Apple pie holds a special place in my memory as what spurred me into the kitchen in earnest. My uncle brought this beautiful apple pie to Thanksgiving one year when I was 13 years old. It was the most fantastic pie we'd ever laid our eyes on...piled high full of apples, the crust was golden and perfect, and I swear I could hear angels singing "aaaahhhhh!" over this pie. It was gorgeous. But when it was served, it tasted fermented. Not bad, but like too much of it would get you drunk. It was a little bit of a letdown...such a pretty pie, it didn't taste as good as it looked. And right then, I determined that I would make my pies bigger, stuffed full of more apples, more beautiful, and taste so good it'd knock the socks off of anyone. And I did. Year after year, apple pie was the pride and joy of my Thanksgiving offerings. Of course I branched out from apple pie, and what I create in the kitchen remains a source of great satisfaction (though I tend to be a better baker than a cook).
So fast forward 20 years later, when my kitchen is (still relatively new to being) gluten and casein free. I've had good success with this new reality, and I've conquered the GFCF pie crust to my satisfaction. But I had some trepidation about apple pie. Could I get it as stuffed full of apples as before? Would the crust behave, or would it crack and sink and fall apart into the apple filling? Would it be flaky and fabulous, or just so-so? What would become of my pride and joy apple pie, the hallmark of my culinary conquests? Okay, I'm going a little overboard here, but only slightly. I really was worried about apple pie for Thanksgiving this year. I took a chance on a new flour blend for the pie crust (High Protein Blend) and halved the amount of apples I'd usually put in a pie, just in case the crust was cranky. The pastry handled well, and it looked nice going into the oven. Coming out of the oven, the crust had cracked and separated all the way around the edges of the pie, and it had hugged the apples in an odd sort of way. It was not perfect looking, but it was not horrendous looking either.
It browned nicely and the edges of the crust did not burn. But really, the true test is in the tasting. And...the crust was flaky. It was not gritty, it was not gummy. I could not believe how flaky the crust turned out to be...it was perfect. Totally perfect. It might not look as beautiful as I wanted it to look, but it tasted fabulous. I'm SO happy. Next time, I'll use twice as many apples!
6 - 8 large tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (use more apples, if you dare)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 egg white, beaten until frothy
cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling
pastry for 2 crust pie
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out half the pie pastry and line the pie plate with the pastry. Set aside.
Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Combine the sugars through the allspice with a fork and mix well. Toss the sugar mixture with the apples. Carefully place the apples in the pie plate, mounding apples in the middle of the pie.
Roll out the top crust and place on top of the apple filling. Trim the edges and flute. Brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cut slits in the top of the pie for the steam to vent through. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the heat to 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the crust is evenly brown and golden (if the crust does not look like it's getting golden enough by 20 minutes at 350 degrees, increase the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes). Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.