Apple Pie Recipe
The origins of America’s favorite dessert.
“As American as apple pie.”
The expression speaks to the traditions of a young country and the wholesome values found cooling an a windowsill. No matter our differences, all Americans can come together in appreciation of the beloved pie, spawned from the fruits of Johnny Appleseed’s labors and the love of a mother baking for her family. But how American really is apple pie?
As far as apple pie goes, the early settlers didn’t have much to work with when they got here. The only apple native to North America is the crabapple. It wasn’t until the 1700s that the apples we know and love were widely cultivated here, from imported cuttings. Coinciding with the availability of sugar introduced via growing trade routes, the combination came together in pies. The pies were similar to more savory pies made for hundreds of years in Britain, but had become something new and special. So popular, apple pies were served at any given meal or even as the meal itself.
The apples grew here from trees new to the land. The sugar originated in faraway places. And the result was something new, but rooted age-old ideas brought by those who settled here.
Sounds like America to me.
Today, apples of over 2,500 varieties are grown across every state in the country. Fall is apple season and “you-pick-'em” orchards are calling. Make use of those copious local apples by making America’s favorite dessert. The crust in this recipe is exquisitely flaky, but store-bought pie crust may be substituted (just skip down the “peel and core apples” step).
So good you’ll understand why the colonists made a meal of them!
Classic Apple Pie
- 12 ounces flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter, frozen
- 4 ounces ice water
- 2 1/2 pounds tart apples
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon Demerara sugar
Combine flour and sugar in a food processor and add 2 sticks butter, cut into cubes.
Pulse processor until small, pea-like beads clump.
Drizzle water in and pulse just until dough comes together.
Remove from processor, divide into two balls.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Peel, core and slice apples and drizzle with lemon juice.
Combine sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and stir into apples.
Remove dough from fridge and roll on a floured surface into two 9” discs.
Line a pie pan with one disc of dough overlapping the edges by about an inch.
Pour apple filling into pie pan.
Cut 2 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and scatter over filling.
Place second disc of dough on top and pinch edges of pie to seal.
Cut several slits into top of pie.
Whisk egg with tablespoon of water and brush crust with egg wash.
Sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
Bake in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cover edges of crust for the final 15 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning.