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The first of the fall storms rolled in the other night. At sunset, the sky was thick with dark, billowy clouds. The wind was strong from the northwest pressing and bending the aspen trees in the corner of the yard, their leaves chattering in rapid staccato.
The temperature had dropped twenty degrees that night, twenty degrees colder than previous nights. A steady, drumming rain was still pushed by a persistent wind. It felt like the season to bake, a time to take the damp chill off the kitchen with a hot oven and a time to permeate the house with the smell of cinnamon and bread baking.
The first apple pie of the season would be memorable, fully loaded. We would gather the best baking apples we could find and make a mound of pie. We would use plenty of butter and cinnamon plus sour cream and a generous handful of walnuts. We would need some ruby red cranberries. There wouldn’t be fresh ones in the stores yet but that was okay; we would use dried ones and the steam in the pie would make them plump and tender. We would share our pie with friends, served steaming hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting alongside and drizzled with a cream syrup. It would be a special pie.
And here is the recipe:
This recipe calls for sour cream, walnuts, and cranberries—hence it is fully loaded. But the secret of a great apple pie is the apples. Use the best you can find. We prefer tart apples for the recipe.
Since you are baking a high-mounded, deep dish pie, you will need about 1 1/2 to two times a normal double crust recipe. You will also need a nine-inch, deep-dish pie pan for this recipe. A dark colored pie pan will absorb heat and help bake the crust so that it does not become soggy.
For the crust:
9-inch double crust
For the filling:
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
9 to 10 cups apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup dried or 1 cup frozen, or fresh cranberries
2/3 cup walnut pieces
4 tablespoons butter
For the topping:
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare and press the pie crust into a deep-dish pie pan setting aside the dough for the top crust. Trim the crust. Do not bake the crust.
- In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, sour cream, lemon juice, and spices together into a smooth paste. Add the apples, walnuts, and cranberries and mix until coated with the sour cream mixture. Scrape the apple mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Cut the butter into chunks and spread on top of the filling.
- Roll out the top crust. Brush the top edge of the bottom crust around the rim with water to help the two crusts seal. Place the top crust over the pie. Trim the crust and seal the two crusts with the tines of a fork.
- Mix the egg white, water and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon together. Brush the mixture over the top of the pie. Mix the cinnamon with the granulated sugar and sprinkle over the top of the pie.
- Because this is so tall, it’s going to take a long time to bake. Cover the edges with a pie crust shield to keep them from burning. Bake for at least an hour or until the pie is bubbly and the crust is golden.
What Every Apple Pie Lover Should Have (Or “How to Make an Apple Pie in 15 Minutes.”)
Debbie, my daughter, and I have taught classes in our store, apple pie classes. We’ve had class members time us and we’ve put pies in the oven in less than 15 minutes. That includes making the crust and peeling and slicing the apples. How do we do it so quickly?
- Use a just-add-water pie crust mix. This is the same mix that many bake shops use. (That’s right. Most bakers don’t invest the time into making the crusts from scratch.) Put the mix in the bowl of your stand-type mixer, add water and mix for no longer than one minute.
- Use an Apple Master. This will peel, slice, and core an apple in seconds, in a few turns of the handle. In one class, a lady jumped off her chair and went to the front of the class see how that worked. Pretty impressive. She took one home.
Everything after that is just assembly.
And what you’ll need:
- A Pie Crust Shield. Unless you like digging little strips of aluminum foil out of your pumpkin pies, you need a pie crust shield. I never put a pie in the oven without a shield.
Get a pie crust shield for free!
- A Dark Pie Pan. Unless you like doggy bottoms, you need a dark pie pans. The dark pan absorbs the heat instead of reflecting it and helps bake the bottom crust.
- A just add water pie crust mix. It will make a great pie every time, in little time. (Just don’t overmix the crust. A minute or so really will do it.)
About the Author
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and six beautiful granddaughters.