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Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

Laying a slice of cheddar cheese atop a wedge of warm apple pie is an American tradition. Today a scoop of vanilla ice cream is generally preferred.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter,
      cut into pieces
  • 10 Tbs. cold vegetable shortening, cut into
      pieces
  • 7 Tbs. ice water
  • 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 lb. baking apples, peeled, cored,
      quartered and cut lengthwise into slices 1/2
      inch thick
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbs. heavy cream

Directions:

To make the pastry, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center, add the butter and shortening and, using your fingertips, rub them into the flour mixture until small, flat pieces form. In a cup or small bowl, combine the water and vinegar. Using a fork, gently mix just enough of the liquid into the flour mixture so it comes together in a rough ball; do not overwork. Discard the remaining liquid. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

To make the filling, in a bowl, toss together the apples, the 1/2 cup sugar (adding more to taste if the apples are tart), cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half of the dough (leave the other half refrigerated) into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the dough in half and then into quarters and transfer it to a 9-inch pie dish. Unfold and gently press into the bottom and sides of the dish. Trim the edges even with the rim. Roll out the remaining dough into a 10-inch round about 1/8 inch thick.

Turn the apples into the pastry-lined pan, mounding them slightly in the center. Dot evenly with the butter. Brush the edges of the dough with water. Fold the dough round into quarters and unfold over the apples. Press together the top and bottom crusts to seal, then trim the edges flush with the rim of the dish and crimp to form an attractive edge. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and cream and brush over the pastry. Make a few slits near the center to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until the apples are tender (insert a knife blade through a slit) and the top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the dish to a wire rack and let the pie cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Autumn, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).