Pastry Chef and Girl with the Golden Smile
A Thanksgiving meal isn't complete until you end it with a slice of perfect apple pie.
When I was growing up, my grandma always took on the job of making what seemed like hundreds of pies for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember pulling a stool up to the counter, helping her stir, and putting together pies all day long—of course sneaking tastes along the way.
When I got older and more into baking, I decided that I wanted to contribute a pie of my own to Thanksgiving. Thus, my journey began to make the perfect apple pie. Through many trials and errors, from soggy crusts and soupy fillings to pie dry as the desert and sprawls of notes filling a notebook, I finally found the sweet spot of what I consider to be a perfect apple pie: a sweet, flakey, buttery tart shell filled with the crisp sweet flavor of golden delicious apples caramelized in cinnamon sugar. I was finally ready to bring my pie to dinner, thus beginning a new Thanksgiving tradition that's been going on for seven or eight years.
Perfect Apple Pie
Pie Filling Ingredients:
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 3 lb golden delicious apples
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp caramel sauce (optional)
- Peel and chop apples into bite-sized pieces.
- Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, and apples.
- Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add half the apples. Cook over medium-high heat until golden and caramelized.
- Transfer to a large bowl and repeat Step 3 with remaining butter and apples. Let cool completely.
Tart Shell Crust Ingredients:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3½ cups flour
- Add butter and sugar to a food processor and blend until just combined.
- Add the eggs and blend for 30 seconds. Add flour in small portions and blend until dough just comes together. (Do not over blend.)
- Add a tablespoon of cold water if dough is too dry. Divide and shape into two disks and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Roll out one disk of crust to about 1⁄8 inch thick. Place in a 9-inch pie pan, and trim off excess pastry around edges.
- Add cooled apples to the pie shell and brush the edge of the crust with water. Roll out remaining crust and place over the top. (I like to do a lattice.) Crimp edges and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.