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Lattice-Topped Apple Pie

Apples fall roughly into three categories, based on how they can best be used. Sauce apples (such as Cortlands) melt tenderly into custardy morsels, turning into applesauce with little more than a brief simmer. Baking apples (such as Rome Beauties and Golden Delicious) hold their shape after up to an hour in the oven. The latter two could be used in this pie, but try an all-purpose apple instead. With a texture when cooked that falls between tender and al dente, the ever-popular Granny Smith is ideal for apple pie.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 3 2⁄3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 10 Tbs. (1 1⁄4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut
     into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1⁄2 cup frozen vegetable shortening, cut
     into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • About 12 Tbs. ice water

For the filling:

  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut
     into 1⁄2-inch chunks
  • 3⁄4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Cheddar cheese or vanilla ice cream for
     serving (optional)

Directions:

To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and shortening and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size bits. Add the water a little at a time through the feed tube, pulsing once after each addition, adding just enough to make a moist but crumbly dough; it will not hold together on its own but only when gathered into a ball with your hands.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and flatten each piece into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Remove both disks of dough from the refrigerator. If the dough is very cold and hard, let it stand, still wrapped, at room temperature for 15 minutes.

To make the pie shell, unwrap one disk of dough and place on a floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. With a rolling pin, gently flatten the dough into a rough round. Begin rolling out the dough, always rolling straight away from you and giving the round a quarter turn every 2 or 3 rolls. If the dough sticks to the work surface, release it with a spatula and lightly flour beneath it. Lightly flour the top of the dough if it begins sticking to your rolling pin. When the dough round is about 1/4 inch thick and about 2 inches wider than your pie dish, roll it up around the rolling pin, then unroll it into the dish, centering it. Ease the dough into the dish without stretching it. Trim the edges, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Let the other dough disk stand at room temperature while you make the filling.

To make the filling, in a large bowl, stir together the apples, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla. Let stand, stirring once or twice, for 20 minutes. Spoon the apples and all the juices from the bowl into the pie shell, mounding the fruit slightly. Dot the apples with the butter.

To make the lattice top, place the lattice crust insert in the base of the mold. Be sure that the fine cutting edge of the diamond pattern, which is slightly narrower than the reverse side, faces down. Roll out the dough as instructed above and lay the dough on top of the lattice crust mold, making sure to cover the entire mold. Using a rolling pin, press the dough into the mold, causing the diamond cutouts to fall through. If any cutouts are still attached, push them through with your fingers. Lift out the insert and carefully invert the lattice onto the filled pie shell. Fold the overhang from the bottom crust on top of the overhanging portion of the lattice and press together to make a decorative edge.

Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the lattice. Bake until the crust is crisp and golden and the filling is bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature, topped with a slice of cheddar cheese or accompanied with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).