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Akiko Kondo's Double-Crusted Apple Pie

Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 6 to 8
Akiko Kondo’s Double-Crusted Apple Pie

Apple filling

1

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the apples and stir gently to coat the apples evenly with the melted butter. Sprinkle the apples with the sugar and cook until the apples become semi-translucent, but still hold their shape, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. If too much liquid remains in the pan, remove the apples and continue cooking the liquid until it has reduced to a syrup. Return the apples to the pan and let cool completely.

Pie crust

1

Place the flour and salt in the middle of a flat surface. Make a well in the flour mixture. Put the butter in the well. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Scoop the loose flour from the sides and quickly work it into the butter. Continue this process until the mixture becomes large pea-size lumps. This should take about a minute. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of chilled water over the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, pat and press the dough together into a ball. If the dough is still dry and loose, add an additional tablespoon or two of chilled water. Continue patting and pressing the dough until you can mold it into a disk, about 6 inches in diameter. Divide the dough in half, form each half into a disk and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2

Once the dough has chilled, lightly flour a flat surface and a rolling pin. Take 1 disk of dough out of the refrigerator to make the bottom crust. Beginning from the center of the disk, roll out the dough to the edges to make a circle, slightly larger than a 9-inch pie pan and about 1/8-inch thick. Roll only in one direction. Keep rotating the circle as you roll, so it doesn’t stick to the flat surface. Fold the dough in half and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Unfold the circle and press it into the pan with your fingers and allow the dough to hang over the pie pan. Chill the pan in the refrigerator while you roll out the top dough.

3

For the top dough, repeat the same rolling process.

Assembly

1

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2

Pour the apple filling into the bottom crust, spreading evenly in the pan. Roll the top dough around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the filling, pressing the top and bottom crusts together to seal. Use a wet fork to crimp the rim of the pie. Use the tines of a fork to poke some holes in the top crust for ventilation.

3

Beat the egg yolk and milk and brush over the top of the pie to make a shiny glazed finish. Set the pie pan on a baking sheet and bake until the top crust is golden, about 65 to 70 minutes. Let the pie cool a little before serving.

Optional decoration: To make a rose, use 2 (2-inch square) pieces of leftover dough. Slit a 1/2-inch cross in the middle of each square. Take one square and place it on top of the other but slide it to the left so the corners do not match. Gently tuck the corners under to open the slit that you made in the middle of each square. As the slits open, you will see the dough transform into a rose. Cut out leaves with the remaining dough, making shallow slits for the veins with a knife. Glaze with the egg yolk mixture and bake the pie.
My mother likes the natural flavors of the apples and dislikes cinnamon--the common flavoring for American apple pies. My sister, the pastry chef, recommends vanilla to flavor the apples in a pie, which I like. Simply split a piece of vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar. Then add the flavored sugar to the apples. If vanilla bean is not available, add about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the pan immediately after the apples turn transparent in cooking. The filling is not thickened. Tart apples, especially Pippin, do not produce much liquid during cooking, but if they do, simply take the semi-cooked apples out of the pan and let the liquid reduce to a syrup and then pour it back over the apples.

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