I had to search back through the blog to figure out the last time we made an apple pie - it was almost a year ago! Definitely way too long. I usually make a double-crust pie, but this one sounded good and was a little lighter (that means bigger pieces I think!)
The pastry is nothing out of the ordinary; it does include butter and shortening so you get both the richness and flakiness that the each provide. It was pretty easy to work with, just make sure that everything is icy cold when you make it. The original recipe did not call for the dough to be chilled before rolling, but that is something I like to do to let the dough relax and firm the butter back up.
I used a combination of tart Granny Smith and sweet/tart Fireside apples - they are thinly sliced and tossed with just a bit of granulated sugar to sweeten, flour to thicken and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. I used about 5 1/2 cups, but I don't think that was enough as my apples cooked down more than I expected (always happens!) - I would think about using 7 or 7 1/2 cups next time. Instead of a top pastry crust, the apples are scattered with a simple crumbly mixture of flour, brown sugar and butter. Once fully assembled, the pie starts out in a hot oven to give the bottom crust a blast of heat, but then the temperature is lowered to give the apples plenty of time to cook.
When I went to cut the pie, I was happily surprised to see that while it was still juicy, it cut into clean pieces without any of the sweet liquid oozing out. The apples had just enough time to soften, yet still retain their texture so they didn't turn to mush. I thought I would miss the flaky top crust, but we quite enjoyed the buttery crumbles and felt we were able to taste more of the apple's flavor.
Crumb-Topped Apple Pie