American apple pie – taste of travel

Recipes from around the world

Apple Pie is one of the most popular dishes here in the United States. Whether in the form of a covered pies or with a grid, Apple Pie is almost always seen as the epitome of the United States. It is not for nothing that the saying goes: "As American as apple pie." Now that I have been living here in Boston for more than three years, an "old fashioned apple pie" should not be missing on the blog. There is already a pie recipe on the blog, namely one with strawberries. Now that they are no longer in season, it is the turn of apples. I would say that Apple Pie is something like the apple strudel for Americans like we Austrians (recipe here). A classic that almost everyone likes and for which there are hundreds of different recipes. Of course, only your own family recipe is the real deal. After not having a family recipe at Pie, I made my own.

Tip for crispy pie crust

The pie crust, i.e. the dough base and lid, is made from short pastry. I used the recipe from my strawberry pie because it worked very well and just always works. The dough tastes so great, by the way, that when I roll it out and fit it into its shape, I always look forward to as many dough remnants as possible, which I knead into a thaler (similar to American "biscuits") and bake in the oven next to the pie.

I brush the shortcrust pastry with a mixture of egg white and water before adding the filling. This prevents the liquid from seeping into the bottom of the dough and the dough remains crisp – a tip that I discovered in Sheila Lukin’s “USA Cookbook”. Another tip that I take to heart is to use a self-made "Pie-Shield" made of aluminum foil. The edges of pies often become a bit too dark – a piece of aluminum foil can easily prevent this (see video instructions here).

The pie crust can be prepared up to three days in advance. The best way to do this is to roll out the dough into slices approx. 2 cm thick, wrap it thoroughly in cling film and store in the refrigerator. Before rolling out, you have to give the dough some time to get used to the room temperature, otherwise it will break very easily.

The pie gets its most beautiful golden brown color if it is brushed with a mixture of egg yolk and milk before baking.

A traditional apple pie filling

As for the filling, I chose a very classic and traditional variant without much fanfare. The filling consists of slightly sour apples (here Jonagold), sugar, cinnamon, some nutmeg and some cornstarch to thicken. The only thing that may not be entirely authentic is the reduced sugar content. Many recipes use 150 to 200 grams of sugar for a classic pie shape (23 cm ∅), which I also use here. I have baked this apple pie twice, once with 120 grams of sugar and once with 100 grams and find 100 g is sufficient. Of course, that depends heavily on the acidity of the apples. You can also dust the finished pie with icing sugar if it is not sweet enough. Not to mention the scoop of vanilla ice cream that apple pies are often served with.

According to the baking method at the bottom of the recipe section at 200 ° C top and bottom heat for around 45 minutes, the apples become soft, but do not crumble. The first time I tried it, I baked the pie at 175 ° C. It took a full 1.5 hours to turn golden brown and the apples were overcooked afterwards. I used the same apple variety (Jonagold) both times. Of course, it also generally depends on the type of apple to what extent the apples keep their shape or become mushy. But after this experiment I have the feeling that a long baking time at a slightly reduced temperature also affects the result. The pie tastes better if the apples don’t completely crumble, so this recipe can also be found below.

I think Apple Pie tastes best lukewarm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little caramel sauce. The caramel sauce is quick to make yourself and stays in the fridge for a long time. I only used it the first time because I still had the sauce from the Ice Cream Sundaes, but I find the taste result perfect with this combination. From now on there is always a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

Step by step recipe for American Apple Pie

Work the cold butter into the flour with the Blitzhacker or with your fingers.

First prepare the shortcrust pastry after it has been left to rest in the refrigerator for an hour. Cut 180 g of cold butter into small pieces and place in the freezer while preparing the remaining ingredients. Mix 300 g flour, 3/4 tsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar (exact ingredients in the recipe section below) in a large bowl. Work the cold pieces of butter into the flour mixture in a food processor with a cutting insert or directly in the bowl with your fingertips until you get a crumbly mass.

