Apple season means apple pies, and my favorite are those apple pies packed with apples, not overly sweet, and with a buttery crust. The problem with baking thick apple pies is that the apples shrink as they cook, leaving a gap between the crust and the apples, which usually collapses upon cooling. The trick is to gently cook the apples first, so that they do their reducing before they go in the pie. I settled on this recipe after trying several; it draws its crust from a mile-high apple pie recipe in Oprah Magazine and its method adapted from a method for deep-dish apple pie in Cooks Illustrated.
Extra Thick Apple Pie Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
- 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 to 6 Tbsp nonfat milk, very cold
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup sugar (white granulated)
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 5 lbs of mixed apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, Pippin, Braeburn, Cortland, McIntosh), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Start with the crust. In a food processor, combine flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture solidifies into a ball. Remove dough from machine and shape into 2 discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
2 While the dough is cooling, start cook the apples. Mix 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, ground ginger, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Add the apples and lemon zest and toss to combine. Transfer apples to a large, thick-bottomed covered pan or Dutch oven and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are just tender when poked with a fork, but still hold their shape - about 15 to 20 minutes (but not so long for the apples to turn into applesauce, put apples in a colander over a bowl to drain excess liquid. Drain off as much juice as possible.
3 Preheat oven to 425°F with a baking sheet on a rack on the lowest rung of the oven.
4 Back to the crust. While the apples are cooling and draining, remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
5 Add the filling to the pie. Add the apple filling to the dough-lined pie pan. Sprink on 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Dot with butter.
6 Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape. Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush.
7 Set pie on preheated baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape from the pie while cooking). Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375°F and cook for an additional 50 minutes, until filling bubbles in the center and crust turns golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 1/2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.