For the Filling:
3 pounds Golden Delicious or Gala apples, peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch slices, and then halved crosswise
2/3 cup apple cider
1/2 to 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Crust:
2 level cups all-purpose flour
1 level teaspoon salt
3/4 level cup solid vegetable shortening, or lard
5 tablespoons cold water (Note: Some brands of flour may need more water)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar cubes (about 12 small), coarsely crushed
Note: You will need a 9-inch pie plate for making this pie in.
To Make the Filling:
In a large pot, mix the apples, all but 2 tablespoons of the cider, the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved and the apples are evenly coated. Mix the cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons cider into a paste; add this to the apples. Stirring constantly, boil until the liquid is thickened and clear, about 1 minute (you're not cooking the apples, just thickening the juices). Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
To Make the Pie Crust:
Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender (or two knives) until all flour is just blended, forming pea-sized chunks. Sprinkle mixture with water, one tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly with a fork until you've formed dough into a ball. Divide dough in half and press each half into a round disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Flour work surface and rolling pin lightly. Roll one disk of dough into a circle approxiamtely 1/8 of an inch thick and trim dough to about 2 inches in diameter larger than your 9-inch pie plate. Loosen dough carefully from work surface and fold into quarters. Unfold and press into your 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge even with pie plate. Moisten edge. Add cooled filling.
Roll out top crust. Fold and lift onto filled pie. Fold top edge under bottom crust and flute with finger or fork. Brush the heavy cream over the top crust and sprinkle with the crushed sugar cubes, pressing lightly to secure the chunks. Cut at least three vent holes in top crust.
To Bake Pie:
Position racks in the low and middle spots of the oven. Set a foil-lined baking sheet on the lower rack to catch drips and heat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). Bake pie on the middle rack until the crust is golden and the apples are tender when pierced with a knife, about 55 minutes. If the top starts browning too quickly, tent the pie with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and let pie cool on rack. Serve warm, or at room temperature with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, 8 servings.
Date: June 9, 2002