The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wanted: a great recipe for a classic American Apple Pie!

  • Pin It
rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Wanted: a great recipe for a classic American Apple Pie!

Pls excuse this excursion from breads, pizzas and thangs generally yeasty. Still on the baking page, though - so not the worst of transgressions, I trust.

After the great response to my request for an authentic Jewish New York deli rye, I'm thinking there is no better place to put out a call for a GREAT classic American apple pie recipe (with home-made pastry, of course). Sooo...anyone? I promise to toast you with a slice piled high with whipped cream and icecream (well, that's how I like to have it...but open to correction from the culture of origin, although I should declare I can't promise to mend my evil ways in this respect).

Best of baking!
Ross

 

 

fminparis's picture
fminparis

Easy and classic - no thickeners, other stuff.

9" pie plate
2 pastry crusts (12" to line and cover) - see below

oven to 425'

foil to cover edges

 4 granny smith apples, 4 golden delicious apples (or more to weigh 4 lbs together)

 1 tsp cinnamon

1 c sugar

1 1/2 TBL butter cut into dots

 line pie plate with pastry

 mix cinnamon and sugar in a bowl

peel, core, slice apples - put in large bowl

add sugar mix - mix together so slices coated

place apples in pastry in pie plate, heaping higher in center

dot with butter

cover with top crust

with fork press edges down to seal and  cut off overhang
or fold edges under to seal 

 cut slits in top crust for steam to escape

 cover edge with foil - remove for last 15 minutes of baking

 bake about 55 minutes – half way through turn around - start checking at 50 minutes - bake till crust browned and juice bubbles up

 

Simple crust (if you have food processor):

in food processor bowl put

 7 1/2 oz (1 1/2 cups) all purpose unbleached flour

1/2 tsp salt

 run a few seconds to mix

 1 stick cold butter cut in 6 pieces

2 3/4 oz (1/4 c + 5 tsp) ice water

 

add all pieces of butter to flour mix in bowl.

Put on cover and pulse processor with short pulses (on-off, on-off) about 8 times

Remove cover and pour ice water evenly over flour mix

give longer pulses – 1 second - as soon as dough just begins to make small clumps, stop.

 

Remove dough, with hands quickly form into a ball, press between your hands to flatten into a pancake, wrap in plastic wrap, put in refrigerator for 20 minutes, then rollout.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'd been wanting to photograph a favorite apple tree for a long time.  It has the most beautiful crop of apples ever second year.  I went out to walk my dog, Dolly, today and grabbed the camera on the way out hoping to go past my favorite tree along fields ripening with various grains, you know, pictures of clouds and stuff.  

As we walked I kept a look out for one of my neighbor's cats which had been missing for several days.  As Dolly loves to greet cats and dogs on our daily jaunt, it wouldn't be too odd if we crossed paths.  We took the long way 'round going past the apple tree as we circled back about half a kilometer from home.  Then it just happened!  I, totally involved in trying to get a good picture getting about 4 shots off when I was aware Dolly found something in the tall grass under the tree.  Naturally... a cat.  Strange, the cat stayed lying down while it hissed at Dolly.  Very odd.  I reached for my mobile phone to dial a neighbor.   No, got the bakery, not the neighbor...  I found a number (another neighbor related) and dialed asking for a details of the missing cat.  Dolly kept her distance but wondered why the cat did not want to play (many of them don't.)   The cat fit the APB and soon one kid biked up to positively identify his cousin's pet.   I went over and gently stroked the cat checking over legs and tail.  I picked it up very carefully and brought it home.  Yep, it was the missing kitty.  The cat seemed to sigh a thank you as it recognized home turf soon to be safely in the arms of it's loving family.   We did our good deed for the day.

Sorry to highjack your thread Ross, I figured you got your pie, now you're going to get an apple and dog rescue story!  Cats and Dogs are also about as American as Apple Pie.