The cold butter is worked into the flour mixture.

Mix 90 ml (approx. 9 tbsp) ice water into the flour mixture with a spoon.

Add ice water and quickly knead into a dough.

Knead the crumbly mass quickly into a dough so that the butter does not melt.

Divide the dough and roll out into two thick slices.

Divide the dough into two pieces, one part should be slightly larger (approx. 320 g and 270 g). Roll out each piece of dough on a floured work surface the size of a plate. Let the dough rest in the cling film wrapped in cling film for at least one hour.

Cut the apples into thin slices.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Peel and quarter 1 kg of apples, remove the core and cut the quarters into thin slices. Drizzle a little lemon juice over the apples so that they don’t brown too much.

Keep the apples and sugar mixture separate until just before baking.

Mix 100 g of sugar, 20 g of starch, 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg in a bowl (this will not cause the starch to clump), but do not mix with the apples yet. Mix apples and sugar mixture just before the filling comes into the form, otherwise the filling will become liquid.

Roll out the dough base and fit into the shape.

Take the larger half of the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin on a well-floured work surface. If the dough has been in the refrigerator for longer than an hour (e.g. overnight), let it warm briefly at room temperature before rolling it out. Turn and flour the dough again and again while rolling out. Roll out the dough slightly larger than the shape – include side walls and at least 1 cm overhang. Lightly flour the surface of the dough again, fold the dough in half, then carefully fold it in a quarter again and lift it into the form (see picture above). The tip of the dough should be exactly in the middle of the form.

Carefully unfold the dough and fit it into the form. No air bubbles should be included and the dough should hang over the edge. Incidentally, the dough is easy to mend and piece together if there are holes. Cool the dough base in the form and roll out the other half of the dough – also slightly larger than the form.

As soon as the pie lid is rolled out, take the pie bottom out of the fridge and brush with a protein mixed with 1 tablespoon of water. This keeps the dough crispy, as the protein prevents the liquid from seeping into the dough.

Mix the apples with the sugar mixture.

Mix apples with the starch-sugar mixture …

Fill the pie with the apples.

… and fill into the pie form. In the middle of the form, a small hill can be created.

Place the second half of the dough on the filling and trim and fold in the edges.

Place the second rolled-out dough on it, press the edges together and cut the dough overhang of both doughs to a 1 cm overhang with scissors. Pound the dough down from the bottom and lid …

… And decorate it decoratively. I chose this variant. Shape the remaining dough into a thaler and bake it in the oven next to the pie.

Brush the pie with a mixture of egg yolk and milk.

Mix the egg yolks with 2 teaspoons of milk (or water) and gently brush the pie with them. (Attention, the dough is soft).

Make slits in the dough lid so that steam can escape.

Cut a few slits in the dough with a knife so that steam can escape. Fasten aluminum strips around the form, which can be folded over the edges after about half an hour of baking. The edges are otherwise often too crispy. You can find detailed instructions here, for example.

Bake the pie until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Bake the pie in the preheated oven at 200 ° C top and bottom heat for about 45 minutes until the top is golden. After about 25 minutes of baking time, fold the aluminum foil over the edge.

Only cut the pie when it is lukewarm, as the filling still thickens as it cools down.

Take the pie out of the oven, let cool and enjoy lukewarm – takes about 1/2 – 1 hour.

Serve the pie either as it is or dusted with icing sugar …

… Or even better: with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little caramel sauce (you can find my recipe here, from image 4).

This is what the Apple Pie looks like one day after being cut, stored at room temperature.

The filling thickens considerably when it cools down. If something is left over, I store the apple pie at room temperature for a day, leave it in the mold and cover it with a sheet of baking paper. I put a tea towel over it. This keeps the pie crust nice and crunchy. If there is still a piece left after a day (probably not the case), I store the pie in a Tupper jar in the fridge and warm it up before eating. Portioned pieces need about 5-10 minutes in the oven to reheat at 190 ° C top and bottom heat.

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