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The scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and warm apples, soft, warm and inviting, snuggled gently in a flakey, buttery crust topped with a delicate scoop of vanilla ice cream is nothing short of delicious.
Sharing it with family and friends? Even better.
Some of my happiest childhood memories are of my mother, who, at the turn of the fall season, would welcome it with fresh pies. Blueberry. Sugar. Pecan. And of course, apple.
The crust was, and still is, to me, my favourite part of a pie. I recall being eager for the pies to be finished—not just because I was excited to get to eat them—but because it was then when my mother would collect the scraps of dough leftover from making the crusts and make little animal shaped biscuits out of them for me. To a five year old with a love for pie crusts, this was one of the best things in the world.
As I grew older, I began to appreciate the harmony of a pie, from crust to crust. But baking one myself always seemed like such a daunting task—the equipment, the ingredients, the time… How do you pick the right apples? How do you make the dough? What should I use? Shortening or butter?
Well, this week, I finally decided to give it a try. And to my delight, it turned out to be very simple. Simple enough that it took the dough all of fifteen (!) minutes to make.
As you get to know me, you’ll learn that I like to keep my ingredients pure and natural; I try to stay away from anything synthetic or processed as much as reasonably possible. With this in mind, this pie crust calls for butter, not shortening.
True, many great chefs and bakers swear by shortening and I certainly have had some extremely delicious pies made with it, including my mother’s. For this recipe however I decided to go the old school route and use a good ol’ stick of butter.
As with anything new, you stand to learn a ton simply by trying. If you’re newer to pie making, check out these tips pie-making here.
Without further ado, here’s my all-butter, all-natural rustic apple pie recipe.
Rustic Apple Pie
- 1 cup of unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 6 to 7 cups of sliced (peeled apples)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (very cold, nearly frozen)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy, optional)
- 1 egg white
- White sugar for sprinkling
Make the dough:
- Fill a measuring cup with one cup of water and add in a few ice cubes to get it very cold. Set it aside.
- Using a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
- Using another bowl or a clean, flat surface, grate the entire cup of butter and add this to the dry ingredients from the step above.
- Mix the dry ingredients and the flour using a rubber or silicon spatula – specks of butter are a good thing.
- To get the dough to stick together, slowly add 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the ice cubes) to the butter and flour mixture. Continue using the spatula to gather the dough together. You may need to add more water (about 1/4 of a cup) but start with a tablespoon at a time. Use your hands if needed.
- Divide the dough in half, and cover each half in a large piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one to two hours before rolling it out.
- Dough will last in the refrigerator for a week. It also does very well in the freezer – be sure to remove the dough from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator one day before use.
Make the apples
- Peel the apples and slice them, not too thin or too thick. Toss them with the lemon juice and set them aside.
- In a bowl, combine the white and brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in the apples and toss to coat the apples.
- Pour the apple mixture into a large pot (large enough that most of the apples are on one to two layers).
- If you choose to use Calvados, add it in once the mixture begins to warm up to allow it to blend with the other ingredients.
- Heat on a medium to low setting until the sugary mixture blends together and the apples begin to soften.
- Remove from the heat and let cool.
Roll out the dough:
- Using your rolling pin, take half the dough and roll it out until it’s about 3 to 4 inches past the diameter of the pan. Place it in the pan and don’t cut the edges just yet.
- Roll out the other half so that it’s half an inch to an inch longer than the diameter of the pan. Keep it aside.
- If the dough gets warm at any point during this process, simply stick it back in the fridge.
Make your pie:
- Once the apples have cooled, pour the mixture into the pan and cover it with the apple pie top.
- Using a brush, coat the top of the apple pie with egg whites and sprinkle with white sugar.
- Cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown.