If the crust looks like it's getting too browned, take a large piece of aluminum foil and place on top of the pie in the oven. No need to wrap it around the pie, just place it on top. That will keep the top from browning further.
Pies always seem to take longer to cook than one expects. (Perhaps it's because we're always opening the oven to check on how the pie is doing?) The filling should be visibly bubbling, which you should be able to see through the steam vents.
I recommend putting a rimmed baking sheet on a rack beneath the rack of the pie to catch the filling as some of it invariably bubbles up and out over the pie. Makes oven clean-up a lot easier.
- 3 pounds good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Fuji, or Braeburn (about 6 to 8 apples, depending on the size of your apples and the size of your pie dish)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (to toss with the sliced apples so they don't brown as you slice them)
- 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like your pie
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour for thickening
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon brandy (Optional. By the way, if you have Calvados apple brandy, use it!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 recipe double crust sour cream pie dough, OR all-butter crust, OR your favorite pie crust recipe
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cream
1 Peel, core, and slice the apples: Peel, core and slice or roughly chop the apples into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices or chunks.
As you cut your apple slices, add them to a large bowl and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to help keep them from turning brown.
2 Make the apple pie filling: Combine sugar, flour and spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon) in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the apple slices and use your hands to distribute the flour through the apples so they are well coated.
Then sprinkle with brandy and vanilla extract and stir to coat all the apples.
3 Prepare oven: Place one oven rack in the lowest position and put a large rimmed baking sheet on it (to catch any drippings from the pie.) Position a second rack the next rung up (still in the lower third of the oven) and preheat to 375°F.
4 Roll out the dough and line bottom pie plate: Remove one disk of pie dough from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Place disk on a lightly floured, clean, flat surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pie dough to a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick.
As you roll out the dough, check to make sure it isn't sticking. If and when it starts to stick, gently lift it up and sprinkle a little more flour on the table surface or on the pie dough to keep the dough from sticking.
Gently place the rolled out dough onto a 9-inch pie plate. Press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
5 Place apple slices on top of the bottom crust: Arrange the apple slices in the dough-lined pie plate. Mound the apples in the center.
6 Roll out top crust, place over apples, trim and crimp edges: Roll out the second disk of dough, again to 12-inches. Gently place the second round of pie dough over the apples. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang from the edges of the pie pan.
Fold the dough under itself so that the edge of the fold comes right to the edge of the pan. Press the top and bottom dough rounds together as you flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
7 Brush with egg wash, cut vents: Place egg yolk and cream in a small bowl and use a fork to stir until well combined. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the top and fluted edges of the pie. Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top of the pie crust for steam vents.
8 Bake: Place pie on oven rack centered over the baking sheet on the rack below it to catch any drippings. Bake the pie at 375°F until crust begins to lightly brown, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F.
Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, anywhere from an additional 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of apples you are using. (About halfway through baking check to make sure the pie isn't browning too much. When it's nicely browned, tent the pie with a large piece of aluminum foil to keep the pie from browning further.)
9 Let cool: Transfer the apple pie to a rack to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Great with a side of vanilla ice cream.