I’m on a quest for the perfect apple pie. So far, no one anywhere has been able to deliver. Not Alton Brown, not Southern Living, not even Mrs. Smith. Shame, Mrs. Smith, shame.
Some of my recipes get tweaked now and again, but I eventually settle on a preferred method, and stick with my discoveries. Not so with apple pie. I never, never, never make it the same way each time. I play with combinations. I play with methods, I play with toppings.
This pie isn’t the “World’s Best,” or “Greatest,” or even “Most Amazing,” but it is the one I served on Thanksgiving, and it’s pretty good.
I will tell you that after making a few apple pies, I have discovered some important tricks both on my own and from Mr. Brown and Southern Living–though Mrs. Smith is still silent in the back corner of my freezer.
(1) The combination of Braeburn and Granny Smith is virtually flawless. They stand up well to the heat, and their flavors complement each over very well. Note, that’s complement with an “e,” not an “i.” I love that commercial.
(2) Slice your apples evenly and relatively thinly– 1/4 inch sized. This way they’ll cook in both a reasonable amount of time and at the same time.
(3) After it bakes, leave the pie alone. If you don’t want a soupy mess, then let it rest.
Next time I make an apple pie–probably for Christmas, I’ll do it differently again. Maybe a caramel sauce inside the pie, or I might make a thicker juice–maybe even some apple jelly. We’ll see.
Like I said, though– not the “World’s Best,” but certainly “Pretty Darn Good.”
Deep Dish Apple Pie
2-1/2 lbs Braeburn apples
2-1/4 lbs Granny Smith Apples
1/2 cup lemon-lime soda
3/4 cup sugar + 1 tsp, divided
2 tbsp flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 cup apple cider
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp butter, divided
2 pre-made pie crusts
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
core, and slice apples.
Make sure apples are cut into thin slices of equal size. I use my apple corer, which makes 8 thick, generally equal-sized slices,
and then I cut each of those slices into thirds.
I often keep a few bowls on the counter as I work– one for the first set of apple slices, one for the thinner slices, and one for the cores and seeds that the apple corer missed. I think I took this shot before I grabbed a bowl for the cores.
2. In a large bowl, pour 1/2 cup of lemon-lime soda; toss sliced apples in soda. You can use lemon juice and water if you’d like. It’s the acidity that keeps the apples from turning brown. I had extra soda, but not lemons, so that’s what I used. This time, I used Sierra Mist. In the past, I’ve used Sprite, Fresca, and once I even gave the apples a quick bath in Coke Zero. Like I said, it doesn’t matter much, especially since they aren’t soaking in it for long.
3. In another large bowl, mix together the 3/4 cup sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.
As you can tell in just a moment, this is one of those cases where I kept switching from bowl to bowl. In this instance, it was a realization that my blue bowl wasn’t big enough to handle all of the apples.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the apples to another bowl–leave the soda behind.
I’m pretty sure you could just add them to the spice mixture. For some reason, I put them in another bowl before adding them to the spices.
Don’t ask me why. I had a reason when I did it, but I can’t for the life of me remember what my reason was. I think I decided to add them a little at a time. That must be why I was hopping back and forth between bowls. Don’t be like me–make it easy on yourself by using big mixing bowls.
Pour cider over apples,
and toss apples, spices, and cider together until the apples are coated.
Allow the apples to rest a minute or two to allow the extra juices to seep out.
4. Roll one of the refrigerated pie crusts out. I used the Pillsbury refrigerated ones. As a not very good pie crust maker, I cannot recommend these enough.
I’ve discovered my house lacks for light in the winter. I’ll have to figure out a way to make this better!
Drape the pie crust over an ungreased 9-inch deep dish pie pan.
Then press the crust into place.
5. Using the slotted spoon, transfer apples from the large bowl into the prepared pie pan, mounding apples in the center.
Over the apples, evenly pour 1/4 cup of the juice that remains in the bottom of the bowl that had the apples. If you need to, give the apples a quick sprinkle of sugar and spices. Sometimes, too many spices get left in the bottom of the bowl.
6. Cut 1 tablespoon cold butter into small pieces. Dot the top of the apples with butter pieces.
7. Roll the remaining pie crust out, and use it to top the apples.
Fold the edges over and under the edges of the bottom crust, but keep the on top of the edges of the pie pan. Crimp it whatever way works best for you. As evidenced by the photo below, I’m not a good crimper, so I just go with wherever my mood takes me. It’s…rustic. Yeah, that’s it. Rustic.
Cut some small vents into the top of the crust in order to release steam.
8. Place pan on an aluminum foil lined large cookie sheet (better to be safe than sorry, and apple goo burning all over the bottom of your stove is not fun). Bake pie in the oven for 30 minutes.
9. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Using a pastry brush, baste melted butter over the top and sprinkle with sugar. Return the pie to the oven, and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
10. Remove the pie from the oven, and allow it to cool for at least two hours. I allowed mine to cool for eight before covering it with aluminum foil and serving it the next day.
Alas, I never got the chance to take a picture of a slice. Maybe at Christmas! We served ours with vanilla ice cream.
Yield: 8 large slices, 16 thin slices