My Grandmother made wonderful apple pies and my Dad became attached to apple pie as his favorite from an early age. I have not been able to resist playing with her recipe to make the flavors more intense and distinct. I have tried looking for the right blend of apples but, depending upon where you live, some varieties may not be available. I now go with whatever looks best and is abundant. I do try to stay away from the red and golden delicious, however. I am most often able to get Jonagold, Granny Smith's and MacIntosh. This particular pie is all Fuji apples from Apple Annie's in Wilcox, AZ. The flavor and texture of these apples are wonderful and they held their shape even after 1 1/2 hours in the oven. Some apple varieties lose their shape and get very soft in a pie. In that case an overstuffed pie like this might lose its shape. No worries of that sort today.
In the past two weeks I was also able to find a gallon of fresh apple cider which I boiled down to syrup. I find this addition really brightens up the apple flavor no matter what variety of apple you use.
Preheat your oven to 425F. Prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper to catch any spillovers. Use a 9" deep dish pie plate.
12 cups peeled, cored, diced apples
1/2 cup AP Flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsps. ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground Clove
1/2 tsp. ground Nutmeg
Grated zest of one lemon
1 large pinch kosher salt.
2 Tbsp. molasses
1/2 cup apple cider syrup
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 or 2 tsp. half & half)
1 or 2 tsp. sparkling sugar.
Combine the apples and the next ingredients down through the molasses. Pile the apples into the pie shell. It may take some careful packing! Add the apple cider syrup and the bits of butter. Egg wash the edges of the bottom crust. Add the top crust; fold under the edges and crimp. Egg wash the entire top crust and sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. This large pie will bake for a total of 1 1/2 hours. The first 30 minutes @ 425F; reduce the oven temperature to 325F and continue to bake for another 60 minutes. Cool completely.
Even though not as sweet as a traditional apple pie, this is a highly flavored pie. If you are not as enthusiastic about the combination of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg as I am, please reduce the amount of spice. If you try making this or any of the pies presented in the 'Year of Pie' blog, please take a picture and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org I also welcome comments on these blog posts. Have fun baking!