Take the recipe a step at a time, and you’ll have an outstanding pie. Don’t skip sugaring the apples ahead. This trick from baking pro Rose Levy Beranbaum ensures there’ll be no soupy pie filling. Freezing the pastry ingredients for 20 minutes helps with a flaky crust. Make the crust first. As it chills, prepare the apples and set them aside. Then roll out the crust, give it a rest, fill and bake.
2-1/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (measure by dipping cup into the flour sack and then sweeping off any excess with a flat knife blade)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, each cut into 4 or 5 pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water or iced apple juice
6 large Granny Smith apples (or other tart apple), peeled, cored and sliced about 1/2-inch thick
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 to 2/3 tightly packed cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons sugar
To make the piecrust, put the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large plastic freezer bag. Add the cut-up butter and freeze 20 minutes to 3 months. Turn the contents into a food processor, and process a few seconds, or until the butter pieces are the size of large peas. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, and 5 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until the dough barely begins gathering in clumps. If it is dry, sprinkle in the rest of the water and pulse. Gather the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap and chill 30 to 60 minutes.
Toss together the apples and lemon juice. Add the other ingredients for the filling, tasting for sweetness. Turn into a sieve and set over a bowl. Leave for 30 to 60 minutes.
Grease a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Roll out the bigger piece of dough on a well-floured board into a big circle that’s about 1/8- to 1/16-inch thick. Lightly flour the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Fit it into the pie pan, leaving about a 2-inch overhang. Chill 30 minutes.
Spread a piece of foil over a cookie sheet. Roll out remaining dough to a circle about 16 inches in diameter. Spread on the foil and chill 30 minutes.
Turn the drained juices from the filling into a saucepan and boil them into a thick syrup. Scrape back into the apples. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill the bottom of the pie shell with the apples, mounding them high. Cover with the other pastry. Seal edges together by rolling the overhang over the top crust and pinching them together. There should be a high ridge of crust around the pie-plate rim. Brush beaten egg over the top of the pie, and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the pie on a cookie sheet for 45 to 60 minutes, or until juices are bubbling and the apples are tender when you pierce them through one of the steam holes. If edges get too dark, cover them with foil. Cool the pie on a rack. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
Makes a 9- or 10-inch two-crusted pie, serving 8.
Per serving: 517 calories; 24 g fat (15 g saturated fat; 42 percent calories from fat); 73 g carbohydrates; 89 mg cholesterol; 126 mg sodium; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber.