It’s a little hard for me to believe that this is my first full pie on this site, but it seems like I really have a predilection for small, muffin-sized pies. I do have a soft spot for small desserts, because it allows you to sample a few pie flavours instead of being stuck choosing only one of so many amazing flavours (seriously, cherry… apple… pumpkin… lemon meringue…blueberry… I couldn’t narrow it down enough to pick just one favourite). But I was recently asked to make an apple pie so finally I had a chance to do a full pie from scratch!
I decided to do a lattice top on this pie, because I find it gives a nicer overall look to finish. Unfortunately, this means that I also decided I would be spending a little more time on this pie, since a lattice is a little more time-consuming than a full crust top (though, to be fair, a good amount of this time is chilling in the freezer).
Normally, Betty Crocker is my go-to when I’m baking, because I’ve always had good luck with her cake recipes, but I also have this amazing book from America’s Test Kitchen. The amount of work that went into this book is absolutely staggering. They’ve tried every possible adjustment to their recipes: mixes of types of sugar, different ratios of shortening and butter, different amounts of water and flour… Every recipe I’ve tried from this book has come out amazing. Their sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies are to die for (also they are huge – a full 1/4 cup of dough in each cookie). I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving about two years ago using one of their recipes and it was amazing. I think part of it is the addition of lemon zest to the filling, instead of just lemon juice.
To make the lattice top, they recommend using a slightly stiffer dough that has a little less shortening and butter and a little more ice water. I divided my dough into two pieces and refrigerated for about an hour. Once they were chilled, I rolled out and cut my lattice strips and popped them in the freezer to firm up. Then I rolled out the bottom crust, placed it in the pie shell, and let it sit in the fridge.
The filling for this pie has a combination of granny smith apples and macintosh apples. The granny smith apples hold their shape well when baked, and the macintosh apples add more sweetness compared to the tart granny smith. The filling calls for a combination of lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, a little flour (only 2 tbsp), cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. I deviated a little from the recipe and left out the nutmeg and allspice while doubling the cinnamon.
After placing on the lattice top, I folded over the edges of the bottom pie crust and crimped the dough. I had some leftover pie crust and one area of the lattice that I didn’t like the look of, so I cut out a few leaf shapes using a circle cutter and traced out some veins on the leaves with a dull knife.
At this stage, apple pies always look like they are completely overfilled, but of course the filling does sink while baking. Also, what would be the fun of an underfilled apple pie? No fun at all.
I put the pie in the freezer while heating a baking sheet in the oven. The oven starts at its highest temperature, 500 F, before being brought down to 425 when the pie goes in. This preheating stage gave me some time to chill my dough, brush on some egg white, and then sprinkle on some sugar before baking. I love the addition of a little extra sugar on the crust; it adds a lovely, delicate crunch to each bite.
The pie baked for around 50 minutes; 25 at 425 F, then another 35 minutes at 375 F. I covered the full pie with tinfoil a little after halfway through the baking process, because the top apples were starting to brown. With a lattice crust, I often like to cover the whole top of a pie, not just the crust, because I find the thinner lattice pieces and apples can burn a little.
Here’s the pie fresh out of the oven, with a lovely golden brown on that top crust:
The crust sunk nicely with the apples and held its shape well, though I’m a little disappointed that the crimping on the crust became less distinct after baking.
As a bonus, I had a little leftover pie crust, so I decided to make some super mini pies. I used a small circle cutter to cut out my dough, and then pressed it into a greased mini muffin pan. I filled with some leftover lemon curd that I made two days before, and topped with a little meringue (whipped egg whites with sugar and vanilla). Once my apple pie was out of the oven, I popped these in for 11 minutes until the meringue was nice and browned.
These mini pies are too cute. That saucer in the picture above? It’s a saucer for an espresso cup. It’s just a little bigger than my palm. The pairing of the sweet, slightly caramelized meringue with the tartness of the lemon curd is perfect. I was able to make nine of these mini pies, so I brought them in to my dance class to share with my students. A perfect little treat at the end of class!