apple pie ready

This classic deep dish apple pie is perfect not only for Thanksgiving but Christmas holidays as well. Since making pies is not really a Polish thing it took me a while to understand the difference from other baked desserts, but also to figure out a perfect crust and filling recipe. I again used America’s Test Kitchen instructions and they never let me down. I tried other recipes but the crust was never tender enough. Some recipes asked either for cold water or sour cream but this one asks for vodka. I know you may think that I made it up because I’m Polish but it wasn’t me this time! The vodka will make the crust easy to roll out, will keep it moist, and will leave no taste of vodka to it in the end. Another problem I always had with pies was the apple filling; it would be too watery, and the apples would be mushy and never stay in place when cutting the slice. So the solution for that was to use two different types of apples and precook them. Heating the apples will help keep them firm and not mushy after baking in the oven because their pectin, when heated, changes into a stable form.

Serving: 10 servings
Preparation: 2 hours including resting time for crust and apples
Cooking: 1h 20 minutes
Calories for slice: 415

Ingredients for crust:
2 ½ cups of all purpose flour (plus ¼ cup for rolling out the dough)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ stick of unsalted butter (cold)/12 tablespoons, cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup of vegetable shortening
¼ cup of vodka
¼ cup of cold water

Ingredients for filling:
½ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 tart apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick/6mm slices (Granny Smith/Empires or Cortlands)
7 sweet apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick/6mm slices (Golden Delicious/Jonagolds or Braeburns)
1 egg white, beaten lightly

Crust dough:

dough kolaz
In a food processor combine flour, salt and sugar and pulse it couple of times until well combined.  Add the cold butter and shortening and mix it for about 15 seconds until all the ingredients are combined but the dough would still have major clumps. Put the bowl aside and scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl and combine using a rubber spatula. Add vodka and water and mix it using the spatula. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a working space. Make sure the dough sticks together, then cut it into half. Make two balls and flatten each of them into 4 inch/10cm disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pie Filling:

Combine all the sliced and peeled apples in a large bowl and add ½ cup of sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. Toss it well. Transfer to a large pot or Dutch oven and cook covered over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Stir it frequently. Transfer the apples onto a baking sheet and let it cool down to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

While the apples cool down, heat the oven to 425F /220C degrees, place the rack on the lowest position and put an empty baking sheet on that rack and heat it as well. Heating the baking sheet will help cook the bottom pie through.

Take one of the disks out of the fridge and put it on the working space. Sprinkle with flour. Roll it out between 2 large sheets of parchment paper into a 12 inch/30cm circle, about 1/8 inch/3mm thick. Using the parchment paper will help to transfer the dough easier to the pie plate. Just lift one paper from time to time to sprinkle it with flour.

Lift the dough and place it on the pie plate, pressing it into the bottom. Leave the excess dough that hangs over the edge and put as it is in the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool down.

While half of the dough is resting in the pie plate in the fridge, take the other disk and roll it out to 12 inches/30cm, exactly the same way you did with the first one using the parchment paper and place it in the fridge to firm for about 30 minutes.

By the time you are done with the disks, your apples will be cool. Strain them over a colander and drain as much juice off as possible. Take out the apple pie plate of the fridge and transfer the apples into the bottom. If you have the pie bird, place in the middle of the pie and put the apples around it. The bird will help to let the extra moisture evaporate during baking. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Remember when you left the hanging parts of the dough from the bottom crust? Well, this is the time to fold the dough under itself so that the edge is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Trim the excess dough with kitchen scissors. This will help create a nice wavy shape for the whole pie. Take out the second rolled out dough from the fridge and flip it on the apples. If you were using the pie bird, simply let it go through the dough. Again the parchment paper will help you remove the dough more easily.

raw pie
Pinch the edges together firmly. Flute the edges using your thumb and forefinger. With a paring knife, cut four 2-inch/5 cm slits in the top of the dough. Brush the surface with beaten egg white and sprinkle it with the remaining teaspoons of sugar.

Transfer the pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 55 minutes. After it’s baked transfer the pie onto the cooling rack and let it rest at least 2 hours before cutting.

apple pie cut

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