Autumn Hills Basic Apple Pie

Your pie kit of Cortland and MacIntosh apples will make a GREAT pie. The bigger the apples, the fewer you have to peel! Pastry takes practice, so don’t give up. The more pies you make the better your “crust skills” will be!

Tips:
Always read the entire recipe before starting
New-fangled apple peelers work great (Oxo or other ergonomic designs)
To core, cut apples in half (top to bottom) and use a melon baller tool to scoop core
If you don’t have a food processor, use two knives to “cut” the flour and butter.

Preparation time:
crust: 10 minutes plus ½ hour chilling time
filling: 10 minutes
pie assembly: 10 minutes – or less with experience
baking: 1 hour
total elapsed time: approx. ½ hour for prep/assembly and 1 hour baking

Crust ingredients:
2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen and cut into small cubes (or 8 of butter and 4 tablespoons of other shortening)
6 to 8 tablespoons iced water
1 teaspoon cider vinegar (optional)

Filling ingredients:
Approx. 3-4 lbs large apples (about 6-9 apples, depending on size) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
Juice of ½ lemon
Approx. ¼ to 1/3 cup sugar (or cane crystals)
¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Approx. 1- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon milk for brushing on the top crust

Make the Crust:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the ingredients. Cover and pulse a few times until the butter cubes break up. Add the iced water through the tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing on and off until the dough begins to form into a ball. (Don’t process too much as you want to keep the dough cool.) Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Form into a disk. Refrigerate the wrapped disk while you prepare the filling (15-30 minutes).

Make the Filling:
In a large bowl, mix the apple slices, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Assemble the Pie:
Cut the chilled dough into 2 pieces, one slightly bigger than the other. Wrap the smaller piece and return to the refrigerator. Roll out the bottom crust on a lightly floured surface. Keep your work area and tools cool if possible. To keep dough from sticking, roll once, pick up your dough and rotate a quarter turn. Repeat after every roll!  When crust circle is approximately one inch larger than your pie pan, drape one end of the dough over the rolling pin, then lift and gently place the dough over the pan. Trim the edge of the dough, if needed, leaving about 1 inch over the pie pan.

Pour the apple mixture into the pan. Mound toward the center and dot with butter. Roll out the remaining pastry and drape over the apples. Seal the edges with a fork or pinch with your fingers; pierce the crust with a fork to make steam holes in the top crust. Gently brush a bit of milk over the surface of the pastry.

Bake:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet or large sheet of foil to catch filling should it bubble over. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350° F and continue to bake for about another 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and pie juices are bubbling. During last 15 minutes, cover the crust with a ribbon of aluminum foil if the edges of the crust start turning too dark. Remove from oven; let cool before serving so filling “sets” and flavors concentrate.

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