Apple pie is one of my favorite desserts. I enjoy it all year long, but especially at Thanksgiving. I can't think of anything more American than apple pie. My dad doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so I was surprised to discover that he likes apple pies. A couple of years ago, I was on a mission to perfect my apple pie recipe so I could make the best one for my dad. And after consulting a few self-proclaimed apple pie experts, I think I finally came along with the perfect recipe.
How you decorate your pie is entirely up to you. It doesn't really matter whether you do a lattice top or a basic double-crust. But I'll go as far to say that the apple portion of my apple pie is up there with the pros. Certain tips and tricks I've learned along the way:
- You must use three varities of apples.
- YES: Granny Smith (at least 2), McIntosh (no more than 2), Fuji, Gala, Braeburn
- NO: Delicious, Romes
- Use granular tapioca, not corn starch, to absorb the liquid
- Make sure all of the apple slices are the same size otherwise you will wind up with apple sauce with chunks of apples
- After 20 minutes of baking, cover the edges with tin foil so they don't burn
I have made my own dough in the past, but last time decided to try the Trader Joe's frozen sheets after hearing good things. I was pleasently surprised. They were quite good and easy to handle. If you'd like my dough recipe though, let me know and I'd be happy to post it.
Leaf Lattice Apple Pie Recipe
Yields: 1 deep dish apple pie
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
2 Fuji apples, peeled and cored
2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1-1/2 Tbsp granular tapioca, divided
2 sheets pie crusts, defrosted (such as Trader Joe's)
2-3 Tbsp butter, sliced thinly
eggwash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water beaten together)
1. To make leaf lattice top, roll out one pie crust sheet and ensure there are no cracks. (Keep second pie crust refrigerated until ready to use.) NOTE: If the sheet comes on a sheet of plastic wrap, do not remove the plastic wrap. Work on top of the plastic surface. If it does not, roll pie crust on a lightly flowered surface.
2. Using a small leaf pie cutter, make rows of leaf cutouts spacing them approx 1/2" apart. Reserve cutouts for decorating the edge. Reroll scraps to make additional cut-outs for decorating. Approx 25-30 will be needed. Refrigerate lattice top and leaf cutouts for 30 minutes.
3. Cut apples into 12 equal-sized wedges. Place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and 1/2 Tbsp granular tapioca. Combine with apple slices and mix well. Set aside.
4. Prehat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. Lay one sheet of pie crust in a pie dish, pushing down so crust molds to the inside of the dish. Using a small knife, cut excess dough hanging over the edge of the dish. Reserve excess dough. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp granular tapioca into the pie crust to lightly cover the bottom.
6. Pour apples into the pie dish. Dot with butter slices. Set aside.
7. Remove lattice top and leaf cutouts from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Carefully invert lattice top over the pie. Using a knife, trim the excess dough. Press gently on the edges to seal the top and bottom crusts together. Brush the underside of the leaf cut-outs with egg wash and press gently onto the edges to decorate.
8. Brush entire pie crust with egg wash. Place pie on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes; remove pie from oven and cover outer edges with aluminum foil so the edges don't burn. Return to oven and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Use a fork to test the apples. If it goes through with slight resistance, it's done.
9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Apple pie can be made up through Step 7, 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Alternatively, pie can also be made one month in advance and frozen through Step 7. Freeze, pre-baked and cover very well with plastic wrap. Place foil on top of plastic wrap and then place pie into a gallon bag or brine bag. The pie can go directly from the freezer into a hot oven. Brush with egg wash before baking, not before freezing. An additional 15 minutes of cooking may be needed.