Fall is here and with it comes apple picking. Apple picking with friends and family is on the top of my list of favorite things, and baking an apple pie with the fruits of our labor (pun intended) is second. I decided to make my own pie dough for the very first time and it was well worth it. I don't think I'll ever buy pie crust again. It wasn't that difficult or time-consuming to make, it is extremely easy to do ahead of time, and it tasted astronomically better than the store-bought stuff. I wanted a second piece tonight just so I could have more flaky, buttery pie crust.
For the dough:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
8 Tbsp all vegetable shortening, chilled
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6-8 Tbsp ice water
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Then add the shortening and process for about 10 seconds until the flour looks like course sand. Scatter the butter pieces on top and give ten 1-second pulses so that the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs with butter pieces no bigger than peas. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the ice water on top and use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture until the dough sticks together. (Add a little more water - in 1 Tbsp intervals - if the dough won't stick together.) Divide the dough into two even pieces. Roll into balls and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days. You can freeze it for 3 months.
For the filling:
3 lbs baking apples (I used Macintoshes and Cortlands), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
Also...for the finishing:
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the apple slices and lemon juice. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the apples and toss to coat.
Roll out one of the balls of dough to a 12-inch circle on a lightly flour surface. To lift the dough, roll it onto your rolling pin and unroll it onto the pie plate (I used 9-inch, but you could do 9-1/2). Pour in the apple mixture. Roll out the second ball of dough into another 12-inch circle and cover the apple filling with it. Trim the edges to hang 1/2-inch beyond your pie plate. Flute the edging or press with the tines of a fork to seal. Cut four slits in the top. If the dough had gotten very soft, put the pie in the freezer for ten minutes. Then, brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp of sugar.
Place pie on a baking sheet and on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Cook for 25 minutes. Then rotate the pie, turn down the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and bake for another 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for four hours. I recommend doing this. We couldn't wait that long and broke into it after only an hour. It definitely needed more than an hour to set. Next time, I'll wait two and see how that goes. It smells so good that I don't think I could possibly wait four!