Mini

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Or strudel. Brings back fond memories of the gorgeous cakes in Austria dn Germany, always served with a generous bowl piled high with whipped cream. My endorphin and cal count is accelerating at the very thought...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Strudel is so much easier!  It's basically the same ingredients.  One method like making pie, is that the apples are spread over the dough and sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, crumbs, raisins (for strudel) as it just lies there,  the other is to mix everything in a bowl first and then spread over the dough.  I can't decide which I prefer.  In my mind hot apple pie is best served with vanilla ice cream.   Strudel with whip cream.  

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Ross, this has been a quest for my wife for many years, both eating out and to make at home. Concerning the latter, she's never been more pleased than with the two crust recipe from Cook's Illustrated. As her best customer, I can't disagree.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

As a grateful recipient of that very recipe courtesy of Karin's post below, I look forward to trying it.

Cheers
Ross

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

The one I've made over and over again is Tyler Florence's Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie.

The red wine caramel takes a while, but it's an amazing counter to the tart Granny Smith apples (which are about the only apples I'll bake with in spring, summer).

breadsong's picture
breadsong

comment deleted

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Not quite to my brief, but good to be alerted to a recipe you recommend.

Cheers
Ross

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

Unless you are baking today, I suggest a trip to your library to see if they have the Cook's Illustrated baking cookbook (titled as from America's Test Kitchen). Their vodka (yes!) pie crust is easy, almost foolproof, and tastes great. I also like the apple pie filling in "The Perfect Recipe" by Pam Anderson; it's really good. That book should be at your library as well. I'm sorry to not write them out here, but they are not mine to give. That's why I suggest you get the books from the library. 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

is a great resource (and no ads!) I made the vodka pie crust several times already, works like a charm. The easy apple strudel recipe is wonderful, too.

The only thing I miss here in Maine are really good baking apples - alas, no Boskop apples! No Cox Orange! Granny Smith are tart, but not very flavorful when baked, and I don't like the taste of McIntosh. The best possibility is mixing different apples in a filling (as the Tartine chef suggests).

Karin

fminparis's picture
fminparis

Just a note:  Ross stipulated "classic" apple pie, not carmalized, not with liquor, almonds, brandy.  A "Classic American Apple Pie" does not contain any of those.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Not that I don't appreciate everyone's contributions, but I'm glad you put up this reminder, fminparis. I should add, also, that I'm particularly interested in the pastry part. Apple pies I've tried here usually have a flaky pastry top and a base that tends to be thinner than what I imagine to be a classic American pie base. I'm basing my vision of the 'ideal' American apple pie on those I've seen in movies. I've got nothing else to go on!

Maybe I should describe this 'ideal' so you can measure it against what you know to be the real deal and let me know if I've got it right or wrong - or something in between. The base is thickish and sort of doughy-soft, so you don't have to saw through it with the edge of your spoon; it's pliable, and can be easily cut through. The filling features distinct slices of apple in what appears to be a viscous sauce. It's obviously cooked, but not stewed to a puree. The crust on top is domed and I think sparkles with lightly sprinkled sugar. Am I ringing any bells? Or perhaps this American apple pie I am 'seeing' is nothing like the real deal? Whatever, I'm salivating.

As you may have gathered from this and other posts of mine, my main interest in food generally is in traditional authentic regional specialties - food of the people, rather than cheffy upmarket stuff. Michelin star restaurants and the like have their place, but for me, prissy cheffy fare is an arty elitist mode of cuisine that can only be enjoyed by the monied. That sort of cuts me out, which I slightly resent (irrational though I acknowledge that response to be). But while acknowledging that I'd love to try some universally acclaimed high-end fare (Tetsuya's, The Fat Duck, El Bulli etc), if money was no object and I had to choose, I'd go for great street food a la the wonderful hawker centres of SE Asia, the French bistro style of cuisine and mama's home-made pasta in a little village in Tuscany. You get the idea.

Anyway, this thread has already yielded some gold, but if there's any more in them thar hills, would be much obliged if I could have a look at what you got!

Best of baking all
Ross

PS: BTW, is Cooks Illustrated a classic American cookbook? It's not in my local library - from my web browsings, it seems it's a magazine, not a book?

louie brown's picture
louie brown

They may also have published a collection as a book, I don't know. They are a bit on the corny-as-Kansas side (although they're from Vermont,) but they are reliable for testing basics (and for equipment testing.) The two crust apple pie is one of these basics at which they excel.

