So the other day we shared a simple chess pie recipe with you, but now it’s time to get down to business. Thanksgiving is here, and we need a thanksgiving pie. While pumpkin and sweet potato are certainly excellent choices, my favorite pie for thanksgiving (if not of all-time), is the apple pie. I’ve gone through numerous apple pie recipes, but I’m really liking this one from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking right now. Here I’m going to concentrate on the filling and not the crust as it seems everyone has their favorite crust recipe. However, we will do a write-up with some pictures at some point. We have to make a Christmas pie after all!
- 2 balls of pie dough for the top and bottom (chilled for at least 1 hr)
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 7 medium Granny Smith apples
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Laird’s Bonded apple brandy
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
Start with a lightly floured work surface. Unwrap one of your dough balls and plop it down on your work surface. Roll the thing out into a 12″ round. Transfer to a pie pan (I like to roll the thing around a rolling pin for easy transport, just make sure it is lightly floured). Carefully work the dough into your pie dish and fold the edges under themselves and crimp however you’d like (I’m not very good at this part, sigh). Wrap the pie pan up and freeze it for at least 2 hours (you can keep it in there for up to three months!).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the cornstarch and brown sugar in a bowl. Peel and core the apples and cut them into little 1/8″ wedges.
Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring occasionally until the butter begins to brown. Once the butter is browned evenly, dump in half of your apple wedges. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are softened.
Add the remaining apples and the cornstarch/sugar mixture. Mix until the sugar has melted, then add vanilla, brandy, and cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes or until the filling is thick and bubbly.
Dust a work surface with flour, Unwrap the second dough ball, and roll it out into a 12″ round.
Pour all of that yummy filling into your frozen pie crust, and top with the second dough round. Trim the dough, leaving about a 1/2″ overhang. Crimp the edges together, brush with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut a few steam vents into the top crust.
Bake the pie until the filling starts bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool the pie on a rack for 1 hour, and serve.
I have to say that I ran into a bit of a crust problem in my first apple pie attempt of the year, but this filling was resilient enough to make it the best apple pie ever!
Note that you will find yourself with a nearly full bottle of Laird’s bonded apple brandy after making this pie, and you may be wondering what on earth you can do with it. Here’s an option:
Pan American Clipper
Adapted from The Gentleman’s Companion, by Charles H. Baker, Jr., 1939
- 1 1/2 ounces applejack (Baker recommends Calvados; I went with Laird’s bonded)
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/4 ounce homemade grenadine (to taste, depending on sweetness)
- 1 dash absinthe
Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Proceed.
I’ve also experimented with subbing allspice dram for the grenadine, or using a combination. It helps punch up the holiday vibe. Definitely try it if you have some on hand. Also, please use good grenadine, preferably your own!