Last week I went out for dinner with my oldest childhood friend. Even though we only live two blocks from each other, our busy schedules keep us from seeing each other on a regular basis and we had a great time catching up over some lovely tapas and sangria. For the past month my friend has been living by herself as her parents went to go visit family in Israel. In honor of their return she told me that she wanted to bake something and I volunteered to help. I asked her to pick something to bake and I would research the recipe and send her a list of ingredients to buy. She agreed to the plan and a couple of days later informed me that she wanted to bake apple pie.
I was actually quite excited at her choice because I have never made apple pie before and always wanted to try my hand at this classic baked good. Although I have made galettes in the past, which are basically just a free form rustic pie, I have always wanted to make a traditional pie with a lattice top. Now that I have done it I can honestly say that it's really not that hard to accomplish and it definitely gives the pie a beautiful appearance which everyone admires.
As it happens, this past weekend was a holiday weekend in Canada with everyone receiving Monday off for Thanksgiving. Because my friend was alone my mother invited her to come celebrate Thanksgiving with our family on Sunday. We didn't exactly have a traditional meal with turkey and all of the fix-ins, but we still spent a wonderful afternoon together and that's what really counts. After the meal my friend and I partook in some fall shopping before coming back to the house to bake the pie. It was so much fun to have such an eager student in the kitchen; she carefully watched me each step of the way and listened to my explanations of why I did things a certain way. Generally I would start on something, like making the dough or preparing the filling, and then she would take over.
At the end of the night she took the pie home and the next day she served it to her parents when they arrived. She told me that they loved the pie and I know she was proud of making it for them. It was great for me to see how much she enjoyed herself in the kitchen and that I could teach her about something I love so much.
For the dough:
Note: This is enough to make one 9" crust. To make the top layer double-up the ingredients.
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3-4 tbsp ice cold water
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse a couple of times in a food processor. Add the chunks of butter into the processor and pulse until the butter pieces are roughly the size of walnuts. If you don't have a food processor use a pastry cutter or fork and knife to cut the butter into the flour.
- Transfer the dough mixture into a bowl and moisten with the water, starting with just a couple of tablespoons at first. Work the mixture until it forms a dough, adding water by the tablespoon only as needed if it feels dry.
- Form the dough into a small disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before rolling it out.
- 5-6 large Granny Smith apples (or any other variety), peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1 egg yolk
- Roll out half of the dough (equivalent to one crust) into approximately a 12" round. Transfer to a 9" pie plate and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the apple slices, sugars, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside.
- Once the dough has chilled, pour the apple mixture with its accumulated juices into the bottom pie crust and spread the filling evenly.
- Dot the surface of the apples with the small chunks of cold butter.
- Roll out the remaining dough and use a pizza cutter to cut into long strips of equal width. If you want more of a lattice look make the strips thinner. If you want less work, make them thicker.
- Lay several strips of dough parallel to each other over the filling. Fold back every other strip to the middle of the pie then lay another strip next to the folded ones, perpendicular to the rest.
- Unfold the strips so that they lay over the newly placed perpendicular one. Next, fold back the previously unfolded strips (now underneath the new strip) and lay another perpendicular strip on either side.
- Repeat the process until the lattice is finished. Trim off the excess and crimp the edges. If you have extra dough, you can cut out little shapes and stick them on the sides of the pie.
- Add a little water to the egg yolk and brush the egg wash all along the surface and edges of the pie. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil and continue baking.
- Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. It pairs well served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.