Apple picking is the thing to do at this time of the year and my house in the Hudson Valley is surrounded by acres of apple fields.
So today’s post is on apple pie and some tips to make the ultimate one.
The butter should be well chilled. Although the recipe below uses half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour, you can use just all-purpose flour if you like. I keep my flour in the freezer but it is not necessary. Freezing keeps the flour bug free and is the perfect temperature for making any kind of dough.
If the completed dough disc has been chilled overnight, leave it on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes to make it easier to roll out. If it is too cold it will start cracking around the edges. If this happens, press the sides of the dough in to make them smooth again, wait and reroll.
Also I dent the dough on top with my rolling pin starting 1 inch from the edge, once or twice in the middle (depending on how big your disc is) and then again 1 inch from the lower edge. This will get the dough started by making it more malleable.
Make sure your work surface is cool and lightly flour it, along with the rolling pin. Keep turning the dough or moving it as your roll to make sure it is not sticking. If it is sticking, lightly flour again. Once you fit the bottom dough into the pie pan, chill it again until firm.
Pick baking varieties for taste and texture. Pair a tart variety with a sweet, and a firm one that keeps it shape during baking with one that gets soft.
Also, it might look like a lot of apples when you mound them in your pie plate but keep in mind they will soften and deflate as the apple’s liquid is released. This will create a pie that does not have a huge gap between the pie crust and the baked apples.
I leave the skin on the apples for extra fiber but if you want, peel them with a Y-shaped peeler. Then halve them with a sharp knife. Remove the core with a melon baller (best way to preserve the shape of the apple and to avoid waste). Apple corers often miss the pit and take out way too much of the yummy apple meat!
Remember to vent the pie dough on top by pricking some holes in the top crust to allow steam to escape and create a crispier crust.
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The Ultimate Apple Pie
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold low-fat cream cheese
3 to 6 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. divided
3-1/4 pounds assorted apples such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Gala, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
Sanding sugar or Sugar in the Raw
- Make Dough: In a food processor fitted with a blade pulse together whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter and cream cheese and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons cold water and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and pulse just until a dough begins to form, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.
- Transfer to a lightly floured surface and form into two flat disks. (Do not overwork or dough will become tough.) Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with baking spray. Roll out a pastry disc on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round and transfer to pie plate, leaving edges of dough overhanging pie plate; chill dough until firm. Roll out remaining piece of dough in same manner and transfer to a cookie sheet and chill until firm.
- Make Filling: Toss together apples, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup flour, vanilla, remaining1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and cinnamon in a bowl while dough chills. Spoon filling into prepared pie dish.
- Top with remaining dough and crimp edges decoratively. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Using a paring knife, make 3 to 4 (3/4-inch-long) slits on top crust.
- Bake in middle of oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until crust is golden brown and apples are tender. (If pie crust is browning too much cover with pie crust covers or aluminum foil.) Transfer to a rack to cool. Cut pie into slices and serve slightly warm or cool with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
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