Apple Pie

A bit of a project, but now that you’re a cook, how can you not try it?
TIME About 2 hours
MAKES One 9-inch pie (about 8 servings)
1 recipe Basic Piecrust, rolled and chilled
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch salt
5 or 6 apples (about 2 pounds; anything but Red Delicious)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ tablespoons cornstarch, optional
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Milk as needed
Granulated sugar as needed

1 Make the crusts to the point where they’re rolled (with the bottom crust fitted into a pie plate) and resting in the fridge. Heat the oven to 425°F.

2 Toss together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and cut them into ½- to ¾-inch-thick slices. Toss the apples and lemon juice with the sugar spice mixture; stir in the cornstarch if you’re using it. Remove the crusts from the fridge.

3 Put the apples into the bottom crust, making the pile a little higher in the center than at the sides. Dot the top with the butter. Roll the top crust halfway onto a rolling pin so it’s easy to move, center it over the pie, and unroll it over the top. Trim off the overhanging dough, then crimp the top and bottom crust together with the tines of a fork to seal and decorate the crust.

4 Put the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and brush the top lightly with milk; sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Cut several 2-inch-long slits in the top with a paring knife so steam can escape. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and flaky. Cool on a rack, cut into wedges, and serve warm or at room temperature. To store, cover loosely with foil and eat within a day or two.

  • Blackberry Pie: Use 3 pints blackberries instead of the sliced apples. Skip the cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Peach Pie: Use peaches instead of apples and skip the cinnamon and nutmeg if you like.
  • Cherry Pie: Use 3 pints pitted sweet cherries (frozen are fine, which makes this a nice wintertime treat; thaw them out in a colander while you make the crust). Skip the spices.

  • To choose an apple for pie, pick what you like to eat. As a general rule, crisp apples soften but keep their shape during baking; mealy ones break down and get saucy.
  • You don’t need to peel the apples. If the skin is thin, unwaxed, and not bitter—or if you just happen to like it—don’t bother. But just so you know: Chances are they’ll at least partially separate from the flesh during baking.
  • Cornstarch thickens the juices that release from the apples as they cook. If you like a thicker, more syrupy filling, use the cornstarch; if you like a runnier pie, leave it out.

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