In our previous house all I had for an oven is a small table top one because the built-in convection oven was not working properly. Since the working one is small, all I could hope to bake in it is based on the size of the pan I could squeeze in. So tube pans and baking sheets are out; brownies, cookies, and mercifully pies are in, since I was able to find a pie pan small enough to fit in. At that time, I was still 'actively' lurking (what an oxymoron) in a Usenet discussion group - rec.food.cooking (RFC) and drooled over the recipes and food the members so lusciously describe. There was this one guy who touted his apple pie recipe as the 'best ever'. Hmmm, should I believe him? Only one way to find out - bake it. And guess what, he wasn't lying! It was and still is my favourite apple pie of all. Very caramelly and with a salty-sweet flavour (courtesy of the syrup).
Over the years of moving house and not having much time to bake, I lost the recipe and I was recently surfing the net trying to find the exact recipe. Good thing I managed to find the exact same one in the excellent website of the Dinner Co-op group. They credit their friend Fritz Knabe and the Southern Sideboards cookbook for the recipe.
You may use any of your favourite two-crust recipe for this. I think the only tricky thing is the latticed top crust which might be a challenge for some. But it's not really that hard to do. More like doing a basket weave which I'm sure most of you have done in your home economics class in school. For a pictorial guide on how to do it click here, go to the section for woven lattice. If lattice is not your thing, you can always put a normal rolled crust just make sure to put holes on it (decorative holes would be nice). I toned down the sugar a lot in the filling (maybe because I use Golden Delicious which is not so tart), so it's up to you if you want to increase it a bit by adding sugar. While the topping syrup is likewise reduced by a third because usually I end up with quite a bit leftover. Enjoy!
The Best Ever Apple Pie
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
4-5 Tbsp cold water
6 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 Tbsp butter melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup golden syrup or corn syrup
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 Tbsp softened butter
- For the crust:
- Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
- Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the mixture is crumbly.
- Sprinkle enough water and knead it just enough to hold it together and form a dough ball. *Do not* over work/knead it or it will become quite stiff.
- Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- For the filling:
- Mix the cornstarch, salt, butter, cinnamon, and syrup until well combined.
- Toss the chopped apples in this mixture.
- For the topping:
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- To assemble:
- Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C/fan 200°C.
- Take the dough from the fridge and divide into two.
- On a clean, floured surface or between greaseproof paper and cling film, roll flat half of the dough evenly with a rolling pin into a circle shape with a diameter of about 11 inches.
- Turn out dough on a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge until you have about 1 inch overhanging all around.
- Pour the apple filling on the pastry-lined pie plate.
- Again on a clean floured surface, roll out flat the remaining half of the dough and cut into long strips about 3/4 - 1 inch wide. Weave these strips on top of the apple filling into a lattice pattern. Trim edge until you have about 1-inch overhanging all around (same as the bottom crust).
- Tuck the overhang under and flute the sides decoratively with a fork or with fingers.
- Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Lower oven temperature to 350°F/180°C/fan 160°C and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Open the oven and spread the topping on top of the lattice crust.
- Bake for a further 10 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.