Newton’s Apple Pie
For a truly spectacular apple pie, California is your destination. Or at least, my friend Anna makes the best one I’ve had the pleasure to devour, and she lives in Los Angeles. We made it out to the West Coast a few years back, and our hostess had an evening of sushi, tequila (well, actually mescal), and an apple pie planned. And before you assume the alcohol augmented the taste of the pie, don’t worry, we didn’t consume it all that night. It was just as good or better the next day when we got up around 1:00 in the afternoon. So if you’d like to become a better hostess (or host), make this pie and let your guests eat the leftovers for breakfast.
If you’re this far in my blog post, you might be asking yourself “What even IS this blog? What’s a Bushel?” Well, it’s a blog for a product that provides management tools for Apple devices, but I have convinced my boss to let me write about the edible kind of Apples too (and hopefully anything that comes in a Bushel) – yay! Which brings us back to what’s important here, THIS APPLE PIE. Anna was kind enough to share the recipe along with her variants. She’s like me – I typically deviate from every recipe when cooking (if using one at all) on a whim, and only really use them when baking. She’s piecemealed a recipe together from some of her favorites, which I’ve used to make mine, with a few changes.
Anna sent over two recipes she uses for her crust, but I already have a tried and true favorite that I’ve been making for years. The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pie Crust. It’s easy, fast, flakey, and delish. Plus, depending on what you’re using it for, it makes three dough balls for crusts (you’ll use two for this recipe since you need the second dough ball for lattice work, but freeze the last one for a quiche or an open-faced pie). Follow the recipe and wrap two of the dough balls in plastic wrap before moving on to pie filling.
I was just finishing up wrapping the dough when I saw a black flash pass through the kitchen door at full stride. ZOOM! Clomp-clomp-clomp (that’s the sound of three inch stumps running at full stride on hardwood floors.) There goes the baby corgi – oh no, he’s loose! We had to pause so I could I collect the corgi and try to place him back into his playpen. NOIWILLNOTGO says Fats in doge* (his real name is Otto, but we call him Fats) as he wiggled like an a-corg-ion (accordion) and gave his fiercest roar. We had to pause so Fats could get his zoomies** out outside. I got my fill of puppy love and washed my hands for the millionth time of the day.
*doge – noun – internet canine language, or a dog’s internal monologue – originated from species Shiba Inus
**zoo·mees – verb – to be a corgi and to go zoom zoom
Now for the filling. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, ginger, and apple brandy to your bowl. Peel and core your apples. I cut them in half, then in quarters, and then sliced them on the short end at about a quarter inch thick. I peeled, cored, and sliced my way through seven, which filled up a great big bowl. It looks like a lot, but your pie dish is deceptively big. Add the apples to your wet ingredients as you are slicing them. Mix all of the dry ingredients and add them to the apple mixture. Stir well and then let the mixture rest. The longer it sits, the better. If you have the time, place them in the fridge to rest overnight. If you’re in a time pinch, let them sit for at least an hour. The apples will macerate and let out their yummy juices.
While the apples are sitting, start your butter sauce. Set the burner to medium-low, and add the butter and water to the pan. Once that’s melted, add the white and brown sugar, and let this majestic mixture do its thing for about 20 minutes, stirring often. When the sugar has all been incorporated and the mixture has reduced ever so slightly, it’s ready. I let the sauce cook while I was working on the crust (pausing to go back and stir) in the step below.
Now set your oven to 375°F and grab two of your dough balls. Roll out the first into a circular sheet. Don’t worry about getting the sides high enough here to make the crust edge, you’ll get that dough from the second dough ball. Once you’ve rolled to the right size, fold the dough into quarters to transfer to your pie pan. Unfold and voila!
Fill ‘er up with that apple mixture and move on to the second dough ball. Roll this one out into a long rectangular-ish sheet (it will be used for the lattice) and use something like a pizza cutter to cut the sheet into strips. If you’d like less lattice, cut wider, more lattice, cut thinner. If you mess up, mash it all together and start over. Either way, you’re going to have leftovers, which is what you’ll use for the border of the pie. Trying to explain how to lay the lattice is difficult, so just follow the visual steps below (How did I not notice that one lattice so out of place?!? Oh well.) if you’ve never latticed before. When you’re happy with your lattice, take the remaining dough and roll it with your hands into a long strip the circumference of your pie pan. Here’s where you’ll form the outside crust. Grab some water to adhere everything together if it’s too dry to stick on its own. Now you’re ready to add that glorious, glorious butter sauce.
I’m not sure how I would have incorporated the butter sauce without a turkey baster, so definitely use one. Once my pie was latticed up, I used the baster to squirt in the butter sauce between the strips of dough, squirting evenly throughout. It may look like a lot of sauce, but trust me, you can never have enough butter. When most of the sauce has been added to your pie, grab a basting brush and gently add some of the butter glaze to the top of your pie on the latticework. You could also use an egg wash here if you prefer.
Right now, your oven should be piping hot, so go ahead and place your creation smack dab in the middle of the oven. If you have a corgi (or any other nice doggie), now is a good time to accidentally drop some leftover apple skin (not the cores though – the seeds can be poisonous to pups!) on the floor. Mine go nuts for it. Sit patiently patting your corgi for about an hour, and your pie should be ready to come out of the oven. If the juices are bubbling and you can pierce the apples easily with a knife, pull that sucker out.
Now here comes the tough part – waiting. You can cut into this pie today, but the juices won’t have settled. Which isn’t the end of the world…grab some vanilla ice cream and drizzle the juices on top. OR, if you can wait until tomorrow, your pie will be absolutely perfect. The liquid will have time to thicken and soak back into the apples and the crust. The apples will have softened even more. It will be worth the wait, and you will add this pie to your recipe rolodex. Seriously, it’s awesome. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to be super impressed with yourself – as will your guests. Give yourself a pat on the back! And just like the Apple Newton, this pie is gonna be extinct (in this case devoured) in a matter of moments.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups shortening
5 T cold water
1T white vinegar
1 ½ pounds Honeycrisp apples (about 3)
2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4)
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
Zest from 1 large lemon
½ c sugar
2 T all-purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 t cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
¼ t ground allspice
¼ t ground star anise
1 t fresh grated ginger
1 t vanilla
1 T apple brandy
½ c of unsalted butter
½ c white sugar
½ c brown sugar
¼ c water
Also published on Medium.