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Perfect Apple Pie

A sweet and traditional fall dessert
Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune

Apple pies are a holiday go-to, and for good reason. Prepare the crust and filling, fit together in a 9 inch pie pan and bake for one hour.

This Leah Eskin recipe was inspired by Stella Parks and appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 8 (about 1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour such as Gold Medal, plus more for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Crystal Diamond kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 Cup cold water
  • 3 Cups granulated sugar (optional)

For the filling

  • 3 Pounds (about 6 large) tart apples such as Granny Smith, Albemarle Pippin or Gold Rush
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 Cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons tapioca flour (aka starch)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Pinch of kosher salt

For the egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy craem
  • 1 Pinch of kosher salt

Directions

For the crust

Sift flour into a medium bowl.

Whisk in sugar and salt.

Toss butter cubes with flour.

Roughly smash each cube flat — nothing more!

Stir in water and knead briefly into a ball.

Transfer to a floured work surface, sprinkle with flour, and roll into a 10-by-15 inch sheet, positioned vertically.

Fold top edge down and bottom edge up to meet in the center. Fold left edge to meet right, as though closing a book. Fold top to meet bottom, forming a thick block.

Cut the block in half.

Dust with flour and roll one portion into a 13-inch round.

Brush off excess flour, drape over a 9-inch pie plate.

Trim to a 1 1/4 inch overhang; fold under to create a 3/4 inch border that rests on the rim of the plate.

Wrap in plastic and chill 2 to 24 hours.

Roll remaining dough into a 13-inch round, rest on a baking sheet, cover with plastic and chill 2 to 24 hours.

Pastry is ready to be filled and baked, or it can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in a refrigerator. 

When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 350 degrees.

Line the chilled pastry with foil, draping it loosely over edges.

Fill with granulated sugar (alternatively, use baking beans). Set on a baking sheet.

Bake until pastry is set and golden, about 1 hour.

Lift out the foil.

If pale, continue baking until lightly colored, 5-10 minutes. Let cool. (Roasted sugar can replace granulated sugar in other recipes; it offers a hint of caramel flavor.)

Cool, seal and store.

For the filling

Peel, core, halve and slice apples crosswise into ¼-inch thick half-circles. (An apple peeler contraption makes quick work of the job.)

In a wide skillet, melt butter over medium heat.

Slide in apples and toss to coat.

Cover and cook, stirring regularly, until apples lose their snap, about 7 minutes.

Uncover and stir in brown sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and salt.

Cook until syrup begins to thicken, 1 minute.

Let cool.

Scrape cooled apples into cooled pie shell.

Drape the top pastry over apples, trim edge to ¾-inch overhang.

Fold the overhang under itself, covering the parbaked edges (no need to unite baked and unbaked pastry, they will join forces in the oven).

Chill firm, 30 minutes

For the egg wash

With rack still in lower-middle position, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together egg wash, and brush over chilled pie.

Cut in a starburst of vent slits.

Set pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake until top is golden brown, center is bubbly and 195 degrees, about 1 hour. (Pull out pie before it reaches 200. That’s when apples break down to mush.)

If top is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.

Cool at least 1 hour before serving.

To restore crisp crust later, reheat at 350 for 10 minutes.