September. At long last. Andrew started preschool last week, which was – hard. He did great though, and is really enjoying being in a classroom environment. His little brother and I miss him in those morning hours, but we’ve been enjoying having some time as just the two of us too. We went apple picking this week, to the local orchard up the street, Vessey’s. They’ve had a rough year – in January they lost the matriarch of the family, Mrs. Nancy. The woman could talk your ear off about apples, or anything else for that matter for hours, and had peony bushes the size of small homes. She was a gem, and is truly missed by many folks here in our community. Then, to make matters worse – it seemed like every crop took a nosedive. Flooding got to strawberries and then the dryness and intense heat in July fried the peaches. This week they mentioned that the pumpkins aren’t looking too hot either, so keep your fingers crossed!
But, I’m happy to report that the apples looked great. It was still a little early for picking, so I’ll probably go back in a couple of weeks to get a couple of bushels to make applesauce with. We settled for a peck, and promptly went home and make this pie. I’ve made it several times now, and it always comes out great. Which, speaks volumes considering pies have never been my strong suit. So many apple pies are so cloyingly sweet and cinnamon-ey, and I love this recipe because it isn’t. Hints of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg – and just enough sugar to make it sweet. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? What a perfect way to welcome fall!
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces nd chilled
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
For the pie:
2 pounds (4 -5) McIntosh apples
1 1/2 pounds (3-4) Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough , bottom crust fit into pie plate
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter the shortening over the top and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and, using short pulses, process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer to a bowl.
Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Divide dough in half, and flatten into two 4-inch disks, and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat rimmed baking sheet and oven to 500°F.
Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll dough on lightly floured work surface or between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk. Transfer dough to pie plate by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling over 9 -inch pie plate. Working around circumference of pie plate, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs lip of plate in place. Refrigerate dough-lined pie plate.
Peel, core and cut apples into 1/4-inch slices and toss with lemon juice and zest. In a medium bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss dry ingredients with apples. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center.
Roll out second piece of dough to 12-inch disk 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 on dough top. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Place pie on baking sheet and lower oven temperature to 425°F. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375°F; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 4 hours before serving.
Source: The New Best Recipe by America’s Test Kitchen