As American as ... Apple Pie


This favorite dessert is the final entry to our Memorial Day menu. An American classic, filled with juicy apples, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg!  When you're pressed for time, as I was today, instead of making my own pate brisée, I used store-bought pie crusts from my grocer's refrigerated section.  The secret to this pie is Williams Sonoma's perforated pie tin that sits within a solid tin. Makes the crispiest crust and firmest apples.

This pie is a big winner for not a lot of effort.  It travels well, doesn't need refrigeration on first day, is delicious alone, works in every season and gets lots of oohs and aahs when you bring it to the table.  Perhaps best of all, it takes only 1-1/2 hours start to finish (one hour in the oven), and will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Ingredients

Pastry crust: Use your own favorite pate brisée or one box of refrigerated crusts
3 large organic Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in 2" rough pieces
3 large organic Red Delicious apples,  peeled, cored and cut in 2" rough pieces
3/4 cup sugar plus 2 tsp. for topping
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinammon plus 1/8 tsp. for topping
1-2 tbsp. butter

In large bowl, mix ingredients well with a wooden spoon.  Let sit for a few minutes while you spread the bottom crust in the pie tin.

Fill pie tin with apple mixture.  Brush the outer edges lightly with water using a pastry brush. Dot the top of the mixture with 1-2 tbsp. butter and top with the second crust. Fold top crust over bottom crust and crimp edges to seal.

Cut vents in top to prevent bursting in oven.  I always draw a little design on the top with a sharp knife -- initials if it is a birthday pie, an apple, a fir tree for Christmas or a pumpkin for Halloween. You can be creative!

Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top and bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees on center rack of oven. This will give maximum crisp to the crust.  After 30 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and move pie to upper third of oven.  Bake 30 minutes longer. Allow to cool two hours before cutting.  Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or all by itself!

Variations:

Add to apple mixture: 1/3 cup raisins, 1/3 cup walnuts and/or 1/3 cup dried cranberries. If adding all three, reduce to 1/4 cup each.

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