I can't think of any food more American than apple pie. Would it surprise you if I told you apple pie most likely originated in medieval England? And the earliest recipes did not include sugar. The Dutch can be credited for the addition of flavors like cinnamon and lemon to apple pie and the Swedish version of apple pie has no crust. Instead, apple slices were placed in a baking dish and topped with lightly spiced dough. It stands to reason that apple pie - in its many different forms - was brought over with immigrants looking for a new life in America. The recipes slowly blended as the early settlers moved across the country, until sometime in the 18th century, apple pie became a common dessert in America. I think apple pie is a wonderful testament to the great American melting pot.
As with many classic American recipes, there are many recipes for apple pie. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, aren't I? I prefer to make an apple pie filling because I'm guaranteed success, if I do. I've tried the recipes that combine the apple slices, sugar, spices and butter right in the crust, but I've sometimes ended up with a filling that was too loose. You know the kind - it runs all over the plate and makes for a soggy bottom crust. I've included my filling recipe, if you'd like to give it a try. This filling recipe is also great for canning; I've given many jars of this filling in gift baskets for my friends and neighbors. I've also included one of the pastry crust recipes I like to use. This one is a 50/50 blend of butter and shortening that makes for a very flaky, slightly sweet crust.
The pie I made for this post has a very rustic-looking lattice crust with cut outs of apples decorating the top and edge. Mini cookie cutters work great for creating a decorative edge on the pie whenever I feel like doing something other than crimping the edge.
Classic Apple Pie
While the pie crust is chilling, make the filling.
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. apple pie spice (or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. allspice)
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
In a 2 1/2 - 3 quart saucepan, combine the apple slices, sugar, 1 tbsp. water, lemon juice and apple pie spice; stir gently to combine. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until apple slices are tender.
Combine the 2 tbsp. water and cornstarch in a small bowl; mix until smooth. Add to the apple mixture; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate in a covered container, if assembling the pie at a later time.
Assemble your pie
I like to take the pie crust out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before I roll out the dough.
Roll out one disc of dough into a circle about 1 inch wider than you pie pan. I used a 9-inch pie pan, so I rolled by dough out to about a 10-inch circle. Place the dough into the pie pan, making sure it's positioned evenly in the pan. You can use whatever method works best for you when rolling out your dough. I like to roll mine out between pieces of plastic wrap; it makes it really easy to move the dough into the pie pan and re-position it, if you necessary.
Spoon the pie filling into the bottom crust and set aside.
Roll out the second disc dough to form a top crust. You can do many things for a top crust, at this point. I chose to do a basic (and very rustic looking!) lattice for my pie today. I also used the scraps of pie dough to cut out little apple shapes with a mini cookie cutter to place over the lattice and around the edge of the dough instead of crimping the edges. Once the top crust is on the pie, trim the dough from around the edge and crimp to seal the top and bottom crusts. You can find some great ideas for finishing your pie crust here and different ways to crimp the edge here.
After laying out the lattice top, I mixed 1 egg with 1 tsp. of water in a small bowl and brushed the egg wash over the top (lattice) crust and all around the edges. This will help seal the crusts and "glue" the little apple cut outs to the top crust. Once all the cut outs were in position, I lightly brushed the top crust and edge again with the egg wash. Finally, I sprinkled turbinado (raw) sugar over the top crust and placed the pie pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Plain, granulated sugar is also fine, if you don't have turbinado sugar on hand.
Bake the pie in a 375°F oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool the pie on a rack until ready to serve.
One Year Ago: Easy Slow Cooker Pork Ribs
This post is linked with love to the following: