Apple pie season is finally here! While I'm working on my pie-baking skills, one of my self-imposed requirements is that the filling be in-season. Somehow I missed August and September (perhaps the cookie baking captured my attention), but I intend to get back on track. The other day I found this handy-dandy Pie Chart from Modern Farmer which should help.
This crust was so light and flakey that it practically fell into pieces just by looking at it. The texture was a great complement to the soft apple filling -- since this filling is pre-cooked, it doesn't retain any crispy apple bite.
I'm exploring different crust-making techniques, and for this pie I followed the instructions (not the recipe) from The One Pie Dough To Rule Them All.
Now that I'm back to soft white wheat for crusts, and the shortening has proven to help with the flakey texture, I might swap out some of the shortening for butter next time to see how that combo goes.
Crust adapted from Whole Wheat Shortening Pie Crust; Filling adapted from Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen
- 96 grams shortening (I use Spectrum All Vegetable Shortening), in well-chilled chunks
- 180 grams freshly-milled soft white wheat flour, chilled in freezer
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 tablespoons ice water
- 450 grams peeled and sliced apples (I used half Gala and half Golden Delicious, but it would have been better with all Golden Delicious because the Galas were already sweet and there's added sugar in this recipe)
- 15 grams +1/4 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 45 grams + 50 grams granulated white sugar, divided
- 30 grams cold water
- 15 grams cornstarch
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- cream for brushing top
- demerara or other coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
Since the filling needs to cool completely before adding to crust, it's a good idea to cook it first and refrigerate while working on the crust.
- For filling: saute the apples in the 15 grams of butter for a few minutes, just until the apples start to soften. Add the 45 grams of sugar and cook together for a few more minutes. Watch that the apples don't get mushy.
- In a small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch. Stir it into the hot apples and cook, stirring gently until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, 1/4 tablespoon butter, and 50 grams sugar. Once combined, transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
- For crust: dump flour onto clean bench and place chunks of shortening on top. Using the heel of your hand and a bench scraper, smear the shortening into the flour. Work quickly to avoid over-softening the shortening. Once it's irregularly chunky, make a well and add 3 tablespoons of the ice water. Mix quickly with fingertips, and add a bit more water if needed. Form into a rough disk shape, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove dough and place on well-floured bench. Dust the top of the dough and roll out into a rectangle. Dust off the dough with a pastry brush and fold in thirds like a letter, dusting off each surface. Turn the dough 90° and perform rolling again. Continue this process until it's been rolled out 3-4 times. After final roll, split into 2 equal pieces and pat corners down to make a disk shape. Cover each disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 425° with rack on bottom (I keep a baking stone on the bottom rack in my oven, which is where I baked my pie).
- Roll out one disk, watching that it doesn't stick to the bench or pin, about 2 inches larger than the diameter of the pie dish. Gently place dough in dish, making sure it doesn't stretch or it may split while baking.
- Roll out other disk into a roundish-rectangle, large enough to get 6 strips of dough to form the lattice.
- Fill the crust with the cooled filling, and top with lattice pieces. Brush top with cream and dust with coarse sugar.
- Place pie on a foil-lined baking sheet and into the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Cool for a few hours before slicing.