Cassie’s Favorite Apple Pie
The first year of our CSA we had an apple-crazy apprentice named Cassie Tharinger. Not only was she devoted to growing heirloom apples and making cider, she was also an accomplished cook who introduced us to many delicious apple recipes. She claimed this was her favorite apple pie because the filling is light on spices which lets you taste the apples, not just the “apple pie spice.” The crust is a classic French pâte brisée.
1/2 pound (1 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice water (plus more as needed)
1 Tbs sugar, if you like a slightly sweetened crust
1 egg white and a sprinkle of sugar (for top of crust)
4 lbs apples, cored and cut into 1/2 – 3/4” slices
3/4 – 1 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice (use less lemon if the apples are very tart)
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Combine the dry crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers. Work the butter in until the texture is of coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining. Work quickly to make sure you do not warm the butter more than necessary. Sprinkle the mixture with just enough ice water so that the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount together; if it is still crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. (If you prefer to use a food processor, in the bowl of the food processor combine the flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter, and pulse about 10 seconds until the mixture reaches the crumb consistency. With the machine running, add ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream. Do not process more than 30 seconds.)
Turn the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape each dough ball into a flattened disk. Wrap in the plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. When you are ready to assemble the pie, roll out one disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle, lay it in a pie dish, and refrigerate while making the filling.
Heat oven to 425.˚
In a large bowl toss the apple slices with the sugar and spices. Turn the apples into the chilled pie shell mounding them in the center.
Roll out the 2nd disk of dough, and lay it over the filling. Fold the edges of the dough under themselves onto the lip of pie plate, and pinch to crimp together. Cut 4 slits in the top of the pie. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the pie, and brush the top of crust with beaten egg white and sprinkle on some sugar.
Lower the heat to 375˚, return the pie to the oven, and bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is a deep, golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool (or windowsill—but beware thieving cartoon characters.) Delicious as soon as it’s cool enough to eat, after a few hours at room temperature or cold tomorrow for breakfast!