We celebrated a birthday in our family recently and when the birthday person was asked about what sort of cake was wanted, they replied with a request for an apple pie. I’ve heard that pies are the up and coming thing now ~ about to eclipse cupcakes in the world of trendy food. In my opinion however, an apple pie is anything but trendy. I see them as classic as fried chicken and they are one of the first things that comes to my mind when getting ready to celebrate the 4th. This recipe is pretty traditional but the addition of lemon juice and zest gives it a slightly different flavor. While the crust resembles a lattice top, it is actually a “fake” one. The strips are simply placed at right angles to save a bit of time.
Plan ahead: for best results you want to have your butter and shortening for the pie crust nice and cold. Try to remember to stick your shortening in the fridge several hours ahead of time, or better yet, the night before.
Using your food processor, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it looks like a coarse meal. Then, gradually add the ice water (again, make sure it is nice and cold) stopping immediately when the dough begins to form clumps. Overworking the dough will make it tough. Form the dough into two flattened discs, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours; during which time you can tidy up the kitchen and work on the apples.
You will need 3 lbs of Golden Delicious apples ~ about 8 medium sized ones. Peel, quarter, core, and thinly slice them. Unless you have one of those fancy schmancy apple corers (I don’t) this will take some time, but peeling is one of those housewifey chores that can be fun! Sort of. Put on a pretty apron, gaze out the window over your kitchen sink, peel, and think rosy Betty Crocker thoughts. When you’ve finished with the apples, toss them with the sugar, flour, spices, lemon peel, and zest. By this time your dough should be firm enough to roll out and place in a glass dish. Load it with the apples and set aside.
Roll out the remaining disc into a 13” circle (or thereabouts) and cut into 1” (or thereabouts) strips. Type A personalities will want to get out a ruler to make sure it is exact but I think the variegated sizes add a certain rusticity to the finished product. Lay out about 6 strips across the top, then 6 more going at a right angle. Trim off the excess, crimp the edges, brush with milk, and dust with granulated sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another hour and twenty minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. Watch it carefully and if it begins to burn, cover the edges with an aluminum foil collar. I will admit this attention to detail does take some effort but if your crust is burnt, all your lovely work is wasted.
Serve it warm or at room temperature with a dribble of sweet cream, creme fraiche, or vanilla ice cream.
Old-Fashioned Lattice-Top Apple Pie
2 ½ c all purpose flour
1 T sugar
3/4 t salt
10 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2“ cubes
1/3 c chilled solid vegetable shortening cut into 1/2 “ cubes
6 T (or more) of ice water
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c packed golden brown sugar
2 T all purpose flour
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 t grated lemon peel
1/8 t ground nutmeg
3# Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
For crust: Blend four, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls of dough is dry. Gather into a ball; divide in half. Flatten each piece into disk. Wrap each in plastic and chill 2 hours.
For filling: Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add apples and toss to combine.
Roll out one dough disk on floured surface to 12 inch round. Transfer to 9 inch diameter glass pie dish. Crimp edge decoratively. Add filling. Roll our second dough disk on floured surface to 13 inch round. Cut into twelve 1 inch wide strips. Arrange 6 strips across pie, spacing evenly apart. Form lattice by arranging 6 strips at right angles to first strips. Gently press ends into crust edges. Brush lattice with milk. Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.
Bake pie 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue baking pie until filling is bubbling thickly and crust is deep golden, covering edges with aluminum foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool on rack at least 1 hour.
Can be made 8 hours ahead. 8 servings.