After childhood years of growing up with frozen apple pie, I could never get excited about them. This recipe has made me to a changed Apple Pie advocate. There are three factors for my conversion-- #1- The crust: shortening, egg and vinegar makes this so tender #2- The fresh apples are Fall's first offerings #3- The pie is formed on a half-sheet pan, making this easier to serve for a large crowd. This recipe is keeper! (Pie crust is from the food blog "Wives with Knives" and the apple filling is my own creation. In case you're wondering-- yes, you can make this in a traditional pie pan, as well!
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com
For the crust:
cups all-purpose flour
cup shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
egg, slightly beaten
tablespoons cold water
coarse sugar (optional, to sprinkle on the crust for "crunch")
For the apple pie:
cups sliced apples (I used Jonagolds, Gravensteins and Granny Smith)
tsp cinnamon (optional)
juice of ½ lemon
Tablespoons Instant ClearJel (purchased online at King Arthur Flour) OR
Tablespoons Boiled Apple Cider, OPTIONAL (purchased online at King Arthur Flour)
Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed into small pieces
For the glaze:
cup powdered sugar
Whisk the water into the sugar until all lumps are gone, and it is a thick, drizzling consistency
NOTES: ClearJel is my favorite way to thicken my pies. It doesn't cloud my fillings and really holds my fruit together better than flour or tapioca. Boiled Apple Cider is one of my favorite ingredients, because it enhances any recipe with apples, such as pie and even pan sauces. Love it!
For the crust (NOTE: I use my food processor): In the food processor, with the blade attachment, and combine the flour and salt. Add the shortening, and pulse until the dough is crumbly and sticks together. Add the egg and vinegar and pulse until the dough is just combined. If using a pastry cutter: Combine flour and salt.Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until dough is crumbly and the size of small peas. Combine egg, water and vinegar and add to flour mixture. Mix with a fork until dough stick together. Divide the dough in half, and heap onto plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a disc and refrigerate. This can be done a day or two ahead, or even frozen for a couple of weeks. Roll out on well-floured board to desired thickness and ease into pie pan. NOTES: I find that this pie crust can be more challenging to work with, because of the egg. It tends to break apart, and needs "patching". It can be a little frustrating, but it's worth it. The end result is that the crust is very tender. Yes, you can make this pie in a traditional pie pan. The flat apple pie makes this easier to serve to larger crowds, and is easier to work with the dough. For the pie filling: Peel, core and slice the apples (I bought an apple, corer and peeler and love how fast and easy it is to do this.) Mix the ClearJel (or flour) to the sugar and whisk together and pour over the apples. Add the spices, then the lemon juice and stir to combine. Using a half-sheet baking pan, spray with non-stick coating. Place the bottom half of the pie crust, leaving at least a 1/3" overhang. Evenly spread the apple filling and dot with small pats of butter. Roll the second crust and carefully place over the pie. Cut slots for steam with a paring knife. OPTIONAL: I like to whisk one egg with a splash of water and brush it over the top layer of the pie crust, so it will bake a beautiful golden brown. Then, I sprinkle coarse sugar on top for a crunchy texture. Place the pie on a large baking sheet (I placed mine on a baking stone) and bake at 375F for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown and the apples are bubbly and caramelized. To glaze the pie: I like to balance a cooling rack of my kitchen sink. Mix the glaze, and then spoon over the hot pie. You can also add chopped walnut pieces, but my family doesn't like nuts, so I didn't. I'll bet that's delicious!