While at the local library last week, I was looking for some movies to watch for my family. I picked up a couple of movies that we hadn't seen in a few months (yes, we like to re-watch movies very often!) and then looked for something new. Browsing in the more "educational" shelves of videos, I stumbled upon a small section devoted to cooking shows! After picking through Rachel Ray and similar "newer" chefs, I found just what I was looking for: America's Test Kitchen Best Baking Recipes. So on Saturday night, while everyone else was busy with a party that we were hosting, I went downstairs with my dog (since one of the guests was comfortable with canines) and popped it in.
For the next two hours I was glued to the screen. Christopher Kimball went through different recipes with some of their test cooks, from a summer fruit galette to spice cookies to chocolate mousse cake. Another recipe that America's Test Kitchen made was Deep Dish Apple Pie. I watched, entranced, as the chefs showed how to make the best butter crust, cooked the prepared apples in a heavy sauce pan before putting them into the pie dish, and gave tips to keep the crust from sticking to your counter while rolling it out.
I went back later to re-watch that episode and copied down as best I could the directions for one of the best apple pies ever! This recipe I made today, and although I gave it a tweak here and there, was developed by America's Test Kitchen.
Here's the scoop for you:
Butter Pastry for Two-Crust Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
16 tbs. unsalted butter (pref. frozen)
3 tbs. sour cream
1/3 cup ice water
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Add in the butter (cut into small cubes).
Blend the butter with the dry mixture until the dough resembles very small peas.
Be careful to keep the butter from getting too soft. Refrigerate as necessary.
Mix together the sour cream and ice water, then pour into the dough.
Combine thoroughly and then separate into two equal balls of dough.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.
Deep Dish Apple Pie Filling
10-12 apples (half tart apples, such as Granny Smith, and half sweet, Golden Delicious)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
a little salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
Prepare the apples by peeling and cutting them into thin slices.
Add in the sugars, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest.
Put apples in a large heavy-bottomed pot, and cook lightly over a low heat for about 15-18 minutes. Be very careful not to let the apples boil or get overheated. You want to have them soft to easily pierce with a fork but still retain their shape.
Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet and spread them out to cool.
Back to the Pastry:
Roll out the dough.
Quick Hint: Before you roll it out, let it warm up a little bit so it won't crack when you roll it.
To keep it from sticking to your counter, tear off two sheets of wax paper and lightly flour both. Then place the dough between the sheets and roll away!
The pastry should measure 12in. by 12in. in a circle. Place on a baking sheet and put in the refrigerator to keep the butter cool.
Then roll out the other half of the pastry - this one will be the bottom half of the pie. Place in the pie dish and leave the edges to overlap.
Back to the filling:
The apples have now cooled, to pour them into a colander over a bowl to drain out the excess liquid.
Add the "dry" apples into the pie dish, then pour about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the cooked apples over the filling.
Bring out the cooled pastry and put on the top of the pie. Seal and trim the sides, then crimp the edge to your personal style.
Make sure you cut slits or holes in the top crust to let out the steam.
You can brush the top of the pie with beaten egg white, the sprinkle white sugar on top.
Bake in a 425F oven on a cookie sheet for about 1 hour, but make sure the top does not get too dark.
Let cool completely, for about two hours before serving. This allows the pie to set and is easier to cut.
Garnish each slice with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.