Everyone is rolling out their favorite apple pie recipe this time of year. But, if you’ve ever tasted ours, you know it’s something special. The buttery crust holds its flakiness under miles of tart Granny Smith apples and blissfully sweet brown sugar. The combination is irresistible.
Apple Brown Sugar Pie
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8 medium Granny Smith apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced in to 1/2-inch wedges
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 heaping tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 recipe Double-Crusted Flaky Pie Dough
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water for egg wash
Lightly sweetened creme fraiche or whipped cream, for serving
Makes one 9-inch pie
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Put the apples in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of flour. Pour mixture over the apples and toss thoroughly – the wedges should be completely coated. Spread the apples evenly on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples are just tender. Halfway through baking, redistribute the apples for even baking. Cool them on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the excess juices into a bowl and reserve. Cool the apples completely at room temperature or refrigerate to speed up the process.
3. Using a fork, mash the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the remaining heaping tablespoon of flour in a medium bowl until well mixed. Dot the brown sugar-butter mixture randomly onto the apples and toss thoroughly. You don’t want to have concentrations of butter – it should be dotted throughout the apples.
4. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften slightly. On a floured work surface, roll out the larger disk into a circle roughly 15 inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. This is your bottom crust. As you’re rolling, check frequently to make sure the dough isn’t sticking; add flour to the dough and work surface as needed. Fold the dough in half and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Place the dough in half of the pan and then unfold, draping it evenly over the entire pan. This is the easiest way to move the dough without breaking it. Gently fit the dough into the pan and trim excess (clean scissors work well for this), leaving a 1-inch overhang.
5. Roll out the smaller disk into a circle roughly 10 inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Invert another 9-inch pie pan on top of the dough and use a small, sharp knife to cut a circle slightly larger than the pan. This is your top crust. Cut six 2-inch slots (or any pattern you choose) in the middle to vent steam from the pie as it bakes. Using a pastry brush, paint egg wash around the outer 1/2-inch of the bottom crust.
6. Spoon the filling into the shell, lightly packing the apples and leveling the top. Invert the top crust over the filling and press down lightly on the egg-washed edge. If the dough extends farther than the pan, cut away the excess. Bulky pie edges can break during the baking process or remain under-baked when the rest of the pie is finished.
7. Brush the top crust with the egg wash. Fold the bottom crust over-hang up and over about 1/2 inch of the top crust, pressing the layers of dough together. With a fork or your fingers, crimp the edge decoratively, then brush with a little more egg wash. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar evenly over the top of the pie.
8. Chill the pie in the freezer for 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step! The freezer will firm up the pie dough, which, by this time, will have become fairly soft from handling. Re-chilling the butter will prevent the crust from shrinking, make the dough less apt to fall, and create a flakier finished product.
9. Increase oven temperature to 375°F. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the top is deep brown and the filling is bubbling, about 1 hour. Cool the pie for about 1 hour before serving to let it set up.
10. To serve, spoon some of the reserved apple juice to pool on each plate and top with a slice of pie and a dollop of lightly sweetened crème fraîche or whipped cream.