I like to use a mixture of half Granny Smith, which are firm and tart, and Macintosh, which are soft and sweet. The Macs will breakdown and give you an almost applesauce-like texture, with the bigger, intact pieces of Granny Smith suspended in it. I generally slice each apple into 12 wedges, then cut the wedges in half the short way.
Granny Smith. And half moon slices in layered spiral.
This is somewhat personal preference. If you like firm and tart, go with granny smith. But if you prefer something sweeter, you might go with yellow delicious, possibly in combo with granny smiths. I usually use a mix off apples (including but not limited to granny smiths, yellow delicious, and pink ladies), but i tend to stay away from macintoshes.
Another thing that I learned from Cooks Magazine that might be helpful, first take half you apples and cook them down on the stove a bit (not quite applesauce, but very soft), and put those in first when filling the pie, then put your remaining sliced apples. One thing that can be frustrating with an apple pie is piling the filling full of sliced apples (and other good stuff), putting the top crust on, seeing this beautiful mountain go into the oven, same mountain comes out (crust cooks at the initially propped up level) but the filling has cooked down so far that there can be a large gap between the filling and the top crust. Precooking/cooking down half your filling ahead of time will minimize this gap. AND (here's the real bonus in my mind) gives you space to put in EVEN MORE apples (yum!) to achieve that mountain, while minimizing the gap between top crust and the filling.
I like a combination of 4 large Jonagold apples and 2 large granny smith apples. Jonagolds are a cross between golden delicious and Jonathan apples which are mild ly sweet and become semi soft while holding their shape. I squeeze half a lemon and toss with the apples then mix 11/2 tbsp of flour with 3/4 cup sugar and add my favorite spice to taste. (I use 1/2tsp cinnamon only just enough to enhance the apples without overpowering them) and toss it with the apples. Last, I melt 1 - 2 tbsp butter and toss with the apples, again (I then don't have to remember to dot the top of the apples with butter before laying on the top crust!.) Allow mixture to mascerate while I roll out the pie dough.
I also do a combo, but of several different kinds of apples--Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and even Fuji or Cortland. There are just so many apple varieties that it seems a shame to stick to one, and the local markets are bursting with them.
We just made some crêpes with caramelized apples this morning, and they were fabulous, but for your pie, consider a generous addition of lemon peel and some candied ginger. The combo is especially good. Slice your apples about 1/4 inch thick. You can pre-cook the filling so the pie doesn't sink so much when you bake it, but I don't do this. Apple pie is a lovely, homely thing. Flaws just add to the charm for me.
I would recommend using an all-butter pastry crust, though. 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and about 7 tablespoons ice water (that's for a double-crust pie). The butter makes the whole thing that much more decadent, and if you're going old-school you might as well go all out (although some might argue that to go truly old school you'd have to make a lard crust--not a bad thing if you can find good lard).
a mixture of granny smith and Macintosh always yummy!
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