trim the excess dough from the edges and crimp.
  5. Cover the pie and chill in refrigerator while the oven is preheating to 425°F (220°C).
  6. Lightly brush some of the egg white wash over the entire pie, including the edges and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 30 minutes longer.
  8. Open the oven and carefully sprinkle sugar evenly on top of the pie, then continue baking for 10 minutes more.
  9. Look for steam and a slight bit of juice coming out of the vents before removing the pie from the oven. Get your ear right down almost to the top of the pie and listen for the sizzle-whump, which some call the pie’s heartbeat.
  10. Cool the pie for at least an hour.

Recipe & photo used with permission from Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott,  The Countryman Press, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016. All rights reserved. Photo by Andrew Scrivani.