It’s that time of the year where local apple orchards are bursting with fresh apples (I’m talking about you Sperryville!). So much so that I’ve been getting apples for free from friends who picked too many apples. At first I was just going to make them into a quick crumble but I thought why not take the opportunity to make a video! This video differs from the earlier apple pie video in two ways.
The first way this apple pie recipe differs from the earlier episode is the filling is pre-cooked.
Some fruit pies have you toss all the ingredients together and then it fully cooks and thickens in the oven. In most cases this isn’t a huge deal especially if you’re doing a streusel crumb topping. What may happen is your fruit bakes down a lot or rises and bubbles a lot and then shrinks down as it cools. This warping can cause your top crust to burst or warp. Since we’re doing a lattice top, a pre-cooked filling is a safer way to go. In any case, make sure the pre-cooked filling is cooled so it doesn’t melt your crusts.
The second way is that this pie has a lattice top rather than a streusel topping.
Lattice tops look really impressive but between you and me I don’t really think they contribute a lot of flavor or texture. I’m over here like, “If you want the taste of a top crust, make it double crust!” But still, they really do look gorgeous plus it shows off the filling.
Making a lattice top is easier than it looks, although it takes some time to assemble.Lattice tops use less dough than a full crust, so you’ll only theoretically need half as much as pie dough for the top. That being said, roll out a full crust so it maintains its thickness and if you break any pieces you’ll have extras to work with. Roll out the dough to about a 10″ diameter for a 9″ pie then cut it into 3/4″ strips.
Next, fill your bottom crust with the cooled filling and make a well along the edge of the dough so your filling is almost mounded in the center with about 1/2″ of the side crust showing. This gives your strips something extra to grip onto especially if your bottom crust tore from the edge.
Begin by placing about 5 strips 3/4″ away from each other in the same direction. If you imagine your pie as a clock, they should be going from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Do not press or anchor the strips into the bottom crust yet.Now imagine those strips numbered from 1 – 5. The leftmost strip is 1, middle is 3, and the rightmost is 5. Take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th strips and peel them back about halfway down the pie.
Now take a new strip (#6) and place it from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock on your pie near where the strips’ curved folded edge is. Unfold the 1st, 3rd, and 5th strips so they are reaching the full diameter of the pie again. So now you have one strip running 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock and 5 strips running 12 o’clock to 6′o clock. Still with me?Next peel the 2nd and 4th strips back so their folded edge is about 3/4″ away from the edge of the 6th strip that you laid 9-3 o’clock. Remember, your 1st, 3rd, and 5th strips should still be the full diameter of the pie. Lay a 7th strip 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock where the 2nd and 4th strips’ folded edges are. Meanwhile the 7th strip should be 3/4″ away from the 6th strip. Are you getting it yet? Replace the 2nd and 4th strips the full diameter of the pie. Now repeat the above step on the opposite side, peeling the 2nd and 4th strips back again laying strip #8. After you’re finished you should have 3 strips going 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock and 5 strips going 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock all the full length of the pie.
Now you just need to lay the 9th and 10th strips 3/4″ away from strips 7 and 8 respectively. Just slightly peel back the 1st, 3rd, and 5th strips on either end to do so.
I know it’s a little confusing to explain and I hope the pictures help and don’t forget there’s a video below to help!
Let’s discuss the filling and toppings a little.
Your apple blend is going to contribute a great deal to your pie’s flavor. I’ve discovered that I’m pretty much a gala apple person for baked pies. I used to blend 50/50 with granny smiths but because this filling only pre-cooks some of the apples the varying texture is slightly built in. Feel free to use whatever apple blend you want.
Your pie’s flavor also comes from the seasonings you use. Traditionally cinnamon and nutmeg are used, but go crazy and feel free to experiment with anything. Try savory spices like chili powder, tarragon, or black pepper. Don’t forget you can fold in dried fruits like raisins and cranberries as well as toasted nuts.
For the toppings, you can go traditional with egg wash and some sugar. Medium grain or sanding sugar holds its shape during baking, but I like to use granulated sugar because it melts and creates a candy-like coating on top. In the video though I decided to use a little cheddar cheese on top. This adds a lot of character and a mildly savory flavor profile to the pie. This is far from new – people have been pairing cheese and apples for ages. I mean, don’t most preschoolers and kindergartners have that for lunch?
You may have noticed the leaves along the edge of my pie crust.
Yes, you can totally do that too! Roll out some pie dough and cut out about 30 leaves that about 1 1/2″ long. Then use egg wash as glue to adhere them – don’t forget to egg wash them too so they brown the same way as your lattice pieces. This is a great alternative to fluted edges (which can misshapen during baking) and can help hide any mistakes along the edge of your crust.
Here are few fundamentals videos you may need to make this pie.
Here’s my method for peeling and cutting an apple. The video dices the apple, but I use slices in this pie. To make a slice, just cut the pieces thinly longways.
You’ll also need some basic pie dough and here’s the blog post for that. There are two versions of the recipe there – one with shortening, and one with just butter. You can also check out Triple Oak Bakery’s gluten-free pie dough.
Special shout out to Jennifer at Savory Simple: A Recipe Blog for the wonderful tips on wood backgrounds for food photography! I just took some scrap wood that was used to make my entertainment center. I also love her top down photography!