This past Sunday evening I cooked dinner for several college football players – boys my husband coached when they were in high school. These guys were “strapping” to say the least. I was excited to make a ridiculously unhealthy but delicious dinner and watch every bite disappear (I hid in the kitchen most of the time, and the only thing leftover is a single slice of pie which I plan on taking care of before bed or maybe first thing tomorrow morning).
There’s nothing better than apple pie. I jump at the chance to make one and for whatever reason the occasion rarely calls (maybe because I have two, yes TWO close friends who refuse to eat any dessert that contains fruit). Boys love apple pie, so I knew it’d be a hit for these athletes. When I told them to save room for apple pie they all groaned in a “seriously, you’re killing me” kind of way that made me very happy. Baking is SO much more fun when you feel appreciated afterwards.
Anyway – this pie is basic as far as apple pie goes. No fancy cranberries, nuts, or unwelcome spices. It’s delicious in a way that’s specific to apple pie but by no means boring. Apple pie is always welcome, always soul-soothing, and somehow always impressive.
Note below that I use an oil crust – I’ve baked around to other recipes but keep coming back to my mom’s recipe – the easiest dough I’ve worked with by far. If you prefer a butter or shortening (or combo) crust, go for it, but please don’t use store-bought without at least trying this oil crust.
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 tbsp cold water
1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil
2 1/2 lb. macintosh apples (about 8), peeled, cored, sliced
2/3 c. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
juice from 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp. butter, cut into 4 or 5 pieces
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. To make crust, whisk flour and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.
3. In a liquid measuring cup, measure oil and add water. Mix with fork.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry all at once and mix with fork until it comes together and there is no loose flour. Turn dough onto counter and gently bring the dough to a ball with your hands. Divide in half with a knife and wrap each half, flattened to a disk, in plastic wrap. Chill about 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, place prepare apples in large mixing bowl and add dry ingredients. Mix with hands until apples are evenly coated. Add lemon juice and mix again.
6. When ready to roll dough, place two sheets of waxed (or parchment) paper onto counter. Unwrap discs, one at a time, and place on sheets.
7. Put another sheet on top of dough and use rolling pin to roll dough into a 14 inch circle. Remember to roll from the middle out (not back and forth).
8. Peel the top layer of waxed paper off one crust and place, paper side up, in pie plate. Gently peel away the paper and arrange pie crust in plate (there should be dough evenly overhanging the plate).
9. Arrange a layer of apples evenly in the bottom of the crust and then add the rest, mounding in the center.
10. Take butter pieces and place evenly across the top of the apples.
11. Next, peel off one side of paper on remaining crust. Lay crust-side-down over the apples, making sure it’s not pulled tightly. Peel off paper.
12. Tuck the crust into the sides and roll up the bottom crust edge into the top.
13. Flute (which means to make a decorative edge on a pie crust) the crust however you like (I pinch it together between my two pointer fingers and thumbs).
14. Make air vents in the top using fork tines or a knife.
19. Bake for 30 minutes, then slip a baking sheet underneath the pie (to catch falling juices) and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
21. Bake until the pie is golden brown on top and the juice is bubbling around edges and vents, about 30 minutes more. Let cool at least 1 hour before serving.
Though pie is best served the day it’s made, it will keep at least 24 hours at room temperature and possibly up to 48 hours. Keep covered with foil. If you want to serve it warm later on, just reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.