Concerning the crust, my aunt taught me long ago to use real lard. No question, this is the flakiest, and true to the classic American tradition. James Beard has a crust that includes egg yokes for extra richness.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Re lard: I know that makes the best savoury pie crusts, but thought butter and vegetable-based shortenings were most commonly used in sweet pies? Anyone else have thoughts on this?

michinson's picture
michinson

I use a combination of butter and lard in my pie pastry.  For  a sweet pie I may add more sugar.  For a savory pie (anyone else love tomato pie?), I may replace 1/4 cup flour with cornmeal.    

Here's my formula (well, okay, I stole it from Julia Child, but whatever) :

2 cups AP flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

6 Tbsp cold butter

2 Tbsp cold lard

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water.

I'm sure you know the rest, but just in case:  Keeping everying very cold, cut the butter and lard into bits, then cut in the dry ingredients, either using a food processor or a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse meal.  Add ice water till you can form a rough dough ball.  Tip out onto lightly floured counter, give it a quick knead to get it all  together. Refrigerate for a half-hour or so, then roll out and do your thing.

The butter gives wonderful flavor, the lard gives incredible flakiness, and it comes out great every time.  A neighbor traded me some of her bees' honey last week to give her a pastry lesson, and this is the recipe we used.  I ran into her this morning, and  she said she's been taking pies to work and wowing her co-workers with her "real" pie crusts.

Good luck on your quest.  I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for the perfect filling for my perfect pastry.

P.S.  I'm kind of a just toss-the-filling-together kind of girl, so I'll trust every else's recipes for that, but I will say that my favorite apple for baking is golden delicious.  They have a nice mellow flavor and hold their shape beautifully.   And I don't pre-cook them, just peel, core, and slice;  toss with the sugar and cinnamon, etc., and pop into the pie pan.  

 

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Sounds like a great pie pastry, with that combo of lard and butter contributing different qualities. That's a nice, brief, clear summary of the fundamentals, too - much appreciated.

Cheers
Ross

EvaB's picture
EvaB

used, the butter and or vegetable based shortenings are newer things. My mother never used anything but lard, even when they had a cow and made butter. Butter was for putting on bread, lard was for baking! Rarely butter found its way into a special occasion baking, but lard or even bacon grease (complete with the little black bits from fried bacon) was the go to shortening. Never had a pie that wasn't made from either the lard or the grease and the grease makes very nice crusts. If you object to the bits in it, then simply put into a pot and add a bit of water,and heat, watching to make sure it doesn't boil over or spit, when melted up stir into the water, and let set overnight in a cool place the cleaned grease will congeal on the top of the water,and the bits will fall to the bottom of the pot.

She also never added sugar to the crust, and even eschewed tea biscuits with extra sugar, she made her strawberry shortcakes with biscuits the regular old recipe no sugar, and they were always gobbled down!

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

Yes, they have a great magazine (I'm a subscriber to both it and their website), but Cook's Illustrated (CI) is a cookbook machine. Once you subscribe to the magazine, you get inundated with their cookbook offers. So yes, they do cookbooks! The CI cookbooks are usually theme books -- fish, meat, desserts, but very specific, and way too expensive.

America's Test Kitchen (ATK) is the TV arm of CI. They have a cooking show that airs on public TV. They usually use that ATK brand for their "complete" cookbooks, so look for the ATK Family Baking Cookbook.

With either name, their main mission is to test a recipe until they get what they think is the perfect recipe. They modify measures and ingredients and experiment with all aspects of a recipe, baking or cooking the dish many, many times until they get the result they were seeking. So their recipes are always very, very good. But that's just my opinion, I guess. 

I don't like how money-grubbing they are, in terms of their solicitations for their books and other assorted goods, but their recipes are good.

