Call me crazy, but I’ll take a slice of pie over cake any day of the week. Perhaps its my Pennsylvania Dutch heritage but I take my pie-making very seriously. I stick to my Grammy Sherlock’s tried and true pie crust recipe. It’s hands down the most tasty, flaky, and foolproof recipe I’ve ever used. And as long as you keep in mind the 3:1 ratio of flour to shortening, you can easily multiply this recipe as many times as you like. So I figured I’d walk you through my take on the classic apple pie, complete with Grammy’s perfect crust.
For a double crust pie:
3 cups AP flour
1 cup crisco shortening
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
3/4 cup ice cold water
1 TBSP cider vinegar
Start by measuring out your flour and stirring in the salt and sugar in a metal bowl (this will help with fast chilling later). Add in the cubed crisco shortening (I highly recommend the one in the bar rather than the tub for easy measuring and cutting). Using your hands, break down the crisco into the flour until the crumbs reach pea-sized proportion. Seriously, don’t waste your time with a pastry cutter or a fork. Just use your hands. And don’t worry, it’s impossible for all the crumbs to be the same size, you just don’t want any crumbs larger than this:
Congrats, you reached the end of step 1! Stick that puppy in the fridge to chill for at least 30 min. My grandmother often keeps dough in this state ready to go in the fridge, especially around the holidays. I haven’t tested it for longer than 2 days myself. Just make sure the container is airtight so your crust doesn’t pick up the smells of your leftovers. Not very yum. ONWARD!
In a measuring cup, mix together the cold water and vinegar. (Any pale colored, fruity vinegar will suffice, such as white balsamic or even rice wine vinegar.) If you’re a slow mixer, drop an ice cube into the water to keep it extra chilled. I started skipping this step cause the ice cube always ended up in the mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the liquid, mixing the dough with a fork. As larger clumps form, push them off to the side of the bowl so that you’re always moistening the crumbs. Once you’ve added about 90% of the water, start forming the ball of dough by hand. You may not need all the water for the dough to come together, but I almost always do. Halve the dough, rolling each half into a ball, and stick it back in the fridge.
Step 2 done! Now while that chills for atleast 15 min, we make our pie filling!
Classic Apple Pie Filling:
4 cups peeled, cored, and sliced fuji or braeburn apples (any mild, semi-sweet apple)
2 cups peeled, cored, and sliced granny smith apples
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP flour
pinch of salt
One thing I really can’t stand is a watery apple pie. Giant chunks of apples also rate low on my apple pie list. So to combat this, I accidentally stumbled upon a technique I use every time I make an apple pie. I very thinly slice the apples (typically with the slicer blade in my food processor to speed things up), then let them macerate in sugar and a tiny bit of lemon juice for about 20 min.
You’ll be amazed how much water is pulled out of the apples. Right before filling the pie, I drain off all but 1/8 cup of liquid and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and salt.
Now roll out the first chilled crust and fill with the apple mixture. I tap down the apples so they’re layered close together, cause I like a dense filling. This also prevents the apples from sinking down while the pie is baking, creating that weird pocket between the upper crust and the filling. What can I say, I’m picky about my pies.
Top with the 2nd rolled out crust. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m all about a thick-edged crust. To close, I like to trim the crusts till they’re about 3/4 inch off the edge of the pan. Then I roll the bottom one up over the top crust, twisting and pinching as I go to create a tight seal.
Then I finish it with the classic wavy edge.
Right before the pie hits the 375° oven, be sure to cut in a few steam holes in the top. I also like to brush my pie with milk (an eggwash works as well) and then sprinkle with a large-crystal sugar.
A little over an hour later your pies will be ready. You won’t necessarily see the bubbles since you pulled so much liquid out, so I often check the temp through the steam holes and make sure the filling reached about 175°.
And now the hardest part… waiting for them to cool.