Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I know pumpkin pie is the traditional dessert loved by all, and I do love it too. But this year I just couldn’t resist the apples and knew I had to change it up. The variety and quality of Nova Scotia apples are second to none. I am so grateful to live in this part of the world, and not just for the produce that is so readily available.
Is there anything better than an apple pie baking in the oven? The whole house fills with those sweet aromas that are pure comfort.
A lot of people shy away from making their own pie crust, but if you’re up to it, there are a few tricks that will lead to success. Keep everything cold, the butter, shortening and water (milk) before adding to the flour and salt mixture. Once the dough is made, form into 2 discs and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. After the pastry is filled refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes, this prevents the dreaded shrinkage.
Bake in a hot oven, 425°F for 15 minutes reduce heat to 375°F and bake for approximately 45 minutes, until golden brown. Or you can always use store bought pie dough.
The pastry is important but the apple filling is the star. There are a lot of apple pie recipes out there, many of which use one variety of apple, I like to use at least 3. My go to apples are granny smith, for some tartness, honey crisp for sweetness and MacIntosh or Cortlands. If you are using MacIntosh apples, I suggest using early season ones, so they are crisp and firm. Late season Mac’s don’t hold their shape very well when baked.
In a medium size bowl toss the apples in a bit of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. In a separate bowl mix together the spices and sugar with a bit of flour for thickening. I keep the flavourings pretty traditional with cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest. Top the apples with the sugar and spice mixture and stir to combine.
It might be faster to put the apples directly in the pie crust but I find tossing them in a bowl then adding to the pastry distributes the mixture so that every apple is seasoned perfectly.
Top the apples with the second crust, it can be plain or fancy. Be creative! Just remember to leave a couple vent holes for the steam to escape and brush the crust with an egg wash. This helps get that deep golden colour we all love. I like to put the pie on a rimmed baking sheet for transferring to and from the oven.
As much as you might be tempted to slice right into your masterpiece, allowing the pie to cool for at least 4 hours is well worth the wait. Why not try Best Ever Apple Pie for your Thanksgiving Feast!
Prep time: 2 hrs
Preheat Oven to 425°F
Pastry for a 2 crust pie
6-7 cups of sliced apples
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tsp)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
egg wash (1 egg + 1Tbsp water whisked together)
Roll out the pastry and line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
Peel and slice apples into a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples.
Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon zest in a small bowl and toss over the apples. Transfer the mixture to the pie shell. Dot with the butter.
Roll out second pastry for the top of the pie. Fold pastry so that it overhangs just a bit and tuck under the edges. Try not to have too much overhang or the crust will be thick. (1/2 inch is just about right). Pinch all the way around to seal the edges.
Make sure to cut a few vents in the top shell. Refrigerate 30 minutes while the oven preheats.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven. Lower the temperature to 375°F and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden brown about 45 minutes.
To keep spills to a minimum I like to place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats and then place the pie on it for cooking. This will also help the bottom of the pie cook.
Trish is the top spoon at