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello, I deleted my first comment with the 'off-topic' recipe...
I should have mentioned Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe for "The Best All-American Apple Pie" in her book, The Pie and Pastry Bible, in my original comment :^)
Rose has a really nice way of preparing the apple slices by reducing and concentrating the juices of the apples -
it results in such a nice apple flavor. Lots of really good fruit pie information in her book.
Hope you find the apple pie you're looking for, Ross!
:^) from breadsong

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

No need to delete anything. Your post, like all others here, was made in a spirit of contribution, and that's fabbo - and appreciated! It just happens that I have a fix on a traditional style of pie, and was glad of fminparis's comment spotlighting the specifics of my request. I probably should have made it clearer in the first place. So thank you again, all!

And any further 'classic' trad recipes very welcome.

 Oh, and by the way, do you guys (ie: American apple pie fiends) have your pie with cream and icecream, or am I just an antipodean barbarian?

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

You may be a barbarian, but that's another issue.  :-p

I grew up in Texas, and my family moved here from Mississippi and Alabama after the Civil War, so Southern roots are dominant. Apple pie may be served and eaten plain, or with whipped cream, or with vanilla ice cream, or rewarmed with a slice of cheese melted over it. Only a heathen or a Damned Yankee would do otherwise. :D

cheers,

gary

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

...what about whipped cream AND vanilla icecream (together): acceptable to you Southern folk, or heathen excess (the Damned Yankee charge is never gonna stick to me!)?

BTW, I reeled back aghast at the idea of cheese melted over apple pie, but on seeking to share the horror with my English-born partner, she set me back on my bum with the comment that that combo is common in England. A traditional desert in Yorkshire, in fact. She even added that she thinks melting cheese over apple pie originated in England...as did apple pies themselves! So it seems you guys didn't only wrest America off the Poms - you also ripped off their apple pies! Don't shoot me - I'm only the messenger.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

There were no apples growing in North America until the colonists from Europe and the UK arrived.  But don't worry, we traded back tomatoes and maize for the stolen pie technology.  *grin* 

My father always had grated cheddar cheese on his apple pie.  I thought it was wierd when I was a child, but I eat lots of wierder things now.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I was always asked, "ice cream or whipped cream".

I have no doubt that apple pie, with or without cheese, was adopted from the English, Scottish and Welsh that settled in Southern Appalachia. The British connection was so strong and lasting that Francis James Child researched many, and some say most, of the 305 folk songs in his anthology The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) in Appalachia because the traditional folk music lived on there while having mostly died out in Britain.

Putting on my Southern cooking snobbery cap, having both would be baroque, even gauche; certainly over-done. :-) This is coming from someone who likes both mayonnaise and mustard on my sandwich. :shrug:

cheers,

gary

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I'll refrain from judging you on your mayonnaise + mustard if you do the same with me re my cream and icecream excesses. Deal?

PS: I submit that cream and icecream are naturally more compatible than mayonnaise and mustard. :-()

Cheers!
Ross

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

…  mumble, mumble.

cheers,

gary

G-man's picture
G-man

Is something wrong with mayo + mustard? Up here in the PNW I have to ask for a sandwich to be made a different way (if I wanted it made a different way, for whatever reason).

How about mayo on hamburgers? Mixing ketchup and tartar sauce?

I have nothing useful to contribute to the apple pie discussion. I'll stick with my dutch apple pie with ice cream and whipped cream.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

...I note you said "with icecream AND whipped cream". Now thaas ma boy.

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

[deleted]

hanseata's picture
hanseata

This recipe was published in the Cook's Illustrated magazine '97 - I don't see why it can't be posted here. As you see, this particular recipe doesn't have the vodka pie crust, but I post that, too.

I can't say it often enough - Cook's Illustrated is a fantastic resource, their recipes are almost always great. Even their German Lebkuchen recipe was better than any I tried in Germany!

I'm  testing new recipes for them, now and then, so I know everything is tested abundantly. And, by the way, their test kitchen is near Boston - King Arthur are the guys in Vermont.

