2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 C white sugar (or use ¾ C white sugar + ¼ C brown sugar)
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
small pinch of ground cloves (optional)
2 Tbsp butter (not margarine), cut into small pieces
Follow the directions for making a double crust for a 9” pie. After rolling out the dough for the bottom crust, and while it is chilling in the pie plate as directed, preheat the oven to 425°F while you make the apple filling.
You can choose any type of baking apples that you prefer, I happen to like Granny Smith because of the tartness and they stay a bit firm after baking. Wash, peel, core and slice the apples. You'll want to slice them thin, about 1/4" slices, in order for them to bake evenly. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to coat all of the slices. This will keep the apples from browning.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch and spices. So at this point, if you've made apple pie before (or maybe not and are still wondering) why do I use flour and cornstarch for the thickening agents? Well, I've tried using all flour and my pie didn't get quite thick enough. Then I tried a recipe using all cornstarch and well, it tasted to "starchy". Go figure. So I tried using half and half and the end result was the most satisfactory. (for me anyway)
Next, sprinkle the sugar mixture over apples and toss to coat well. Set aside while you make the top crust.
Next, roll out the 2nd disc of pie crust dough for the top crust. Make it just a bit bigger than the pie plate. Put the pie filling into the bottom crust. Dot the top with the small bits of butter, scattering them about. HAHAHA I laugh, because I forget this step every time. I mean EVERY TIME. So I say to you, if you skip it, don't worry 'bout it.
Next, gently lay the top crust over the apples and trim so that it has a 1” overhang.
Now fold the top crust over and under the edges of the bottom crust to seal the sides. This will help keep all the juices in while the pie is baking. Finally, flute the edges with your forefinger and thumb all the way around the pie. (You can see pics of this process on the pie crust page). You will also want to cut slits in the top. This allows the excess steam to escape so that the pie filling can thicken properly. If the top crust feels as if it has softened up while you were shaping the edges, then pop the pie into the fridge to re-chill the crust before baking.
Gently place the pie on a baking sheet. For a deeper color in the crust, brush top of crust and sides with EITHER plain milk, or, 1 egg white (or whole egg) that has been beaten with 1 tbsp water. Milk will give it a crispy-flaky texture and egg will give it a tender-flaky texture. Now sprinkle the top with coarse sugar if desired. (or you can sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon)
Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven. If you have a baking stone, place the baking sheet directly on the baking stone. Bake pie for 20 minutes at 425°F. Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 375°F and continue baking for 20 more minutes. At this time, check the pie crust, if the edges are turning brown to soon, cover them with aluminum foil to protect them, or, use a pie crust ring.
Continue to bake the pie for at least 10-20 more minutes until done. The crust should be golden brown, the apple filling should be bubbling up through the pie crust slits, and the apples should be tender. (yeah, go ahead and sneak one through the slit, no one's looking) Total baking time should be about 50-60 minutes.
When done, remove the pie from the oven and set on a rack. Now, here's the hard part, allow pie to cool completely (several hours, seriously) at room temperature before cutting. And no cheating....do NOT try to cool it in the fridge. Believe me, I've tried LOL It makes the crust soggy and chewy. The cooling process is essential because the pie filling will not thicken until after the pie has completely cooled. If you cut it too soon, your filling will run out everywhere and possibly cause a soggy bottomed pie. If you want to have warm apple pie, just heat slices in the microwave just before serving.
Store the pie, covered, at room temperature.