I love a lot of things about fall – the colors, the cooler weather – but really, it’s all about the food. And there are few things lovelier than a slice of freshly baked apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I’m sure “American as apple pie” is one of those idioms that’s completely historically inaccurate, but I’ve got to say, the smell of baking apples stirs up some deep nostalgia in me. I’m always reminded of baking with my mom in our tiny basement apartment in San Francisco. Foggy days and hearty meals.
Eight year-old me thought I was SO CLEVER for using half brown sugar and half white, but now most of the recipes you find online call for exactly that. I’ve also learned that the filling itself is actually the easy part – just a touch of this, and a hint of that. The real deal breaker is your crust. If the crust sucks, you may as well skip the pie.
Thankfully I’ve found this incredible pie crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen – I’ve tried several others and none even come close to how buttery and flaky it is. I make one major modification, and you’ve heard me recommend it before: freeze your butter, then grate it with a cheese grater.
Let’s get to baking!
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks of butter
- Refrigerated water
- 6 large, tart apples
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice OR ⅛ teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons corn starch
- If you're making the pie crust from scratch, start early. Place two sticks of butter into the freezer at least two hours ahead of time.
- Whisk together 2½ cups flour, Tablespoon sugar, and teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.
- Grate two sticks of butter from the freezer.
- Using a pastry cutter, work butter into the flour mixture until the grated butter pieces are well-coated with flour. Do not overwork.
- Drizzle ½ cup of the refrigerated water into the flour mixture and gather the dough together.
- Work water another Tablespoon at a time into the mixture (you'll probably end up adding about ¼ cup total) until the dough just barely sticks together in one solid lump.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for at least two hours.
- Remove dough from fridge, roll out both halves into large circles.
- Place one half of the dough into a pie pan and gently press into place.
- Preheat oven to 425.
- For the filling, peel, core, and slice the apples and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Stir white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, butter and cornstarch together until well combined.
- Carefully pour filly evenly into the pie pan.
- Take the remaining half of the pie crust and place carefully over the pie filling.
- Tuck any excess dough under the bottom crust and crimp edges with a fork or your fingers.
- Make a few slits in the top of the dough to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.
- (If the edges start to darken too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil).
- Allow to cool for about two hours, then serve.
She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.
She is also allergic to felines.