We don’t talk about desserts much but I can’t think of any time of the year better to do so. Most of the time I would tell you that the best and healthiest dessert is a piece of fresh fruit or a piece of dark chocolate (or both!), but sometimes you just need to bake something. So if you are going to make something, and it happens to be pie, make the very best pie you can and consider a fruit pie which has some nutritional value. Also, make your crust out of butter and not shortening which is loaded with hydrogenated fats (trans fat) shown to be a contributor to heart disease.
Anytime of the year is a good time for apple pie, but it is especially tasty over the holidays. Homemade desserts are always the best and this is not a hard pie to make. Be creative with the jam flavors to make some interesting taste combinations with the apples. It is very hard to make a mistake!
Mixing bowl, measuring cups/spoons, chef knife, cutting board, food processor (optional), vegetable peeler, 9 inch pie plate, rolling pin, baking sheet
Makes one 9 inch pie
Crust: (Can be made the day before)
1 1/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tbsp raw sugar
3 tbsp fresh ginger root, peeled, minced
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (can use already ground but the flavor is much richer if you grate the seed on a microplane or zester)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 egg yolk
2-4 tbsp ice-cold water, may need more
2 1/2 lb Granny Smith apples
2 1/2 lb sweet apples of choice (Fiji, Gala, Braeburn, etc)
1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tart jam (peach, mango, apricot, raspberry, etc)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/3 cup raw sugar
3 tbs raw sugar
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, ginger root, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk with 2 tbsp water.
Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and toss with a fork until the mixture forms moist clumps. Add more cold water as needed, 1 tsp at a time until the dough sticks together. Form the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling into a pie crust. Cut disk in half and roll out on floured surface for bottom and top crusts.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Peel and core apples; cut into 1/4—1/2 inch slices (can use your food processor for this). Place apples in a large bowl. Stir in flour, jam, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and sugar. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring gently on occasion.
Place pastry into a 9 inch pie plate and gently press into place. Stir apple mixture. Spoon into crust, packing tightly. Pour any remaining juice over apples. Sprinkle apples with 3 tbsp sugar; dot with butter.
Place remaining rolled pastry over filling; fold edges under, sealing to bottom crust and crimp. Cut slits in top crust for steam venting. Place pie on sheet pan and place in heated oven on lower rack for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and transfer pie to middle oven rack. Bake for 35 more minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over browning and bake another 15—30 minutes, or until bubbly, crust is brown, and apples are tender when pierced with a fork through the slits in the crust. Remove from oven and cool for 2 hours prior to serving.