If you are making this pie during the fall apple season, when many local varieties may be available, follow the recipe below using Macoun, Royal Gala, Empire, Winesap, Rhode Island Greening or Cortland apples. These are well-balanced apples, unlike Granny Smith, and work well on their own without thickeners or the addition of McIntosh. Placing the pie on a baking sheet in the oven inhibits cooking, so cover the bottom of the oven with a sheet of aluminum foil to catch a dripping juices. The pie is best eaten when cooled almost to room temperature, or even the next day.
- For the Pie Dough:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
- 6 to 8 tablespoons water (iced)
- For the Apple Filling:
- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples (4 medium)
- 2 pounds McIntosh apples (4 medium)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 egg white, beaten lightly
Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor workbowl fitted with the steel blade. Add the butter and pulse to mix in five 1-second bursts. Add the shortening and continue pulsing until the flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, 4 or 5 more 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl. (To do this by hand, freeze the butter and shortening, grate it into the flour using the large holes of a box grater and rub the flour-coated pieces between your fingers for a minute until the flour turns pale yellow and coarse.)
Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water over the mixture. Press the mixture together with the broad side of a rubber spatula, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if the dough will not hold together. Squeeze the dough gently until cohesive and divide into 2 equal balls. Flatten each into a 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap separately in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to
2 days, before rolling.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until the dough is cool but malleable. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Roll 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Fold the dough in quarters, then place the dough point in the center of 9-inch Pyrex regular or deep-dish pie pan. Unfold the dough.
Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan leaving the portion that overhangs the lip of the pie plate in place. Refrigerate while preparing the fruit.
Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices and toss with 2/4 cup of the sugar, the lemon juice and zest, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Turn the fruit mixture, including the juices, into the chilled pie shell and mound slightly in the center. Roll out the other dough round and place over the filling. Trim the top and bottom edges to 1/2 inch beyond the pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that the folded edge is flush with the pan lip. Flute the edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut 4 slits at right angles on the dough top. Brush the egg white onto top of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the remaining
1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F; continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is a deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer the pie to a wire rack; cool to almost room temperature, at least 4 hours.
Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.
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