This is it. This is the apple pie to end all apple pies. I’ve tried a few recipes before, including Thanksgiving 2014’s Apple Crisp Pie and Memorial Day 2015’s Salted Caramel Apple Pie, but this one is the best of the three.
In the prior two pies, I used granny smith, honey crisp, and pink lady apples. I used all three varieties in this apple pie, but I read a number of blogs that indicated golden delicious would be another solid choice. I had enough space that I probably could have added another apple and may add a third golden delicious the next time I bake it.
What makes this pie exceptional, however, is the process of macerating the apples, combining the excess apple juice with boiled cider, and reducing this liquid mixture. It helps to soften the apples while also producing a phenomenally flavor without adding too many spices. I tried to boil my own cider using this recipe, but I failed to keep a watchful eye towards the end of the boiling and ended up with a burnt syrup. So, I purchased the boiled cider (and pie filling enhancer) from King Arthur Flour. Now that I know the consistency of the boiled cider, I think it would be easier to make myself, though.
I topped the pie with some festive coarse sugar that my GIL gave me. Aside from the possibility of adding another apple, I think I would spend more time layering the apple slices into the pie crust so that it may be easier to cut clean slices (although I’m not convinced this would be the case anyway).
6-9 medium/large apples (I used 2 granny smith, 2 honey crisp, 2 pink lady, 2 golden delicious)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup boiled cider
1/4 cup pie filling enhancer (or 1-2 tbsp. Instant Clearjel or all-purpose flour)
- Make two pie crusts.
- Prepare apples and place them in a large bowl. Toss the apples with sugar, salt, spices, and lemon juice. Set bowl aside for up to 2 hours to allow apples to macerate.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees, with oven rack placed at lowest position.
- Remove liquid from bottom of apple bowl to a small saucepan with the boiled cider. Cook until mixture has reduced by half into a thickened syrup but is easily pourable. Set aside.
- Add the pie filling enhancer to the apples, stirring to coat.
- Place apples into prepared pie crust, drizzle the syrup mixture over the filling, then top with the second pie crust (cutting slits for ventilation). Brush the pie crust with milk and sprinkle coarse sugar.
- Bake the pie on a baking sheet in the preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes. The pie is finished when it is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.