(American apple tart)
Apple desserts enclosed in crust have been made for hundreds of years in Northern Europe. Colonial settlers brought the recipe to the American colonies in the 1700s, where it acquired a double crust. After independence, this sweet treat became so identified with the new nation that the phrase "as American as apple pie" eventually entered into the lexicon.
Now enjoyed mostly for dessert, homemade apple pie was once considered suitable as a main dish for any meal, but especially breakfast. By mid-winter, when fresh fall apples were all used up, dried apples would stand in for the filling.
6 to 8 servings
- Tart, firm baking apples (see variations below) -- about 2 pounds
- Brown sugar -- 1/3 to 1/2 cup
- White sugar -- 1/4 cup
- Cinnamon -- 3/4 teaspoon
- Nutmeg -- 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt -- 1/4 teaspoon
- Lemon juice -- 1 tablespoon
- Flour -- 3 tablespoons
- Pie crust -- recipe for double crust
- Heavy cream (optional) -- 2 tablespoons
- Turbinado sugar (optional) -- 1 tablespoon
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel, core and slice the apples into wedges about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. You should have about 6 cups. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the sugar, spices, salt and lemon juice. Adjust sugar and seasoning to your taste, and then stir in the flour.
- Add the apples to a prepared pie crust in a pie pan and cover with a top crust. Fold the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and pinch together or press with the tines of a fork to seal the edge. Cut three or four slits in the top crust to allow for venting. Set the pie to chill for 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Remove the pie from the refrigerator and place it on a baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to brush the optional heavy cream over the top crust. Then sprinkle the top crust with the optional turbinado sugar.
- Place the baking sheet with the pie on the middle rack of the oven. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is bubbling. If the edges of the crust start to brown too much, cover them lightly with strips of aluminum foil.
- Remove the pie from the oven and cool for at least an hour before serving. Apple pie goes nicely with vanilla ice cream or a wedge of good Cheddar cheese.
Apple Pie Notes and Variations
- Best apples for apple pie: Good, firm apple varieties for pies include Granny Smith, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Pippin, Winesap, Cortland, Nothern Spy and Honeycrisp. If you can, choose a mix of varieties for added depth of flavor.
- Add rum-soaked raisins to the filling if you like.
- Substitute 4 tablespoons of cornstarch for the 3 tablespoons of flour to get a clearer, lighter filling.