In high school, math was one of my favorite subjects. I loved the finality of finding the solution to a math problem. To this day, math and analytical thinking are basically my entire job. This is why pi day is so near and dear to my heart. Well, that and the fact that I get to make delicious pies and claim it's in the name of nerdiness instead of just pure gluttony.
My first ever attempt at apple pie, (pictured here) I made so many mistakes. But hey, at least it looked pretty. It didn't taste bad, it just wasn't what I like in an apple pie. I think it was because I followed the recipe the letter and didn't follow my tastebuds like I normally would. This time I adapted my recipe from Bon Appetit's Apple Brown Sugar Pie and it was go0o0o0od.
What I love about this pie is:
1. No blind baking – I hate blind baking. I realize that it's usually a necessary step in a pie recipe, but I'd rather just throw the filling in the crust and call it a day. It's one of those things where I feel like "Mom, do I haaaave toooo?"
2. Tender, melt in your mouth apples. I'm the type of gurl who generally doesn't LOVE fruit chunks in my desserts. Even in banana pudding, I like the bananas to almost cook and melt instead of mushy raw bananas. I don't know, I've always been weird about textures. But I don't like when the apples in apple pie are softer than the apples in a McDonald's apple pie. OK, I know I'm super particular. But the apples are so tender because we pre-bake them! All the time we saved by not blind baking, we end up using on a different step!!!! -__- (but whatever, this step is super necessary).
As you can see, the apple is flexible and tender (and tasty af)
3. Brown butter!! The Bon Apettit recipe called for room temperature butter. I love the depth of flavor that brown butter adds, so I made some and threw it in. And i'm pretty happy I did.
Literally the only pie crust recipe I use is America's Test Kitchen's Fool Proof Pie Dough. I wish I could come up with something better, but I can't. The vodka is the key. The crust comes out so perfect. I mean, look at all those bits of butter in there!!
Now that you have the only pie dough recipe you'll ever need, here's the only apple pie recipe you'll ever want to use!
4 lbs granny smith apples (about 8-10) peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup plus 1 heaping tbs flour
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
optional: 1 large egg beaten (for egg wash)
Make pie dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix apples, granulated sugar and ¼ cup flour in a large bowl. Split apples between the two baking sheets, bake until apples are tender and flexible 20-25 minutes.
While apples are baking, make the brown butter. Melt butter over medium heat, in a light colored pan (you won't be able to see the color changing in a dark pan). Whisk the butter occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly and doesn't get too hot. Cook until it starts to brown and smell nutty. Don't let it get dark brown, or it will taste burnt.
When apples are ready, take them out, let them cool and transfer apples and juices to a large bowl. Add the brown butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1 heaping tbs flour. Mix and chill for at least an hour (up to a day).
Take pie dough out to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften. Roll out dough and transfer to 9 inch pie dish. Fill crust with apple pie filling and top with your favorite top crust design, I chose lattice. If you want, brush top crust with egg and a sprinkle of sugar. Chill pie in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and place pie on it. Bake for 30 minutes then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes more. Let it rest on a wire cooling rack. Enjoy!