Your best apple pie recipe
I made Maida Heatter's Mom's Apple Pie for Thanksgiving, using 9 large pippins. I used all butter in the crust (not part Crisco), but it still came out flakey & delicious. The filling is cooked, gently, with orange juice and then drained. I actually made the filling the night before, so it REALLY drained and I think that helped. It was not at all soggy. It got rave reviews!
I have two big rules for apple pie:
1. Use Jonathan apples.
2. Resist the urge to add spices. No, I am not kidding. Use a great cooking apple, sugar, and flour to thicken, then top with butter. Let the apple flavor and the brown crust speak for themselves. Skipping the cinnamon will make you VERY happy. I love cinnamon, but it does not belong in apple pie. Trust me.
1. For the pie I made the other day, I used 10-12 apples (Granny Smith, Honey crisp, Nittany, and Macs, which were small), sliced about 1/8-1/4-inch thick
2. I tossed them with about 1/3 c sugar, cinnamon, fresh ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg, and then 1/4 c of flour.
3. For extra appley flavor, I mixed in about 1/3 c cider syrup, and I poured the whole mixture into the pie crust, added the top crust, and baked at 350 for about an hour.
1, I don't precook, but I mix the apples, some lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon, and put in a ziploc bag for an hour or so. Then I drain the juice into a saucepan, and boil it down to a syrup. Mix this back into the apples, add the thickener, that's the filling.
2. I use minute tapioca, whirred to a powder in a coffee grinder as a thickener (ratio on the box).
3. I do use the vodka crust, but with extra flour - it's too delicate and breaks apart as is.
4. Melt white chocolate, coat the bottom and sides of the crust with a very thin coat. Seals in the filling, the bottom crust never gets soggy or pasty.
Many years ago I made a ginger Apple pie that became a staple dessert in one of my restaurants. The restaurant was sold along with the recipe so I can't give you it here but suffice to say the secret is using FRESH ginger in the apple mix and dry ginger in the crumb topping. Apple were large diced, tossed with fresh grated ginger and sugar. They were not cooked beforehand, thickener was clear-gel.
As far as apples go they vary throughout the country.
When I lived east of the Mississippi Cortland Apples were awesome for pies - not so much on the west coast. In CA I migrated to Fuji's and here in Washington I prefer Braeburn's. But this is also seasonal.
Good luck and have fun.
Sometimes I don't know so much if it's the recipe that makes a good apple pie or the way the pie is put together. What I mean is this: My mother always made a GREAT apple pie. When I got older I wanted to make the same pie. She gave me her EXACT recipe, and I tried it and it came out AWFUL! The pie was runny and watery and just gross. I asked her what I did wrong. She didn't know. I used everything she used, even the same apples, and so for years I walked around confused. I tried many recipes but none were like hers, and I always made a mediocre pie. To top it off, every time I went home she had this GREAT apple pie waiting for me.
I finally figured it out one day when I stood over her like a hawk and watched her every movement. She looked like she was making a "lazy" pie, not even mixing the ingredients together much. But I went home and tried it just like her.....and lo and behold! There was the pie! It was the WAY she made it, not the recipe itself. But anyhow, here it is. Do be sure to follow it EXACTLY, even though you might want to add some touches.
6 large MacIntosh apples
1 tbs flour
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs butter
Rub 1 tbs of flour gently into the bottom of an unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar evenly over this. Peel your apples and put slices evenly over the sugar you just put in. (Yes, you are tempted now to mix your apples with all the sugar and spices, aren't you? You think that would make it better, don't you? Hee hee.) Mix the remaining cup of sugar with the spices and pour this evenly over the apples. (Don't poke around!) Dot with butter. Cover pie and add steam holes. Bake 40 - 50 minutes at 425 degrees.
My mom is pretty old now. She still makes a great pie. Now I do too.
My mom just slices them right off the apple and they land every which way in the crust. She doesn't put them on a cutting board and slice them up pretty. I'd say they're maybe 3/4 inch pieces here and there. Really haphazard. She just keeps moving the apple round and round and taking off slices. Yeah, I know it sounds kind of weird, but you try it and you will see. Fortunately, apple pies are cheap to make.
I use a mixture of apples; fugi, granny smith, golden delicious, etc.
I do cook them in a pan with some butter prior to loading the pie shell. It helps prevent all that shrinkage that leave the air gap between the top crust and the fruit.
Sorry, my "best" apple pie recipe of a protected contest entry secret. Hope that helped at least a little.