I've been making this same apple pie for years -- very basic. This pie is crammed with apples, not too sweet and a crust that's easy to make and tastes good too. If your apples are really tart, increase the sugar to 2/3 cup. I've taught a few people first-hand to make this pie, (exactly as I have the instructions here, although some folks make their apples up a couple of hours ahead of time), and they've all said that it was really easy as long as they went step-by-step and didn't get into a big hurry. And the secret to this easy crust is CRISCO. I've tried cheap shortening before in a pinch and it just doesn't work for me. I've tried lard too but I don't like the aftertaste. Also, I don't bother to sift my flour -- I just use it straight out of the bag and I never have a problem. So, have fun with this one -- it's a good recipe to get teens involved with if they show some interest in cooking because this pie comes out of the oven looking so great even when there are big "patches" on the crust. Enjoy! big pat.
- Use about 1 teaspoon of the Crisco to grease a 9 or 10-inch pyrex (glass) pie pan.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- On a flat working surface, dust the area with 1/4 cup of the flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour in 3 cups of the flour (this leaves you with 1/4 cup of flour). Add the salt and mix it in with the flour. Add the remaining Crisco and the butter and work it with your hands until you get peas-sized "grainy" flour. Add 1/2 cup of water to the flour and blend it (with your hands or a fork) until it forms a good pie dough. Add any additional water a Tablespoon at a time if it is needed.
- NOTE: If the dough gets sticky, you've added too much water, just add a little more flour until the consistency is right.
- Next, cut the dough in half and make a fat pancake out of each with your hands. Place one hunk of dough back into the mixing bowl and place a slightly dampened towel down over it. Lay the second one on the floured working surface.
- Use a rolling pin to carefully roll out the dough, making it as much of a circle shape as possible. (Never roll back and forth -- I start from the center and carefully roll out to the edges mostly) Roll it out, dusting the top with a little of the remaining flour as needed to avoid it sticking to the rolling pin. (You can also wipe down and dust your rolling pin occasionally). When the dough is about 1/16" thick, it's done. Dust the top with a little flour and then carefully pull one side back and lay the dough on itself to form a half-moon. Dust the half that's now exposed, flip it over and lightly dust the second half.
- Lay the dough into the greased pie pan, still folded in half, and once it's in the pan, carefully unfold it to cover the entire plate. Carefully ease the dough into the pan without ever stretching it. Use a sharp paring knife or scissors to trim the dough around the pan, allowing about 3/4" to hang over the edge. After trimming, simply use the excess hanging dough by pulling it back up with your fingers and folding it along the top edge. This need not be neat, just roughly form an edge.
- Place the crust in the preheated oven and allow it to bake until the slightest bit of brown begins to show on the crust edge in one or two spots, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the crust off to the side for awhile.
- Peel the apples, quarter them, and drop them into a bowl of water. Cut the lemon in two and squeeze all the juice into the water before dropping the peeled apples in (this keeps them from browning).
- Having a second bowl ready at hand for apple slices, cut the core portions from each apple quarter and slice up the remaining apple piece, I usually get about 4-5 slices from each quarter.
- When all the apple slices are in the second bowl, pour on the sugar, (reserving 1 teaspoon of it) cinnamon and allspice. You can add a couple dashes of salt if you wish.
- Mix with a spoon and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Next, fill the baked pie crust with the apple slices, adding as much syrup from the bottom of the bowl as you like. Mound the apples up in the center of the pie to about 3/4- 1" above the pie pan edge.
- Make your pie crust top the same as you made the bottom and lay it carefully over the filling. Trim it, leaving about 3/4" extra "hangover". Pull the extra crust up and, as you did before, just roughly (carefully!) form it on to the existing edge. Don't worry about making it pretty. If it sticks out here and there, that's all the better.
- Next, add 1/2 teaspoon of water to your egg white and whisk with a fork in a bowl. Use a small brush or your fingers to rub the egg white on to the pie crust top, getting the edges as well. Once you have done this, sprinkle your remaining teaspoon of sugar over the top.
- Use a sharp knife to cut some air holes into the pie crust top. I cut an "A" into my apple pies, which works well to allow steam to escape.
- Bake the pie (same temperature, 400°.) for about 30 minutes. When it is golden brown on top, it's done.
- Allow the pie to rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serve with vanilla ice cream on the side.
- TIP: Some people like the gooey apple pie filling similar to the canned pie filling. If that's the way you like it, just allow your apples to sit for 1/2 an hour with the sugar and spices on them and a syrup will form. Pour this syrup into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 1/3 cup of water and pour it into the apple syrup and bring to a boil, Whisk until it thickens and remove from heat. You can pour this back over your apples and then fill your pie with it. Personally, I don't care for it but life's not the same for everybody!).