provided by Jim Gordon
The secret of a great apple pie is the apples. They must be fresh, crisp, hard and tart. Look for Granny Smiths, Pippins or Jonathans, and avoid the soft, bland ones such as Delicious.
Flaky Pie Crust (see separate recipe below)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 to 7 large, tart apples, peeled, cored and quartered
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into 2 rounds, 1/8 inch thick. Use 1 to line the bottom of a 9-inch pan. Roll up the second round between 2 pieces of wax paper and refrigerate along with the pie shell.
2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Cut each apple quarter into 4 slices. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the orange juice. Combine the brown sugar mixture with the apples. Toss to coat. Let the apples stand, at room temperature, for 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, fill the pie shell with the apples. They should rise at least 1 inch above the rim. Discard the liquid that collects in the bottom of the apple bowl. Dot the apples with butter. Moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water and cover with the second round of dough, crimping the top to the bottom with your fingers or a serving fork. Cut 4 symmetrical slits in the top crust.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
Advance Preparation: This pie does not improve with age, but it can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store at room temperature. Reheat in a 250-degree oven.
Flaky Pie Crust
This is an excellent all-purpose pate brisee. We have used it for pie crusts, cookies and all sorts of other good things. This recipe makes a top and a bottom crust for an 8- or 9-inch pie. For open pies, use half the recipe. The excess can always be frozen or made into crisps.
Makes one 8- or 9-inch double crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice water
1. Blend the dry ingredients in a bowl or in a food processor.
2. Ad the butter and work it into the flour with a pastry cutter or two knives, or the metal blade of the processor. In any case, do not use your hands. Combine until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
3. Add water, a little at a time, and blend with a fork or pulse the processor until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix. (If you are using the food processor, add water until the dough forms little pearl shapes. Then turn the dough out on a double thickness of plastic wrap. Gather the ends of the wrap and twist like a towel until the dough is formed into a ball. This way you never touch the dough with your hands.) Divide, form into two flattened balls, and refrigerate until chilled.
4. To use the dough, roll it out 1/8 inch thick, ease it gently into the pie plate, or cut into the shapes needed. Chill before baking.
Advance Preparation: Can be prepared two days ahead. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate. This dough will also keep for several weeks in the freezer.