As we head into Thanksgiving, the year’s busiest time for homemade pie, we asked Linda Lomelino, the creator of the blog Call Me Cupcake! and author of Lomelino’s Pies (Roost Books, Oct.), for tips on how to craft the ultimate holiday pie. Lomelino also shared her recipe for the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, Classic Apple Pie.
Tips for the Perfect Pie
1.) I think metal pie pans are the best because they distribute the heat well, which, in turn, makes the pie shell nice and crisp. Sometimes I use glass or porcelain pans, but primarily for crumble pies that do not have a shell. Do not bake crumble pies in a springform pan with a removable bottom. They are not always completely tight, and the pie can leak out into the oven—believe me, I’ve tried.
2.) Let the filling cool. The filling should never be warm when you pour it into the pie shell, no matter whether the shell is blind-baked or not. If you pour a warm filling into an unbaked pie shell, the butter in the dough will begin to melt. If you pour a warm filling into a blind-baked pie shell, the shell will soak up the moisture of the filling and soften.
3.) It is good to transfer a filled pie to the freezer 15 minutes before baking so that the pie can hold its shape and won’t shrink as much in the oven. As the pie cools, the butter in the crust will chill again and won’t melt as quickly when the pie is baked
4.) I usually bake pies at a high temperature to begin with and then reduce the heat. I do this primarily so the pie dough can firm up and bake quickly, thus holding its shape, and also so the pie will take on a good color.
5.) A baked fruit pie, such as the Classic Apple Pie, can last up to five days in the refrigerator but is best the first two days. If you know that you are not going to eat the entire pie, you can cut it into pieces and freeze the pieces in a freezer container or something similar. That way, it will be easy to thaw only one piece of pie when you are tempted.
CLASSIC APPLE PIE
Baking an apple pie is so rewarding because there are so many different varieties of apples available with differing harvest times. You can get good apples from late summer well into winter. Apples can also be stored for a long time provided they are kept cold. The choice of apples for this pie affects both the flavor and the consistency. I prefer using apples that are firmer and more acidic for baking; for example, Ingrid Marie or Aroma, which are Swedish varieties, or Cortland or Golden Delicious work well.
1 pie, 8 inches in diameter, 8–10 servings
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2½ tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¼ cups (9¾ ounces) cold butter
5–7 tablespoons ice-cold water
3½ pounds apples
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup light Muscovado sugar (firmly packed in measuring cup)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (to sprinkle over bottom crust)
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon Turbinado or raw cane sugar
1. Mix the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Dice the butter and add it to the flour. Use your fingers to pinch the butter into the flour until the dough is crumbly.
2. Add the cold water gradually and mix it in with a fork. If the dough coheres when pressed together, it has enough water.
3. Flatten the dough somewhat and cover it completely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
1. Peel, core, and slice the apples.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold all the apples. Add the apples, granulated sugar, Muscovado sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix the ingredients, stirring carefully. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer it over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until the apples have softened and begun releasing their liquid. Stir occasionally.
3. Sprinkle in the 2 tablespoons of flour and the cornstarch, stir, and continue simmering for another 2 minutes, until the liquid has thickened slightly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the apple mixture cool completely.
Rolling Out the Crust and Baking the Pie
1. Preheat the oven to 435°F.
2. On a floured work surface, roll out a little more than half of the dough until it’s about 1–8 inch thick. Lay this bottom crust in the pie pan and refrigerate it.
3. Roll out the rest of the dough until it’s about 11 inches in diameter; cut it into strips with a knife or pizza cutter.
4. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator. Mix the 2 teaspoons of flour and 2 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the bottom crust. Add the apple mixture. Brush the edges with water. Weave a lattice top with the dough strips (see page 16). Cut away any excess overhang, leaving about 1¼ inches all around, and decorate with a fork or method of your choice (see page 18). Otherwise, cut away the overhang, leaving a narrow rim. Place the pie in the freezer for 15 minutes.
5. To make the glaze, whisk the egg, milk, and salt in a small bowl. Remove the pie from the freezer and glaze brush it with this mixture, and then sprinkle the Turbinado sugar on top.
6. Bake the pie on the lower rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake it for another 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbly. If the piecrust looks like it is becoming too dark toward the end of the baking time, cover the top crust—or only the edges, as necessary—with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely.
From Lomelino’s Pies by Linda Lomelino, © 2017 by Linda Lomelino. Photographs by Linda Lomelino, © 2017 by Linda Lomelino. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com