They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away,
So how about twelve apples baked in a delicate, flaky pastry
With a little butter and cinnamon then;
That should keep us nice and healthy, with a Rubenesque glow
All the way to spring.
There are rules when it comes to apple pie. We are supposed to use apples that are tart and firm, and keep their shape. The usual pie apples are Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp to name a few; but rules, my friends, are meant to be broken.
I like the apples in my pie to be a little sweeter with just the right amount of soft texture – not mushy – just soft, like these Gala apples from Bobwhite Acres in Coopersburg. They are not only delicious to eat raw, they are ideal for my pie.
Bobwhite Acres is a fun and budget friendly place to spend an afternoon with the little ones, where there are a variety of apples available at the stand or pick-your-own.
There are tractor pulled wagon rides to the pumpkin patch with the option of grab-and-go pumpkins in case someone in your group is cranky and tired and in need of a nap on the couch while watching college football.
If you use your gourd, you can pick up a few eco-friendly Halloween decorations.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a gallon of their fresh pressed apple cider. It is refreshing and delicious.
Now back to the pie. This recipe borrows a few things from apple turnovers, namely the super flaky crust. Use your favorite flaky double pie crust or check out mine: Super Flake Pie Crust.
And just like apple turnovers, the apples get a head start on top of the stove with a little cinnamon, sugar, and butter. We are not cooking the apples, just allowing them to release some of their juices. This is a preventive measure brought to you by the People Against Runny Pie Filling.
In just 10 minutes, the apples begin to soften slightly, but remain mostly firm. Look how much juice was released by the apples and sugar. We don’t need all of it for our pie.
I take 1/2 cup of the collected apple juice and whisk it with a full tablespoon of cornstarch. This gets stirred into the cooled apples and into the pie it goes.
The remaining juice can be saved for another use like a pan sauce or a smoothie, but my favorite thing to do is so simple. The apple juice already has the components of caramel sauce with sugar and butter. I put it in a shallow skillet and cook it for about 10 minutes over medium heat
Until it is thick enough to leave a trail in the pan,
And once it cools, you have a pretty amazing caramel sauce with a concentrated apple flavor.
I top off the apples with the other crust and flute the edges. This goes into the refrigerator while the oven preheats.
A cookie sheet placed in the lower third of the oven gets nice and hot while the oven preheats. This is known as bottom crust insurance because as soon as your raw pie hits the hot cookie sheet, the bottom crust begins to cook. It needs the extra heat so that it finishes baking at the same time the rest of the pie is done.
And now let us take a moment to admire my sparkling clean oven. It won’t last. Why is it that my mother-in-law can’t drop by for a visit on clean oven day?
I brush the pie with a mixture of egg and water and then sprinkle it with sugar.
About an hour later, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s super flake. This pie is so flaky, even the flakes have flakes.
The filling has just the right amount of moisture.
And one word of advice before we part ways: never bake a pie in your favorite, cherished pie pan because somewhere between a housewarming party or a neighborhood shindig, it will disappear, and you will never see it again.
Goodbye diet, it was nice while it lasted.
- 1 recipe flaky double pie crust
- 9-inch pie pan – not deep dish
- 4 lbs. baking apples (about 12 medium apples)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Peel, core, and chop apples, keeping peeled apples covered with a towel to prevent browning.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until apples are coated in sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and the apples have released their juices, about 10 minutes. Apples should still be somewhat firm. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In the meantime, roll out top and bottom crust of the pie dough. Place bottom crust in a pie pan. Place both crusts in the refrigerator.
- Strain apples and place in a large bowl. Place ½ cup of the cooled apple juice in a small bowl (reserve remaining apple juice for another use), and stir in cornstarch with a fork until no lumps remain. Pour over apples.
- Place apple mixture in pie pan, piling the apples a little higher in the middle. Cover with top crust. Trim edges and press to seal. You can flute the edges or leave as is.
- Place pie in the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Place a foil lined cookie sheet in the bottom third of the oven to warm as the oven comes to temperature.
- Whisk together an egg and water with a fork. Brush pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Using a knife, cut 3-4 slits in the center of the pie to let steam escape.
- Place pie on the hot cookie sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes or until apples are tender and the crust is medium brown. Cover the top of pie with foil if the crust gets too brown before the apples have cooked through.