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Apple Pie

makes 1 (9-inch) pie

This apple pie is as close to perfection as pies can be.

Read more about this recipe at the Washington Post.


2 to 2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices, sprinkled with lemon juice
Butter for greasing pie tin
Flour for work surface
Pie crust for a double-crust pie (either your favorite recipe or store-bought; do not use frozen)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling on the crust
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch (use maximum if apples are juicy)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces


prep: 20 minutes
total: 1 hour


rimmed baking sheet
heavy-duty aluminum foil
medium non-stick pan
large bowl
9-inch pie pan
pastry cloth (optional)
rolling pin
kitchen scissors
pastry brush


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Position oven shelf in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil, to be used as a drip pan, and set aside.

2. In a medium nonstick pan over medium heat, cook the sliced apples so that their juices are released and then evaporated, which will take about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so the apples do not burn. Transfer the apples to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Lightly grease pie pan and set aside.

4. Prepare the pie dough according to package directions, if using, keeping dough in the refrigerator until ready to use. Lightly dust a pastry cloth or rolling surface and the rolling pin with flour. Using 1/2 of the dough, roll it into an 11-inch disk using clockwise motion, starting from the center. It's best not to roll right to the edge of the dough or turn the dough over. Flour the surface as necessary, to make sure the dough does not stick.

5. Starting at the top of the dough (farthest from you), gently lift it just over the pin and roll toward you. Unroll it over the pie plate. Fit the dough in loosely, and trim the edges with kitchen scissors so that 1/4-inch of the bottom crust extends beyond the pie pan rim. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with the teaspoon of soft butter, which will help keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.

6. When ready to assemble the pie, add the light brown sugar, sugar to taste, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice to the cooked apple mixture.

7. Pour the apple mixture into the pie crust, using your hands to fit the apples snugly into pan. Dot with the butter pieces.

8. Remove the second half of dough from refrigerator. Roll out as directed for the bottom crust, and place on top of the apples.

9. Using your hands, push the top crust gently toward the center so that the crust doesn't pull when you crimp the edges. Trim the excess dough with kitchen scissors so that top crust extends 1/2-inch beyond the pie pan rim. Tuck the top crust under the bottom, sealing together, and push slightly upward to form a wall. Using a fork dipped in flour or your floured fingers, crimp the edges.

10. Using a fork, prick the top crust in several places. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Cut heavy-duty aluminum foil in three 3-inch-wide strips, folding them so that there is a 1-inch double-fold section in each one. Fit the foil with double thickness over the top edge of crust and the single thickness underneath. Cover the complete outer edge of pie plate, overlapping the strips securely.

11. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, then place the prepared drip pan on the lowest rack. Continue baking for another 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil guards and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the pie juices begin to bubble. Serve warm.

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