By gently par-cooking the apples beforehand,
I've finally solved the problem of apples shrinking as they cook,
and therefore this method prevents leaving a gap between crust and apples
that have typically collapsed upon cooling...
Prep/Par-Cook: 30 Mins.
Bake: 65 Mins.
--(A hearty, darker, and super flavorful crust)
2 cups all-purpose flour
--plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
--plus extra for filling below
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain kosher salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons cold milk
1 large egg, beaten
10 mixed apples (I used Granny Smith and McIntosh), washed, unpeeled, cored and cut into 3/4" pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons corn starch
--2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
--1 tablespoon milk
--1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw), or regular
Prepare the crust in a food processor by combining flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar; pulse 4 times to mix. Add 1 cup butter cubes and pulse 8 times. Add sufficient milk, beginning with 4 tablespoons, pulsing until mixture pulls from edge and begins to solidify into a ball. Remove dough and place on lightly floured surface; divide in half, and form into 2 flat discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, including placing a foil-lined baking sheet on middle rack in oven. Cut three 4" wide foil strips; set aside. Also, set aside a deep-dish pie plate. (I used a 10" diameter x 1-1/2" deep ceramic pie dish.)
Meanwhile, prepare filling by placing apple pieces in a Dutch Oven (or large heavy-bottom pot) over medium-high heat. Add sugars, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and cornstarch. Using a wooden spoon, toss to combine. Cover Dutch Oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, while frequently stirring. Remove Dutch Oven from heat, and uncover to allow filling to gently cool while preparing crust.
Remove crust disks from the refrigerator, and roll out one at a time, on a lightly floured surface about 1/8" thick. Place bottom crust into pie dish, cutting any excess outer edge hanging over dish. Roll out top crust using the same method.
Working quickly, add filling over bottom crust in dish. Dot with 2 tablespoons cold butter cubes, then push slightly under apples (so when butter steams while pie bakes it does not cause top of crust to separate from filling). Add top crust to pie, trim edges to 1/2"; pinch to flute and secure. Gently cover top of crust with a light coating of milk using a pastry brush, score a few decorative steam hole slits, and evenly sprinkle top with turbinado sugar.
Set pie on preheated baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape from the pie while cooking). Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Pull pie from oven and line edges of crust with foil strips (to prevent over browning); lower the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking for an additional 45 minutes, turning once half way through baking. Remove pie from oven and cool on a wire rack for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours to set. Cut into wedges and serve with French vanilla bean ice cream. ~ Enjoy!
Tip: Feel free to peel the apples beforehand, although this unpeeled pie version adds more nutrients and fiber to its outcome, including doing so dramatically cuts down on prep time...