Is PIE always the finale to your Thanksgiving meal? It is in my house! Thanksgiving just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without my family’s Apple Pie recipe. We make it every year – it’s a classic with a twist and consistently turns out beautifully.
A SWEET FINISH
Thanksgiving has a few quintessential dishes like turkey, stuffing, and let's not forget about PIE! This classic dessert is essential at any Thanksgiving table and is the perfect way to wrap up your yearly feast. For as traditional as pie is, it's often times considered intimidating and overwhelming. Maybe it stems from the pressure of pulling off a flaky crust, or maybe it has to do with cooking the filling just right. Whatever it may be, I’ll be walking you through the pie making process – top to bottom. If you are a first time pie baker, no need to worry. I've got you covered with everything you need to know!
It's important to equip yourself with the right tools for baking a pie. There are obvious tools like a pie dish and rolling pin for rolling out your crust, but one tool that might not seem as obvious is a precise digital thermometer. I swear by my ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 and reach for it over and over during my holiday cooking, and in the case of pie it will help us achieve a super flaky crust and perfectly cooked filling every time. Who knew?! I also love a food processor for making the pie dough. I find it's the easiest way to yield consistent results.
PIE TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Keep it COLD! When it comes to tackling pie crust, you want to keep the temperature in mind make sure your ingredients are cold. Because of flavor, I prefer an all butter crust. Most people know that when making an all-butter crust you want it to be cold, but did you know that the butter should be between an exact temperature range? Somewhere between 37ºF - 40ºF for the ultimate flaky crust. Butter that's too warm or too cold can really affect those results. Once you've got the right temperature read with your Thermapen, I like breaking my butter down just a bit for more even distribution throughout the crust. Even your ice water needs to cold enough to get the results you're after. I also check my ice water to make sure it's at 32ºF.
- Shapeshifter After pulling your pie dough together, wrap it in plastic wrap and shape it into a flat disk – similar to the shape of your pie plate. This will make rolling out an even dough much easier.
- When it comes to the apple pie filling there are a few things I like to do. First, dice your apples in to bite size pieces which will ensure that you get a delicious bite every time. I prefer a combination of apple varieties (like Gala and McCintosh) to add depth to the flavor. I always cook my apples down for 5 minutes or so to release some of the liquid which will help the overall texture of our pice.
- Cool filling completely before building the pie. If your filling is too hot when it hits your pie dough it can affect the overall flakiness.
The ingredient that really makes this pie sing is almond paste. I love the combination of apple and almond flavors so much. By rolling a thin layer of almond paste of top of the bottom crust you create a perfect flavor pairing with apple and almond in every bite. It adds the perfect amount of nuttiness without being overpowering.
PERFECT FILLING EVERY TIME
I typically like to bake my apple pies at 400ºF for 45-50 minutes or so, but what I'm really after is an internal temperature of about 180ºF. What this ensures is that my apples are still somewhat firm and that my filling won't be runny.
MAKING IT LOOK AS GOOD AS IT TASTES
Remember that visible butter in your pie dough ensures that you're on track for both flakiness and flavor. Don't forget to vent your pie before sliding it into the oven – this will allow the steam to escape so that you don't get a big bubble in between the apples and crust. Finally, for that beautiful finish, remember to do an egg wash to give it a glossy top. An egg wash is also the perfect base for a dusting of raw sugar that will add some texture to the top of your crust and give it a professional finish.
PIE LOVE YOU
If you're a first time pie baker and you're worried about it looking like it's bakery quality – forget about it! I'm convinced that pies that look homemade taste even better. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received (from Bobby Flay of all people) is that if something doesn't look "perfect" call it RUSTIC and you'll have everyone fooled. Who doesn't want to dive right into a Rustic Almond Apple Pie, right?!
In partnership with ThermoWorks, I'm going to walk you through the entire Almond Apple Pie process with helpful tips to make it successful. All opinions expressed here are my own.