There’s no more comforting or classic fall dessert than apple pie. And while many recipes call for precooking apples, this is a simple, straightforward approach that still delivers great results. A mix of tart and sweet apples combines with sugar, flour and just enough cinnamon to perfume the fruit in a buttery, crispy crust that beautifully contrasts with the fruity filling. To make your life easier, make the pie dough the day before you need it so you can roll and assemble the pie the day you plan to serve.
This recipe is part of our Guide to Classic Thanksgiving, a collection of simple recipes for timeless holiday dishes to make this year and for years to come.
On a floured work surface, roll one chilled dough disk until 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie dish, leaving a 1-inch overhang all around and trimming any excess. Place the pastry-lined pie tin in the refrigerator. Repeat rolling the second dough disk and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; place it in the refrigerator too.
In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Set aside with a pastry brush nearby.
Make the filling: Peel and core the apples, then cut them into ½-inch-thick wedges (you should have 992 grams / 2 pounds 3 ounces prepared apples). Transfer the slices to a large bowl and add the sugar, flour, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine and ensure each apple slice is coated in the sugar mixture.
Remove the pastry-lined pie dish and the baking sheet from the refrigerator and let them stand for 5 minutes; this allows the dough to become pliable again. Scrape the apples into the pie dish, mounding them in the center, then use your hands to nestle the apples so they all fit.
Using the pastry brush, brush some egg wash along the edge of the pastry in the dish. Drape the second sheet of pastry over the apples and lightly press the edge where the two sheets of pastry meet. Using scissors, trim excess from the top pastry so that it is flush with the bottom pastry’s edge. Fold the overhanging pastry underneath itself so it forms a thick rim that’s flush with the edge of the pie dish. Crimp the rim with your fingers or a fork. Return the pie to the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and brush the top and sides with more egg wash. Using a paring knife, cut 4 slits in the top of the pie plus one hole in the center, so steam can escape from the apples while they bake; this also helps ensure the top pastry gets crisp. Place the pie on a parchment paper- or foil-lined baking sheet, then transfer to the oven.
Bake until the pastry is golden brown all over, the juices are bubbling up through the hole in the center of the top of the pie, and the apples are fully tender, 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely to room temperature before serving.
Basic Pie Pastry Dough
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to pinch and rub it into the flour repeatedly until pea-size crumbles form. Pour in the water and use a fork to toss (not stir) the butter-flour mixture until it’s evenly moistened.
Scrape the crumbly mass onto a clean work surface and pat and smush gently until it starts to form a solid piece of dough. Cut the dough in half, then flatten each piece into a disk, patting the edges to smooth them. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
After 2 days, freeze the pastry to store long-term, letting it thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before using.
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