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recipe: double-crust apple pie

July 24, 2011

You’ve seen me write a few times that I don’t consider myself a baker. A lover of baked goods, yes. But having the patience to bake? Not so much. You have to be so precise with baking – and it takes time. Time! I don’t want to wait for something scrumptious and delicious.

However, this weekend, I flexed my waiting and baking muscles. I made a pie. A double-crust pie. Can you believe it?! (I couldn’t either, but it’s true.)

Right before I left my office on Friday, I was given free fruit – leftovers from a recent music camp that was held in our building all week. I wouldn’t turn down free fruit, no sirree, so I grabbed several oranges and 5 large Granny Smith apples. One of my co-workers suggested baking a pie with the apples, and I thought, why not? My husband and I were hosting one of our old friends for the weekend so I already knew it would be a weekend of feasting and fun. Lots of food involved. Why not bake a pie for his visit?

I looked at several cookbooks in my collection, for a simple apple pie recipe. The winner for my baking challenge was a recipe from the book “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”, a cookbook chock-full of recipes and cooking tips, complete with wonderful step-by-step directions. Just what I needed. I mean, I’ve made a pie from scratch before, long time ago, with a friend’s assistance but not since then. To make the occasional holiday pie, I would just use store-bought crust.

I know, I know. It’s edible, but not nearly as good as homemade crust.

But back to the pie. Thanks to Martha Stewart’s instructions, I confidently made pate brisee (the dough) by hand since I didn’t have a fancy food processor nor a pastry blender to cut the butter with.

This particular recipe makes enough dough for two crusts, perfect for a double-crust apple pie.

Ingredients for Pate Brisee

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp table salt (the original recipe called for coarse salt but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (2 ¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small ¾ inch pieces
  • 7 tbsp cold water, plus more if needed (the recipe called for ice water but I just used cold water, hoping for the best)

To make by hand, without a food processor or pastry blender:

1. Put the first four ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together, so all the dry ingredients are combined well.

2. Add the butter pieces and using your fingers, squish the butter into the flour mixture, until the mixture looks like “coarse crumbs to the size of small peas.”

3. Add the water by drizzling it bit by bit over the flour mixture, mixing it with a fork until the dough just holds together.

4. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and knead it once or twice to shape it. Cut it in half and make each into disks, about 4 inches in diameter. Put each disk in a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour or overnight.

While the pate brisee was chilling in the fridge, I slowly worked to peel and cut the apples while chatting with my husband and our friend in the kitchen. (Have I told you how much I love having an open kitchen? My long countertop overlooks into the living room, so I am not left out of conversations whenever we’re entertaining guests.) Add a few simple ingredients to the apples and voila – you have the pie filling:

Ingredients for Double-Crust Apple Pie (slightly modified)

  • 5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch thick slices
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Stir the dry ingredients together with the apples and apple juice. Make sure all the apple pieces are well-coated.

Making the pie filling was easy enough but rolling out the dough was a bit challenging for this pie newbie. I think maybe it’s why I have shied away from making my own dough in the past. But challenging as it was, I still did it.

1. Roll out the first disk onto a lightly floured surface, rolling until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick and at least 13 inches in diameter (for a 9-inch glass pie plate). Carefully roll the dough around your rolling pin and then unroll it over the pie plate. (Because I was super excited about making the pie, I didn’t read this particular direction and just lifted, very carefully, the dough off the surface and draped it onto the plate. Don’t do what I do. It’s tricky and you’ll run into possible tearing the dough. Thankfully, that didn’t happen to me.)

2. Fill the pie plate with the apples and dot it with butter.

3. Trim the dough that hangs over the edge of the pie plate – you can use kitchen shears or your fingers to do this.

4. Roll out the second disk of dough and cover the pie plate with it.

5. Using your thumb and index finger, press the dough to seal the two crusts together and make the squiggly design that you often see on pies 🙂

6. Make four 3-inch slits in the middle of the pie, so that steam can escape.

7. Refrigerate the pie for 20 minutes. Line the lower rack of your oven with foil to catch any juices bubbling from the pie when you bake it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. After the pie is chilled, make the glaze/egg wash:


  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp non-fat milk
  • granulated sugar for spinkling

Whisk the yolk and the milk together in a small bowl. Brush the mixture over the top crust and lightly sprinkle the sugar over the pie.

You’re almost done!

1. Use the oven rack that’s above the one lined with foil. Bake the pie at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.

2. Then, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake the pie for 70-85 minutes, until the bottom & top crusts are a nice golden brown and you can see juices bubbling in the center of the pie. Tent the pie with a piece of foil if the crust is browning too quickly.

3. When the pie is done baking, cool completely (at least 4 hours). Buuuut, if you are like me (as well as trying to feed two hungry guys), you don’t wait but you devour the pie, adding vanilla ice cream to make pie a la mode.

4. Keep eating the rest of the pie for the next several meals.

Yep – that’s what we did 😉

I think this pie has *magical powers. I ate a slice before going to the bowling alley – and I actually broke a 100 for my first game. I usually don’t ever break a 50! Granted, my second bowling game was not so good but still. I’ll take any high score that I can get.

(*You know I’m kidding, right? Hehe.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2011 2:45 am

    oh yum!! I’m going to have to make this for sure!!

    • July 29, 2011 6:39 pm

      it was a long process but it’s so good! i’m excited to make another pie but my husband has said not too make them too often! haha

  2. August 1, 2011 2:10 am

    that looks ridiculously good!! ahh i love apple pie!

    • August 1, 2011 4:01 pm

      thanks, amy! it was sooo delicious. thankfully it’s kind of hard to make so I won’t be making it a lot ,haha.

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