Embrace the essence of autumn with our Lattice Top Rustic Apple Pie, and dive into layers of crisp, handpicked apples nestled in a golden, woven crust.
Choosing the Perfect Apple for Your Pie
It’s apple picking season!
When setting out to bake the quintessential apple pie, selecting the right apple variety is paramount. Ideal apple pie candidates are those that maintain their structure during baking, offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors, and possess a robust apple aroma. Varieties such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn are top contenders for their delightful tartness and firm textures.
On the other hand, Golden Delicious and Jonagold apples bring a natural sweetness that can reduce the need for added sugars. As you handpick your apples, look for firmness to the touch, vibrant color, and an absence of soft spots or blemishes which could indicate internal decay.
Before prepping your apples for the pie, wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticides or residues. Then, core, semi-peel, and chunk them uniformly, ensuring even cooking and a consistent texture throughout your pie.
Remember, a mix of apple varieties can also offer a depth of flavor, adding layers of complexity to your dessert masterpiece.
Did you know – Replacing the flour with cornstarch as a thickener for the apple pie filling, provides a clear, glossy filling without the somewhat cloudy appearance that flour can sometimes impart.
A French-style pie crust (often called “pâte brisée”) made with European French butter will yield a rich, flaky result. Below is a simple recipe for a two-crust pie using European French butter:
- 2 1/2 cups (310 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (225 grams) European French butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 120 ml) ice water
- Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- Butter Incorporation
Add the cold, diced European butter to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, a pastry blender, or two forks, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. The variation in size is what contributes to a flaky crust.
- Adding Water
Drizzle in the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing gently with a fork or your hands after each addition. Stop adding water once the dough starts to come together and can be formed into a ball. You may not need all the water, so it’s essential to add it gradually.
- Forming Dough
Once the dough has come together, divide it roughly into two equal portions. Flatten each portion into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 48 hours. This resting time allows the gluten to relax, making the dough easier to roll out and resulting in a more tender crust.
- Rolling Out
Once you’re ready to use the dough, remove one disk from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to slightly soften. This will make it easier to roll. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to fit your pie dish. Carefully transfer the rolled dough into the pie dish, pressing it gently into the bottom and sides.
- Filling & Top Crust
After adding your desired pie filling, (recipe below) roll out your second pie crust, cutting it into strips if you’d like a lattice top or leaving it whole with vents cut into it. Place atop the apples. Tuck in the strips, trim any excess dough and crimp the edges to seal. If you are leaving the top dough whole in one piece, cut some slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.
Bake according to your pie recipe’s instructions.
Note: European French butter has a higher fat content than regular butter, which can make the crust even richer and flakier. If you’re using unsalted European butter, you may want to slightly adjust the salt content in the recipe to your taste.
- 5-6 cups of peeled or semi-peeled, cored, and chunked (about an 1″) apples (either a mix of Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn for a tart profile OR Golden Delicious and Jonagold for a sweeter touch)
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar (for tart apples) OR 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for sweeter apples)
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon of milk (for brushing the top crust)
- 1 tablespoon of coarse sugar (for sprinkling, optional)
- 2 pie crusts, recipe above
Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
In a large bowl, toss your apple chunks with lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine either the 3/4 cup of sugar (for tart apples) or the 1/2 cup of sugar (for sweet apples) with cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix this into the apples until they’re well-coated.
Roll out one pie crust and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Pour the apple mixture into the crust and dot with small pieces of butter. Roll out your second pie crust, cutting it into strips if you’d like a lattice top (video above) or leaving it whole with vents cut into it. Place atop the apples. Crimp the edges to seal.
Brush the top crust lightly with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. If the edges of the pie start browning too quickly, you can cover them with foil.
Once baked, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 2 hours. This allows the filling to set.
Apple Pie Photographs and Video: Vladislav Noseek
Serve your pie with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and savor the delightful balance of flavors, whether you choose tart or sweet apples. Enjoy!