Make-it-this-way Apple Pie
I’ve noticed a growing cooking trend among my fellow liberals of generally barring salt from dishes, often justified with the argument that it overshadows the important undertones of, say, organic brown rice. While you’re at it, why don’t you withhold your children’s vaccinations and boycott smiling. The absence of NaCl in meats and starches is unflattering to the cook, but easily correctable with a sprinkling of table salt. Omission in baked goods and desserts, on the other hand, borders on a criminal waste of food. If I find that you’ve made a low-sodium version of the following apple pie and no one in your home suffers from heart disease, high blood pressure or kidney disease, I will add your name and/or IP address to my blacklist, a vortex of despair far worse than the sting of deletion from my cookie list.
2 pie crusts (double the recipe used here, do not pre-bake crusts)
1 bag (about half a peck) Cortland apples
1 Gala or Braeburn apple
1 C sugar
1/3 C flour
2 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
Set your oven to 450. Roll out the dough for the pie crusts before preparing the apples to prevent browning; fit one 1/8″-thick sheet of dough into a glass pie plate, and trim the excess, leaving 1″ of extra dough past the rim. Leave the second sheet rolled out on the board until you’re ready to assemble the pie.
Put the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl and combine until the spices are evenly distributed. Peel and core the apples. I can’t convey how much better my life has become since purchasing the Williams-Sonoma apple peeler/corer/slicer a few years ago. Everyone I know will eventually get one as a gift, and subsequently have a lot more pie around the house, all the time. If you’re going old school, slice the cored apples into 1/4″-thick rings, then chop the rings in half. Put the apples into a large mixing bowl as you work, and sprinkle in some of the dry mixture after each one. Once you’ve finished the apples, pour in the remainder of the dry mixture and fold until combined.
Pour the apples into the bottom crust, and try to flatten the top layer to prevent tearing your top crust. Scrape out any sugar mixture stuck to the bowl and slap it on top of the apples. Carefully transfer the top layer onto the pie, gently draping it to accommodate the rough terrain. Use your thumbs, forefingers and middle fingers to pinch around the circumference of the crust, sealing the two layers together. Repeat to make sure it’s sealed up tight, then trim off the excess.
Get creative with air vents on the top crust. I like to cut out leaf shapes and overlap them with their corresponding holes, but you can cut 1″ slits in a symmetric pattern if you’d prefer. Cut up the butter and stick a glob in each air vent. Use a whisk to beat the eggwhite, and brush it all over the top and around the ridge. Cut a long strip of aluminum foil and cover up the rim, then bake the pie at 450 for 45 minutes, removing the foil 15 minutes before it’s done. You’ll want to stick a cookie sheet on the bottom rack to catch any syrup bubble-over. Let the pie cool uncovered until it reaches room temperature, then keep it sealed but don’t refrigerate it, otherwise something horrible happens to the flour mixed in with the apples. Now that you know all my secrets, I’m going to need some collateral.