Happy baking,

Karin

 

CLASSIC APPLE PIE

Serves 8

If you are making this pie during the fall apple season, when many local varieties may be available, follow the recipe below using Macoun, Royal Gala, Empire, Winesap, Rhode Island Greening or Cortland apples. These are well-balanced apples, unlike Granny Smith, and work well on their own without thickeners or the addition of McIntosh. Placing the pie on a baking sheet in the oven inhibits cooking, so cover the bottom of the oven with a sheet of aluminum foil to catch a dripping juices. The pie is best eaten when cooled almost to room temperature, or even the next day. See the last procedural step for do-ahead instructions.

Ingredients
  • Pie Dough
  • 2 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 12tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 8tablespoons vegetable shortening (chilled)
  • 6 - 8tablespoons ice water
  • Apple Filling
  • 2pounds Granny Smith apples (4 medium)
  • 2pounds McIntosh apples (4 medium)
  • 3/4cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon lemon zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/4teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg white , beaten lightly
  • 1tablespoon granulated sugar , for topping
Instructions
  1. 1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor workbowl fitted with the steel blade. Add butter and pulse to mix in five 1-second bursts. Add shortening and continue pulsing until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, four or five more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl. (To do this by hand, freeze the butter and shortening, grate it into the flour using the large holes of a box grater, and rub the flour-coated pieces between your fingers for a minute until the flour turns pale yellow and coarse.)

  2. 2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if dough will not hold together. Squeeze dough gently until cohesive and divide into two equal balls. Flatten each into a 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap separately in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

  3. 3. Remove dough from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

  4. 4. Roll one dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of 9-inch Pyrex regular or deep dish pie pan. Unfold dough.

  5. 5. Gently press dough into sides of pan leaving portion that overhangs lip of pie plate in place. Refrigerate while preparing fruit.

  6. 6. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/2-to-3/4-inch slices and toss with 3/4 cup sugar, lemon juice and zest, allspice and cinnamon. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center. Roll out other dough round and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2 inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits at right angles on dough top. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, (omit if freezing unbaked pie, see below).

  7. 7. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to almost room temperature, at least 4 hours.

  8. 8. Do-Ahead: Freeze the unbaked pie for two to three hours, then cover it with a double layer of plastic wrap, and return it to the freezer for no more than two weeks. To bake, remove the pie from the freezer, brush it with the egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and place directly into a preheated 425 degree oven. After baking it for the usual fifty-five minutes, reduce the oven to 325 degrees, cover the pie with foil so as not to overcook the crust, and bake for an additional twenty to twenty-five minutes.

FOOL-PROOF SINGLE CRUST PIE

For one 9-inch Single-Crust Pie

Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (up to 1/4 cup).

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 6tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 2 pieces
  • 2tablespoons vodka , cold
  • 2tablespoons cold water
Instructions
  1. 1. Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

  2. 2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

  3. 3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

  4. 4. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

  5. 5. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Yes, Karin, America's Test Kitchen is located in Brookline, MA. The founder, Christopher Kimball is from Vermont and frequently writes about his life there. This "folksiness" is a big part of his marketing success.

I use them often for standards and for classic American dishes. It never occurred to me to look at them for a bread recipe or formula. Maybe I should?

hanseata's picture
hanseata

As far as I remember, they had an "Almost No Knead Bread" and a "Sprouted Grain Bread". I haven't tried either, yet, though I copied them.

Karin

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks so much. Must have taken you quite a while to type out all those directions. Most generous. I do everything by hand, so really glad to have the alternative directions to using an electric processor.

Cheers!
Ross

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I baked a few apple pies before. I prefer precooking the apples first because it makes baking so much easier and prevents that giant hollow space underneath the pie crust. I cook the apple slices with sugar and spices in a pan on a stovetop. The apple gets slightly tender and the juices are released. I then add a slurry of cornstarch to thicken it. Allow the apple filling to cool before filling the pie.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

if you use cornstarch as a cooked thickener, you'll find that it breaks down on reheating. You're much better off using tapioca starch or breadcrumbs.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I'll use tapioca starch next time! Thanks.

