Baking a pie from scratch takes a little time and a lot of patience, but watching your friends and family enjoy the results makes it all worthwhile. The apple pie is practically a national treasure and for good reason, it is just about the perfect dessert. This time of year there are dozens of apples to choose from and I suggest you pick a variety for this pie. Having a mix of apples makes for a great pie, but be sure you pick apples that don’t turn to mush if you want a high, dramatic pie.
The perfect apple pie is inspired by Cenk Sönmezsoy’s The Artful Baker. You can find the video tutorial in my instagram video under the highlights. To prepare this pie you will use the entire apple (including skins & cores), so nothing is wasted and the taste and texture is brilliant. The pie is jammed packed with super thin slices of apples, so that it is dense. If you take the time to stack them, you’ll see the clean lines of apple when you cut into it. This pie takes a little longer to make, but the results are worth every second.
the perfect apple pie recipe
- for the pie crust
- one and half cups all-purpose flour
- half a cup of granulated sugar
- one cup of cold unsalted butter, cubed
- one third cup ice water
- half a teaspoon fine sea salt
- for the filling
- two kilograms of apples, a variety
- one cup granulated sugar
- one third cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- three tablespoons cornstarch
- two teaspoons ground cinnamon
- four tablespoons unsalted butter
- quarter of a teaspoon fine sea salt
- one egg yolk, for the glaze
- one tablespoon of granulated sugar, for the glaze
For the dough, in the mixing bowl process the flour, sugar, and salt with a pastry cutter until blended. Add the butter pieces, mixing until the butter and flour are combined. Gradually drizzle in all but two tablespoons of the cold water until the dough resembles coarse meal.
To test it, squeeze a small piece of the dough in the palm of your hand. If it mostly sticks together, you have added enough liquid. If not, gradually combine in the remaining two tablespoons of water until the dough holds together when squeezed. Place the dough in cling film or a tea towel, flatten it into a disk, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
For the filling, peel, core, and cut both types of apples in half lengthwise (top to bottom). Do not discard the cores and peels. Use a mandolin or sharp knife to slice the apples crosswise into thin slices.
Transfer the slices into a bowl large enough to comfortably toss them. Add the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon, tossing them gently to avoid breaking up the apple slices too much. Let the apples sit in the bowl until they release their juices, about twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer the apple cores and peels to a medium saucepan. Add water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until half a cup of liquid is left in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into a separate medium saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract all of the apple stock.
Set another mesh strainer over a large bowl, let the apple slices with their juices drain for 30 minutes. Transfer the apple slices from the strainer to a large bowl and put aside. Scrape the juices from the bowl into the apple stock in the pan, and cook over medium- high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced, fifteen minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, immediately add the butter, and cornstarch, and whisk until blended. Scrape the apple sauce into a bowl and leave to cool, until it reaches room temperature. Once cooled, the mixture will be sticky and thick.
Roll the dough using a french rolling pin into a rough disk about twenty five centimeters in diameter. If the dough becomes soft and sticky as you roll, transfer the dough onto parchment paper and a baking sheet and freeze for 5 to 10 minutes before continuing.
Center the dough over a fluted pie dish, easing it across the bottom and up the sides without pressing the edges onto the sides of the dish. Trim the edges of the dough to leave a centimeter overhang.
Stack about one-third of the apple slices in concentric circles over the bottom of the crust. Spread about one-third of the apple sauce evenly over the slices. Continue layering in this manner until you have used all of the apples and sauce, ending with apple slices. The slices will rise a bit above the lip of the dish. If the edges of the dough are very soft, freeze the pie before continuing until the edges are firm.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with a fork until blended.
Remove the pie from the freezer and the remaining dough from the refrigerator, flatten with a french rolling pin, and center the dough over the filling in whatever design you would like. I have used a wide lattice for mine. Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust and press the dough firmly onto the fluted edges of the pie pan to seal it. Brush the dough with the glaze and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top. Starting from the center, cut evenly spaced slits as steam vents on the top crust.
Set the pie on the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for twenty minutes at two hundred degrees, then reduce the oven temperature to one hundred and eighty degrees and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling up through the slits, about an hour.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.