The scent of apple pie baking in the oven is like no other. It is my family’s favorite. Even if I were to bake a million and one fabulous cakes, and then ask them what they would like me to bake next, the answer would always be apple pie. I usually bake pies starting in the autumn through winter, but that’s not to say I’ve never baked them in the summer, because I have, lots of times. I’ve tried commercially baked apple pies, and they are good, but truly, nothing compares to homemade. Not only do you fill your house with that wonderful aroma and get everyone excited they can hardly wait for the pie to cool down, but you create wonderful memories for your kids, and they will always associate pie with home, as clichéd as that may sound, it is true. Blueberry pie and cherry pie are also favorites in my household, but apple pie will always be number one.
Furthermore, you don’t need anything fancy to bake a pie. You need only a few basic ingredients, which more than likely you already have in your pantry. So I’m including this step-by-step tutorial in case it’s helpful.
A mere six ingredients are all that’s needed for the apple pie filling.
I like to slice and dice the peeled apples as thinly as possible.
Add to the apples one cup dark brown sugar, two tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
After mixing, your apple pie filling will look like this. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator while you make your pie dough.
Here you have the ingredients for a basic pie crust that will yield two baked pie shells or one filled double-crust pie. Counting the water, all you need are five ingredients to bake a pie crust. For the shortening, there is a brand at Whole Foods called Spectrum that’s not partially hydrogenated and this is what I always use.
Now mix ¾ teaspoon salt with 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour. Cut ½ cup shortening and 2 tablespoons butter into the flour mixture. You can use either a food processor or mix by hand with a pastry blender as shown above.
After 2 or 3 minutes of mixing, the mixture will look like this. You want to evenly distribute the shortening and butter all throughout the flour, until the particles are about the size of small peas. These particles form the flakes once the crust is baked.
Add water a tablespoon at a time. If using a food processor, pulse for just about 2 seconds after each addition. If mixing by hand, toss the mixture with a fork. The picture above shows the mixture starting to bind and adhere together after adding water.
Here you see the pastry almost getting to the stage where it can form a nice ball. Just a few more tablespoons of water should do it.
After adding all the water, the pie pastry has finally come together to form a ball. I find that on some days, depending on the weather, I need to add a tablespoon or two more to get the mixture to completely bind together. If more water is needed, add it a tablespoon at a time. Note that too much water can result in a tough crust.
Wrap the pie dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. If making ahead of time, store the wrapped pie pastry in an airtight container, and then refrigerate.
When ready to use, slice the dough in two equal halves with a sharp knife.
After dividing the dough you now have two equal size dough balls that will form the bottom and a literal upper crust.
Liberally flour the counter top and rolling pin to prevent sticking. Flatten one of the dough balls into a disc to start rolling.
I was so eager to try out this new pastry board. Up until now, I would just roll the dough directly on the counter. With this board, I had zero problems with sticking and the markers made rolling so much easier. A pastry board is not absolutely necessary, rolling out the dough on a well-floured counter will work just fine, but if you make a lot of pies, it really is a huge convenience.
Roll half of the dough to 1/8 inch thickness, or until large enough to cover the bottom of your pie plate.
To transfer the rolled dough to your pie plate, you can either gently fold it in quarters or drape it over the rolling pin.
Smooth the dough into the pie plate then trim any excess following the edge of the plate with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. Place the pie plate in the refrigerator to chill while you roll out the other half of the dough to make the top crust.
I make it a point to roll out the top crust first before filling the pie.
Fill the now chilled bottom layer with the chilled apple pie filling and dot with about 2 tablespoons of butter.
Cover the pie with the second rolled dough, tightly crimp the edges and cut slits with a sharp knife in the center to allow steam to escape while baking. Beat together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk and brush this egg wash over the surface of the pie for a nice golden finish. Your pie will look something like this before you bake it in a 400 F oven for 50 minutes.
Then once you take it out of the oven, your pie will look something like this…..
Here’s the pie steaming hot and literally straight out of the oven. I wish I could have captured in this picture the steam coming out of the pie. At this point, your family will start to wander in following that wonderful aroma coming out of the kitchen. Do not, by any means, slice the pie right away or you’ll have a big mess. Allow the pie to cool completely for at least two hours. I usually bake pies in the evening close to bedtime so that everyone won’t keep asking if the pie is cool enough yet. After two hours, just place it in an airtight container or cover it with a cake dome.
I can guarantee, the next day your pie will go from looking like this…
…to this, in no time. A variation to this apple pie that’s equally delicious is one with a brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping.
Good old-fashioned apple pie.
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 6-8 medium apples
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 7 – 8 tablespoons cold water
- Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
- Peel the apples, slice thinly and dice.
- Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and mix with apples. Chill in refrigerator while rolling out pie dough.
- You can either use a food processor to cut the shortening and butter into the flour and salt, or if you don’t have one, you can also use a pastry blender.
- Mix flour and salt in food processor bowl.
- Add shortening and butter and pulse for a few seconds, just until the shortening and butter are evenly distributed and particles are the size of small peas.
- Add water a tablespoon at a time and pulse about 2 seconds after each addition. Once all the water is added, pulse until the pastry forms a ball. Use only enough water to form a ball. Do not over mix as this will result in a tough crust.
- If using a pastry blender, after cutting the shortening and butter into the flour and salt, add water a tablespoon at a time and toss the mixture with a fork. After adding all the water, the pastry will bind together to form a ball.
- Wrap the pastry ball in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Or if making the pie pastry ahead of time, store the wrapped pie pastry in an airtight container before storing in refrigerator.
- Divide pastry in half.
- Roll to ⅛-inch thickness and line a 9-inch pie plate.
- Fill with apple mixture and dot with butter.
- Roll out remaining crust and place on pie.
- Cut slits for steam to escape, seal and crimp edges.
- Brush the top with the egg wash for a nice, golden finish.
- Bake at 400 F for 50 minutes.
- Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.
Apple Pie Tutorial