Pies have always seemed so labor intensive to me. Because of that I have always leaned towards cobblers, clafloutis and other deserts. Now that I have an apple orchard and many different kinds of berries I felt it was time to explore the world of pies.
I started by pulling out all my baking text books to learn about pie crusts. For me, I think a double crust pies are about the crust to fruit or filling ratio. Think about it, if you have a heaping amount of fruit with a thin crust you may has well have saved the effort and made a cobbler. The other things to consider are flakey, mealy or short dough. I happen to think mealy. Why because it cuts better and in general seems more tender to me. Lastly, to get this crust to filling ratio, I think the pie needs to be baked in an 8 inch tin that is styled after, or just use, the foil pie tins. A couple of reasons, once again it is shallow so the fruit doesn’t overwhelm the crust and vice versa and, finally, because the rim is the proper rim for crimping the crust or even a rope roll like an empanada might have. There is also no reason to refrigerate the dough as long as you roll it out right away.
In this crust I use a non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening because for me, unless I am going to use lard, it is the only way to get the right texture and rise to the crust. Yes, the crust needs to rise just a little like a biscuit. If it does this than it will be tender, yummy and delicious just like grandma used to make. *This pie is based loosely on the idea of a Fig Newton and as such should be eaten with coffee for breakfast or as an after dinner dessert served with a nice sherry. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld
Test Kitchen Notes
Using a combo of butter and shortening produces a tender and flakey crust. And making it with frozen butter in the food processor is a snap. The lovely, smooth filling is a wonderful step up from plain, old apple pie. - Stephanie —The Editors
For the pie crust
unsalted butter, left in a stick and frozen rock solid
2 1/2 cups
unbleached all purpose flour
finely ground salt
Spectrum Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening
ice cold water (up to 10, if needed)
egg white, for glazing the crust, beaten with a tablespoon of water
For the filling
2 1/4 cups
well spiced apple butter, homemade or bought at the farmers market
large eggs, plus the yolk from above
In This Recipe
In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar until frothy. Add the apple butter and whisk to combine. Set it aside.
Place a rack 1/3 from the top of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Get your mis en place together for the pie crust. Have a 8-inch pie pan ready.
Place the grater attachment into the bowl of a food processor and grate the frozen butter into the bowl. Immediately remove the grater and put the plastic dough or metal chopping blade in place. Add the flour, salt and shortening.
Pulse the mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Start adding the water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. It will still be partly floury crumbly with some wet cous cous looking dough in the center.
Dump the dough onto the counter. It will be crumbly still. Kneed it until it is smooth and hydrated, adding sprinkles of water if necessary. Divide the dough in half. Flatten it, then dust both sides with flour. Dust the countertop too. Roll out the bottom crust by setting your pin in the middle of a round and roll forward. Pick up the pin and place it back in the center and then roll backward.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and place the pin in the middle and roll away from you and then lift the pin and place it back in the center and roll it pulling backwards. Don't be afraid to dust the countertop with more flour if necessary, remember the counter top side of the dough will be down so the flour will be absorbed by the filling. If you are applying the same amount of pressure on each push of the pin you should wind up with a round dough bottom.
Using the rolling pin as the center gently roll the crust around the pin and the place it onto the pie pan. Gently push, pull and adjust the crust so that you have overhang all the way around the tin. Fill the pie with the filling.
Roll out the top crust just the same.
Brush some of the egg wash around the edges of the bottom crust to act as glue. Unroll the top crust and using the rolling pin gently roll it across the top of the pie to seal it.
Using a sharp knife run it around the outside edges of the pie tin cutting off the excess crust. Crimp the edges of the dough, brush the top with the egg wash and then slice a couple of small vents in the middle of the pie. Slice the vents after the egg wash otherwise you will seal the vents. Let the pie sit for 3 to 5 minutes so the crust absorbs the wash.
Place the pie on a sheet tray in case it overflows and then place it into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.
Rotate the pie, turn the heat down to 325° F and then bake for another 35 minutes. Cool completely. Serve and slice.