I’m a sucker for a good pie. And it’s not just the eating that gets me, its the making. The measuring, kneading, rolling, chopping, filling, baking, is just downright cathartic. So last week in the midst of holiday madness, I spent an afternoon baking a really fantastic (if I do say so myself) apple raspberry pie. Here’s how:
Step One: The Crust
I don’t care how fantastic your pie filling is. If you crust is lacking, your pie will be mediocre. There are a million recipes out there for “The Perfect Pie Crust”, and I have tested out a fair few of them. So far, my favorite is this one, courtesy of Paula Deen (original recipe here):
(yields two 9″ pie crusts)
- 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Fine Salt
- 3 tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
- 1/4 cup (cold) Vegetable Shortening
- 12 tablespoons butter (cold + cubed)
- 1/4-1/2 cup Ice Water
- In a large mixing bowl (or a large food processor), sift together flour, salt, and sugar
- Add the shortening + break apart with your hands (I prefer to use a food processor)
- Add cold butter cubes + work quickly into the flour mixture (The butter cubes should be about 1/2″ wide on all sides, and should be frozen before being introduced into the flour mixture) Continue to work the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly.
- Add the ice water a little at a time until the dough forms. You want to add as little water as possible, so be sure to pour it in slowly.
- Bring the dough together into a ball
- Divide the dough in half + mold halves into discs
- Wrap each disc in tinfoil + refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (see: photo below)
While your dough is chilling in the refrigerator, get started on your filling. For this pie I used (and tweaked a little) a recipe from Martha Stewart (original recipe here):
Step Two: The Filling
- About 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, + cut into thin slices (about 1/4″ thick)
- 6 ounces fresh raspberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- The freshly-squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- A pinch of sea salt
- 2 egg whites
- When peeling/coring/slicing apples, I prefer to first cut the apples into fourths around the core (instead of using an apple corer, because apple corers are hateful things). I then use a potato peeler to peel the skins from each of the apple pieces. I then slice the peeled fourths into equally-sized pieces, each about 1/4″ thick.
- Combine apples, raspberries, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
At this point you’ll jump back to working on your crust. Before you begin, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. With cold hands (and a cold rolling pin, if you have one like mine, which I highly recommend), roll your first crust onto a floured surface (I like to work on a pastry mat, but you can go ahead and roll it out right onto your kitchen counter). When your crust is about 11″ wide, and of an equal thickness throughout, gently transfer your rolled-out crust into a lightly greased pie pan. At this point you can go one of two ways. If you want to be chef extraordinaire, you should line the crust in the pie pan with a piece of tinfoil, and then fill the pie pan with pie weights. Then put your crust in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take the crust out of the oven and remove the tinfoil and weights. Put the crust back in the oven for another 15 minutes. When you take the crust out for the second time, spear any bubbles with a knife. The point of pie weights is to bake your crust for a little while so that it doesn’t get soggy when you introduce the filling, without allowing the crust to bubble. If you don’t want to use pie weights, you can skip this step and add the filling as soon as your bottom crust is in the pan. (Please note, I always opt for the pie weights option).
Your next step is to roll out your second crust. There are many ways to top a pie. You can go for a lattice pattern, or a basic solid crust with a few vents. For this pie, I went with a basic solid crust, but instead of cutting a few basic vents in the top, I used alphabet cookie cutters to cut “Happy Tgiv” in the center. The cut-outs work just as well as a basic vent, but are so much more festive! That said, vent your pie however you’d like. Once you’ve transferred your top crust to your pie pan, brush the crust with a couple of egg whites, and then transfer your pie to the oven for about an hour and ten minutes.
Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream/whipped cream/etc, and that’s it, folks! The recipe for the perfect apple raspberry pie.