Nothing says America better than baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. The apple pie (or tort) dates back centuries and was brought to the New World by immigrant English, Swedes and the Dutch. This dessert has had an indelible effect on our culture; anything typically U.S. is described “as American as apple pie.”
The most important part of making an apple pie is the selection of the apple. Some apples, such as McIntosh, are too sweet and soft. A crispy, acidic Granny Smith or Fuji makes a proper apple pie.
For the dough
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 sticks cold butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
To make the best dough, make it by hand by mixing with a fork the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Work the cold butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until well incorporated into a coarse texture, about pea-sized bits.
Add the egg and mix well. If the dough is too dry, add a sprinkle of water.
Form the dough into a round disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
For the filling
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 pounds baking apples, peeled, halved and quarter each half
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
Toss the apples with lemon juice in a bowl. Add sugar and toss again until well coated.
Melt butter in skillet or wok over medium-high. Cook apples until the sugar dissolves and mixture simmers.
Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and cook apples for 6-8 minutes. Scoop out the apples into a colander over the skillet, retaining as much liquid as practicable. Simmer the juice over medium heat until it thickens.
Set aside and let cool completely.
For the pie
Cut the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll both halves into a disk 12 inches wide. Place the rolled disks between wax paper and refrigerate 10 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch drippings.
Line a 9-inch pie pan with one dough disk so that it overhangs the edge a half inch. Trim off excess dough.
Fill pie pan with filling. Cut remaining disk into half-inch strips and lattice it over the pie, pinching the edge all the way around.
Brush top with an egg and sugar wash, and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Place pie on baking pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until crust is golden brown. Let cool for several hours. Serve warm or cold with ice cream.