Had a very dreamy Sunday afternoon making these apple pies for my Daddy’s birthday. I remember making apple crumble last year for my parents’ anniversary but it wasn’t that great. This year, I googled and came upon this recipe from Food Network. In comparison to the other recipes, this one involved the most work for the cooking of the apples. Most recipes state to put the apples in the pie together with the sugar and bake it straight but the Food Network recipe called for the apples and apple sugar sauce to be cooked and thickened prior to baking it in the pie. I have to confess the shortcrust pastry was store-bought because that was a crazy weekend and I didn’t have time. So to make up for it, I decided to put more effort into the apple cooking and I’m glad I did because the apples came out nice and gooey.
The lattice weave looks complicated but it’s actually not, and it’s very simple. Once you get the hang of the first weave, the rest is really easy. I used a shallow 8-inch pie pan and ended up having double the filling required which resulted in two pies. After rummaging through the cupboards, I found some cookie cutters and decided on an apples and leaves design for the second pie. It was so much fun and so therapeutic! Recipes and step-by-step pictures below. It was slow taking pictures one by one but visuals references really help me when baking and I hope it helps you too 🙂
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 pounds (1.3kg) baking apples like Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Mutsu (I bought a mixture of green and red apples)
- 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking Directions (see step-by-step pictures below):
- Put the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and toss to combine evenly. (Note: the apple cutter I bought from IKEA is amazing! Saves the agony of cutting the apples.)
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the apples, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes.
- Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all the juice. Shake the colander to get as much liquid as possible. Return the juices to the skillet, and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. (Note: it took me more than half an hour for the sauce to thicken from the watery juices to the consistency in the 5th picture below)
- In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the reduced juice and spices. Set aside to cool completely. (This filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.)
- Roll the dough out with even thickness between two boards (mine is store-bought and that’s why it looks so perfect. Don’t fret – you can roll it out into a circle too, as long as the width is longer than your pie pan’s width so your strips can fit across)
- Use a ruler to measure across the dough and make marks 1.5cm apart from each other using a knife. Do this twice, one marking above and one marking below so that two two points help you align your ruler when cutting, and ensure you don’t go out of line.
- You should get nice horizontal strips like picture 3 below. The thickness of the strips is up to your preference. More strips will mean more weaves and vice versa. It depends on the look you’re going for!
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with one of the discs of dough
- Fill the pie with the apples evenly
- Trim the extra dough hanging over the sides it so it lays about 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan
- Lay the strips of dough horizontally across the pie, ensuring it’s equal width apart
- Pull strips 1, 3 and 5 (odd-numbered strips) to the left
- Place a strip vertically across the pie and pull strips 1, 3, 5 and 7 (odd-numbered strips) back to the right
- Pull strips 2, 4, 6 and 8 (even-numbered strips) to the left
- Place a strip vertically across the pie and pull strips 2, 4 and 6 (even-numbered strips) back to the right
- Repeat steps 8-11 on the right and do the same for the left till the entire weave is complete.
- Trim the strips that is hanging over the sides of the pan so that so it lays about 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan
- Roll the sides up and crimp/flute it at the top so that it seals the pie
- Glaze the dough with egg wash and sprinkle sugar over the top
- Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes
- Cut a rough disk the size of your pie pan. This will form the disk for the top of your pie
- Using an apple cookie cutter, cut out apples from the round disk
- If you have a leaf cookie cutter, cut out leaves from the remaining dough. If you don’t have one (like me), see what you can find in your cupboard and improvise! I used a tear drop shaped cookie cutter and cut out about 20 tear drops
- With the tear drop, pull the rounded edge out gently to the right, shaping it so that it’s a curved V
- Using a knife, gently carve out the veins on the leaves
- See the difference in the picture below: the tear drop transforms to a leaf after pulling the top and carving the veins
- Fill the pie with your apple filling evenly
- Place the round disk with the apple design over the pie
- Fold up the sides and crimp/flute it and seal it into the pie
- Place the leaves in a circle around the pie and press it down so that it sticks to the pie
- Bake the pie on a baking sheet until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. (I used an 8-inch shallow pie and 50 minutes was WAY too long. The crust came out very hard so my advice is to bake it for 20 minutes and increase the timing if required as you go along.)
- Cool on a rack before serving.
- The pie keeps well at room temperature (covered) for 24 hours, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.
If you made it this far, congrats! Let me know what pie designs you come up with 🙂