Finals week looms overhead in all its ominous splendor, and all I want to do is shop for dorm-sized Christmas trees and eat entire boxes of s'mores pop tarts. If you're with me on this please stop by my room later and we can commiserate, byopt style (bring-your-own-pop-tarts).
In the meantime, here's an apple pie to get you through this next week. This is currently my favorite dessert, and here's why: The thing about pies is that they're meant to be eaten with others. A batch of cookies can be consumed all alone while you bawl your eyes out watching The Notebook. Ice cream is not willingly shared, as demonstrated by the invention of pint-sized cartons. And cupcakes are actually better eaten in solitude, as to hide all of the awkward facial expressions you make in order to avoid getting frosting up your noise.
Not so with pies.
Nobody ever bakes a pie with the intention of eating it all alone. In fact, it feels almost immoral to think of singlehandedly cleaning out the dish with a fork. No, pies are made to be baked and shared, brought to social gatherings and congregated around at the end of a good meal. A pie is meant to be surrounded by all of your favorite faces, and that is why this apple pie - warm and cinnamony, crust latticed with love and sprinkled with sugar - was the most fitting choice to bring to our very first Friendsgiving.
Seeing high school friends after our first semester apart made my heart explode with happiness. We sat on Anna's bed with pie and apple cider and caught each other up on life. Even with all the new stories to share, as the saying goes, it was as if nothing had changed. I don't know how I ever got so lucky with these friends but I am so so so grateful!
This recipe, slightly adapted from A Cozy Kitchen, is hands-down the best apple pie recipe I have ever tried. Thanksgiving or not, make this pie and gather up some of your favorite people to share it with.
Classic Apple Pie
For the pie crust:
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, frozen for 30-60 minutes beforehand
3/4 cups ice water
For the filling:
Juice from 1 lemon
3-4 apples of your favorite variety, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Raw sugar (for topping)
Make the pie crust:
Use a box grater to grate the frozen butter into small pieces. If the butter starts getting too soft, place back in the freezer for a few minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Dump the grated butter into the mixture and work quickly to combine it with your hands. The mixture should be somewhat dry and have pea-sized chunks.
Slowly, add around half of the ice water. Combine with your hands. The mixture should be shaggy. Now keep adding water little by little, just until the dough comes together. Take care not to add too much water. Without handling the dough too much, knead a few more times until the dough is cohesive and dump onto a lightly floured countertop. Form a ball and divide in half to form two discs. They should be roughly 1 and 1/2 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl, add the lemon juice. Cut the peeled apples in half and slice thinly, tossing them in the lemon juice immediately. Add flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, making sure to coat the apple slices evenly.
Putting it all together:
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on the countertop and sprinkle lightly with flour. Remove one disc from the refrigerator and roll out evenly into a 13-inch circle, making sure to lift it periodically to avoid sticking. Wrap the dough over a rolling pin to transfer it to a pie dish. Fit the dough around the bottom and edges of the dish. Trim the edges so there is about 1/2 inch overhang. Save those scraps! Transfer the dish to the refrigerator and remove the second disc.
Repeat the process to roll out second disc. Use a knife or pastry scraper to slice the circle into 1-2 inch strips for the lattice. Re-roll scraps and cut more strips until you have enough to cover the surface of the pie. If the butter starts melting and dough becomes too soft, just let it chill in the freezer for a few minutes and continue.
Remove pie dish from the refrigerator and pour in the apple filling. You can layer the apples neatly or just pour it in however you like. Create a lattice pattern with the strips of dough. This is much easier than it seems! If you need guidance, here's a helpful picture. I start by laying two strips perpendicular across the center of the pie and adding pieces from there, folding back strips when necessary. Leave about half an inch between pieces. Seal the edges.
Trim the edges and crimp your crust as desired. If you have enough dough left over, try braiding the crust or making a fancy-pants design.
Whisk together egg and heavy cream, and brush liberally over the entire pie. Sprinkle generously with raw sugar. Stick the pie in the freezer while the oven preheats to 400 degrees F.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top crust appears slightly brown. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the pie is golden and the house smells so good you think you will die if you leave the pie in there any longer. (If any parts of the crust start getting too dark, cover those parts with foil and continue baking.)
Allow the pie to cool for an hour, or as long as you can stand, before slicing and serving warm with a scoop of ice cream.