Amori's picture
Amori

done similar thing for generations =-) We actually melt unsalted butter then sautee the apples for a few minutes in a large shallow pan [another use for paella pan]  add sugars and spices then allow to cool completely while rolling/freezing pie pans. This not only prevents the 'hollow' space,  it  thickens the filling naturally [evaporation/pectin] plus, you can adjust seasonings beforehand. 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks for the tip, Amori.

Cheers!
Ross

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Just one question, please: when you precook the sliced apples, do you find they then stay intact during the baking, or do they break down and lose their shape?

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I slice the apples a little more than 1/4" thick or a bit less than 1 cm thick. I don't overcook them. The baking time isn't so much. So the apples don't break down to mush. 

Also, don't use mealy textured apples. I think those tend to break down to mush.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

hey Ross, why not just move here for 6 months and absorb all the recipes firsthand?

anyway, when I make my pies, I keep them nice and simple.

A single crust:

Pastry or AP flour (9%-10.5% protein) 170g/100%
Vegetable shortening 100g/60%
Salt 2g/1.3%
Ice water 40g/24%

Make sure everything is well refrigerated and COLD!

Combine the dry ingredients and add the shortening.  Using a couple of table knives or a pastry blender, which looks like the offspring of a marriage between a whish and a knuckleduster, break the shortening into small pieces, the size of a dried pea. I don't use a machine for my pie crusts because they move too fast and tend to (a) break the shortening too fine and (b) stimulate gluten formation, which I don't want in my crusts.

When the shortening is blended, sprinkle the water all over the dough while turning it with a fork. The idea here is to moisten the flour just enough for it to adhere, but without creating gluten.

Turn the mixture onto a floured work surface (it will be very crumbly) and form it by hand into a disc about 1"/3 cm thick.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out, starting at the midpoint then rolling away, taking a quarter turn, and repeating the process.  The dough should be about 1/4"/6mm thick when you're done.

Lightly roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it to your pie tin.

Repeat for the top crust.

APPLE FILLING

3-4 lb/1.5-2kg of cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered
8oz/225g sugar
0.5oz/15ml lemon juice
0.25oz/7g each of cinnamon, cloves and allspice
0.25oz/7g table salt

NOTE: you can also add raisins, currants and/or chopped walnuts to the filling for a little extra fillip of taste and texture.

Combine the filling ingredients and allow to macerate for 30-60min.

ASSEMBLING THE PIE

Dock the bottom crust thoroughly.  At this point, you may or may not parbake (I do) at 350°F/175°C for 10-12 min to set the crust. If you do, line the crust with parchment and fill it with either rice or beans to prevent unwanted bubbling.

Remove the rice/beans, stir 4-5oz/115-140g of breadcrumbs into the apple mixture and fill the crust.  Put on the top crust, crimp the edges, use a knife to make several steam vents in the top crust, and bake at 350°F/175°C for 45-50 min until crust is golden brown.

Have fun!

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks a lot for your recipe and the clear directions.

Could you clarify something for me, please? There's no sugar in your dough. Is that intended, or have you accidentally left it out? Just wondering, because apple pies usually have sweet crusts, I think?

Yeah, I'd love to move to your country for 6 months, but if I were to spend that sort of time in every country between here and the States with a cuisine I'm interested in, I'd never get there or get back home! Long live multiculturalism and the sharing of cuisines - and cultural cross-fertilisation in general.

Cheers!
Ross

 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

hi Ross,

I don't use sugar in my crust, just a little salt. Sugar in the crust, although it contributes to browning, will also make a less flaky crust (sugar acts like a liquid), and will also subtract from the sweetness of whatever filling you're using. IMO, a crust is simply a nice takeway container that's also edible: the main event is what's inside.

Just occurred to me that it's winter in Oz, so prime apple season.  And btw, I LOVE a good aged cheddar or veined cheese with apple pie. You really ought to try it at least once before you're reunited with your ancestors.

Stan

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

We get different varieties from those mentioned in this thread, but I like the idea someone suggested of using a combination (Granny Smiths are the usual baking apple here).

And btw, I LOVE a good aged cheddar or veined cheese with apple pie. You really ought to try it at least once before you're reunited with your ancestors.

Now that you put it like that, have tacked cheese with apple pie on to my bucket list, struck through with highlighter. Although, now that you've given me yet another context in which to include cheese, I fear that meeting with my ancestors has been brought forward a little.

Which reminds me, I must get that King Island blue brie out of the fridge before lunch. We're sampling the first of our current batch of home-preserved olives today, some from our small but bounteous olive tree in a pot, others scrumped from branches overhanging fences around the neighbourhood. They'd go to waste otherwise, and there's something special about the spoils of urban farm guerilla missions. Call me a romantic and I'll still answer...just.

Cheers! Ross

jbaudo's picture
jbaudo

Alton Brown has an episode where he makes a traditional mile high apple pie.  You can watch it on you tube.  His method is very good - he macerates the apples but strains the juice and cooks it down to a thick syrup to add to the pie.  I don't agree with the spices he recommends (grains of paradise) and use cinnamon and nutmeg instead.  He also uses acohol in the crust - he calls for applejack instead of vodka but seems to me either will work fine.  I also don't use a pie bird as he recommends because I like to make the top of the pie fancy with cookie cutters or slits.  I  don't follow his advice to cook my pie on the bottom of the oven because I like to use a glass pie plate - I find they work the best (cooks illustrated agrees with me here:) Don't put glass on the bottom - it might explode!  I keep everything basically the same and the pies come out beautiful and tall and yummy.  I find that this is the good thing about Alton Brown's recipes - you can change them up as much as you need to according to your taste as long as you understand the science behind the recipe.

Here are the links to the video (part 1 and 2):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4-jqBJ-yQk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhRcFvO0wWY

 

Here is his recipe:

SUPER APPLE PIE

For the filling:
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds apples, mixture of Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn and Golden Delicious, about 6 large apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons apple jelly
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise
Directions

For the crust:

Place the butter, shortening and applejack into the refrigerator for 1 hour.

 

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar by pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add the butter and pulse 5 to 6 times until the texture looks mealy.

Add the shortening and pulse another 3 to 4 times until incorporated.

Remove the lid of the food processor and sprinkle in 5 tablespoons of the applejack. Replace the lid and pulse 5 times. Add more applejack as needed, and pulse

again until the mixture holds together when squeezed. Weigh the dough and divide in half. Shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least

1 hour and up to overnight.

For the filling:

Peel and core the apples. Slice into 1/2-inch thick wedges. Toss all of the apples with 1/4 cup of the sugar, place in a colander set over a large bowl and

allow to drain for 1 1/2 hours.

 

Transfer the drained liquid to a small saucepan, place over medium heat and reduce to 2 tablespoons. Set aside to cool. Toss the apples with the remaining

sugar, tapioca flour, jelly, cider, lime juice, salt and grains of paradise.

 

For assembling and baking the pie:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator. Place the dough onto a lightly floured piece of waxed paper. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and roll out into a 12-inch

circle. Place into a 9 1/2 to 10-inch tart pan that is 2-inches deep. Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan, crimping and trimming the edges as necessary. Set a pie bird in the

center of the bottom of the pan.

Place the apples into the unbaked pie shell in concentric circles starting around the edges, working towards the center and forming a slight mound in the center of the pie. Pour over

any liquid that remains in the bowl. Roll out the second pie dough as the first. Place this dough over the apples, pressing the pie bird through the top crust. Press together the edges

of the dough around the rim of the pie. Brush the top crust with the reduced juice everywhere except around the edge of pie. Trim any excess dough. Place the pie on a half sheet pan

lined with parchment paper and bake on the floor** of the oven for 30 minutes. Transfer to the lower rack of the oven and continue to bake another 20 minutes or until the apples are

cooked through but not mushy. Remove to a rack and cool a minimum of 4 hours or until almost room temperature.

 

**If you're using an electric oven with coils on the bottom of the oven, place the pie on the sheet pan on the lowest rack over the coils, NOT directly on top of them.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks a lot for the youtube links and recipe. I'm really grateful for the time and effort you and others have put into your responses. Most generous.

Best of baking!
Ross

copyu's picture
copyu

I'm exhausted! Reading all of those fantastic recipes has taken a lot out of me. This is from a born Yank, who could buy a slice of great American apple pie almost anywhere for 15 cents as a kid. I lived in Oz for over 30 years and LOVE granny-smith apples...I wish I could get some here!

I think that the secret of classic "American Apple Pie" ('just like Mom / Grandma used to make'...) is, simply, how you treat the fruit. Pastry is up to you...any good Oz cook-book will have a basic short-crust with sweet/savoury variations...it's up to you whether you add sugar...I usually don't. If there's no sugar in the pastry, I sprinkle a bit of caster sugar on the top crust before baking the pie. The top can be the same short-crust OR a flaky pastry...again, up to you! Both qualify as 'real American' according to several history books I've read (that contain any half-decent recipes...) Here's an idea from a recipe I found that was called "Simple" or "Basic" apple pie: [Might be 18th-19th century...1780-1830] It's been 're-worded' by me for the 21st century, of course. Otherwise, no changes.

Peel and core your apples and cut them in half. Slice them to 5-6mm (quarter inch thick at the wide end) into a bowl. Mix together some sugar (any kind, any colour, from 1/3 to 2/3 cup, to your taste) with a few tablespoons of flour, 1/2 a teaspoon of ground nutmeg and 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Add this mixture to the apples and toss them together by hand. Place the fruit into your pie shell and dot the fruit with 2 tablespoons of butter. If you think you've gone too far with the sugar, or your apples aren't 'tart' enough, you can drizzle a few teaspoons of lemon or lime juce over the fruit, once it's in the pie shell. Cover the pie and bake it.

I've made this as dessert for Brits, Aussies and Yanks and it's always brought the house down. (And I foolishly thought my roast dinners would get the applause...DOH!)

Good luck in sorting out all of these fantastic ideas/recipes...I liked the 'Vodka' post a lot!

Best, copyu

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I think you're right about simple usually being best.

As you say, there are so many terrific sounding recipes in this thread. It's going to take some time to decide where to start! Adding your apple pie to the list doesn't make this decision any easier! Clearly a winner - printed out and received with gratitude. Thanks a lot. Sorta liberating, too, to learn that there is no definitive classic American apple pie pastry.

I'd like to take the opportunity to say a general thank you to everyone for sharing your recipes and tips. Fantastic response. This thread will become my reference point for many apple pies to come.

Best of baking all!
Ross

PS: Any apple pie porn out there?

 

Amori's picture
Amori

.jpg" />

belfiore's picture
belfiore

use this sauce served warm...yum

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter (the real thing)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

grated fresh nutmeg

Melt butter, sugar & cream over low heat stiring continuously until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat, add vanilla, grate +/- pinch of fresh nutmeg. Stir to blend & serve warm with sliced apple pie.

Toni

Maya1's picture
Maya1

I'm known to make apple pie soup but always willing to try new recipes! Are there any pictures from any of these recipes posted? How about a slice Amori...please? 

TIA!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

[a la Larry David] Prett-ty prett-ty prett-ty evil.

I want some!

Cheers
Ross

Maeve's picture
Maeve

My pie isn't traditional, it's more like Alton Brown's.  The last time I made it the apples were still crunchy, so I'm going to try some of the pre-cooking methods other people posted.  I'm still working on a good whole wheat pie crust.  I think the real reason people like my apple pie is the glaze.  I smear softened, unsalted butter over the top, then smear a mixture of sugar, vanilla and sweet red wine over the butter.  It makes a really tasty glaze.

Maya1's picture
Maya1

be traditional but cooking the fruit worked for me a few days ago. Turns out I was using way too much sugar and overbaking my pies. By the time the filling was cooling, I knew what the pies would taste like, good thing! A poster in this thread suggested me to add arrowroot slur when I sent this picture [1/2ts arrowroot+1/2 ts cold water], those juices turned into a caramel consistency in seconds. 

Great thread everyone!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I had a sniff at my monitor, but all in vain. Visual stimulation + imagination will have to suffice. Wanted urgently: matter transfer software.

Cheers
Ross