Fall…the season a cook dreams of. For some reason everything just tastes better, am I right? The harvest is an abundance of beets, rutabagas, root veggies, and a generous variety of squash, apples and pumpkins. It could be the cool breeze in the air, the faint smell of campfires and s’mores on October nights, or the fact that this is my favorite season in Kentucky, but hearty dishes like chili, cassoulet, butternut squash bisque, and homemade apple pie in the fall just warms my soul.
If you haven’t experienced apple picking in Kentucky at a local orchard you are just missing out. It’s the perfect time of the season to hit a country road and stop off at an orchard to enjoy the harvest. Take a camera with a picnic lunch and make a day of it. When you are finished pickin’ you have all the makings of a delicious double crusted homemade apple pie. Yes, I said homemade folks and that includes the crust! Trust me, I am not a proficient baker and the thought of a homemade pie dough used to make me cringe inside. I have since discovered the convenience of a food processor and the art of patience. Take your time and follow the steps. I promise it is sooo worth it! This pie dough recipe will yield two crusts for a double crusted apple pie. (Go big or go home, right?)
Homemade Pie Dough
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 recipe for apple pie filling (see below)
1 large egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon warm water
Pie Dough preparation
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
Remove the butter from the fridge and unwrap. Use a paring knife to cut it into several small cubes.
Scatter the cubes of butter over the surface of the flour. Attach the food processor lid and pulse 15 to 20 times until the mixture resembles
Remove the lid and sprinkle 4 tablespoons of ice water over the surface of the butter-flour mixture. Pulse 4 to 5 times to combine. Check to see if the dough is holding together by squeezing a bit in your hand — if it holds together, it’s ready; if it breaks apart easily, add a little more water as needed. Turn the pie dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide the dough into two piles. Use the palm of your hand to gather and press each mound into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Remove one of the disks of dough from the fridge. Sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough into a circle roughly 12 to 13 inches in diameter (a few inches larger than your pie pan). Use firm strokes and work the dough as little as possible. If the dough cracks when you first start rolling, let it stand for one minute to warm slightly before rolling again. Use more flour if the dough starts to stick and be sure to flour your rolling pin. Use a pastry scraper to lift the pastry from the work surface and make sure it’s not sticking.
Sprinkle the top of the pie crust and your rolling pin with a little flour. Lay your rolling pin on one edge of the pie crust and begin gently rolling the pie crust over the rolling pin and move it to the pie pan and gently unroll. Ease the pie crust into the corners of the pan. Trim all but an inch or two of the pie dough from around the edge; use the trimmings to patch up any holes or tears.
Transfer the pie pan with pie crust to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
While the crust is chilling, heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position. While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling.
Apple Pie Filling
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 lb. Orchard Apples
1 lb Granny Smith apples (about 2-1/2 medium)
1 lemon juiced and 1 tsp zest
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon; more to taste
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 TBSP bourbon whiskey
1 TBSP cold unsalted butter cut into small (1/4-inch) cubes
Peel the apples, cut each in half from top to bottom, remove the cores with a melon baller, and trim the ends with a paring knife. Lay the apples, cut side down, on a cutting board. Cut apples crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Put the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
Combine the brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, kosher salt, bourbon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Combine the sugar mixture with the apples and toss to coat well. Mound the apples in the pie plate, rearranging the fruit as needed to make the pile compact. Dot the apples with the 1 Tbs. cold butter cubes.
Remove the pie pan with crust from the refrigerator and fill it with the prepared filling.
Remove the second disk of dough from the fridge. Following the same instructions for the bottom crust, roll it into a circle roughly 11 to 12 inches in diameter and transfer it to the top of the pie.
Trim the edges of the top crust. Press the top and the bottom crusts gently together and fold them under themselves around the pie. Crimp the edges or press them lightly with a fork to seal.
Brush the entire crust with the egg yolk wash. Use a sharp paring knife to cut several vents into the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F: Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
Lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking the pie for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. If the edges of the crust start to darken too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil.