The secret is shortening, which not only makes the crust extra flaky, but also eliminates the need to chill the crust before rolling. Fresh apple cider adds a subtle sweetness to the crust and makes it tender.
Oven-Fried Apple Pie with Spiced Shortening Crust
Position a rack on the lowest setting in the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Make the crust: Whisk the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the shortening and cut in with a pastry cutter or mix with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pebbles. Add the cider and stir with a fork until the mixture comes together in large clumps. Press the clumps into one mass, then divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Form each into a 1-inch-thick disk.
Place the larger disk on a sheet of parchment paper and cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll into a 12 ½-inch round, lifting and replacing the plastic wrap as needed. Flip the dough over so the plastic-covered side is down and peel off the parchment. Flip the dough into a 9-inch pie dish (not deep-dish), centering it, then press gently into the bottom and up the sides. Peel off the plastic and refrigerate the dough in the dish.
Place the other disk on the parchment, cover with plastic wrap, and roll into a 12-inch round. Cut the round into 1 ½-inch-thick strips, using a fluted-edge cutter, if desired. Slide onto a baking sheet and refrigerate.
Make the filling: Peel the apples, then cut into quarters. Cut each quarter into 1/4-inch-thick slices crosswise. Whisk the cornstarch, salt, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add the apples and lemon juice and fold until evenly coated.
Place the chilled bottom crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Take a handful of apple slices and spread in the crust, pressing into a flat layer. Repeat with the remaining apples, flattening each addition to eliminate any gaps before adding the next. Pour any accumulated liquid from the bowl over the apples. Arrange the dough strips on top parallel to one another so that they’re nearly touching. Trim the edges of the top and bottom crusts so that there’s three-quarters-inch overhang. Tuck the overhang under so the edges are flush with the rim of the pan. Crimp the edges decoratively.
Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush a dough strip with water and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough strips (working one strip at a time gives you enough time to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on before the water evaporates).
Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the filling tender and bubbling, about 1 hour. If you slide a paring knife into the filling, it should slide through easily. Cool completely in the pan on a rack before serving.