Best Apples for Pie
Beyond organic, there are other considerations when it comes to apples for apple pie. A too juicy apple will make for an overly wet pie, a mealy apple doesn’t taste great, and some apples cook up way too mushy. Granny Smith, Bramley, Jonagold, Rome, Honeycrisp, Cameo, Jonathon, Pink Lady are popular apple pie apples. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Galas, McIntosh and Cortland are much less popular pie apples. However, serious pie makers have been debating the apple issue for decades. When it comes down to it, choose the freshest and most local apples possible. You can experiment to see which apples you like best. For this particular pie, I used organic apples I had on hand, some juicer than others, so I did take steps to combat an overly wet pie, as I’ll point out below.
Best Crust for Apple Pie
I think the best crust for apple pie is organic butter crust. The butter flavor works well with apples and because it’s a softer crust, it soaks up any excess apple juice nicely. However, while in this recipe I’ll be making butter crust, you can go with a crust made with organic shortening. There are pros and cons of each type of crust, most of which come down to personal preference. To learn more read organic pie crust 101.
Make Your Butter Crust First
You need to make your crust first, as it will need to chill. This will make enough dough for a top and bottom pie crust. Fill a large glass measuring cup with water and ice cubes and place it in the fridge. Cut 1 cup (2 sticks) of cold organic butter into small chunks. Place butter chunks in a small bowl, in your fridge to chill.
While your water and butter chills, combine 2 and 1/2 cups organic flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon organic sugar in a large mixing bowl. Grab your chilled butter and cut it into your dry mixture with a basic pastry cutter quickly, until the mix resembles little peas or little shreds of butter-coated flour. This won’t take long and it will look a bit uneven, which is in your favor. The longer you work dough, the tougher it’ll be. If you can see some butter, that’s fine.
Drizzle about 5 tablespoons of your icy cold water over your dough (avoid ice cubes). Use a silicone spatula to quickly incorporate the water into the flour mixture. Add about 5 to 7 more tablespoons of ice water, as needed, to create a dough that barely sticks together. Once your dough is barely holding together immediately stop incorporating water. Remember, you don’t want to touch your dough too much – over-touching makes your dough tough, dry and not at all flaky.
Chill Your Pie Crust
Using your hands, gather half the dough into a ball and place it on a piece of non-bleached parchment paper. Gather the other half of the dough and do the same. Wrap your dough and place it in the fridge to chill. It’s best to chill your dough for at least an hour before rolling it out.