Good apple pie begins with great pie dough that's easy to make and handle. This recipe uses the pie dough from the Foolproof Pie Dough recipe. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to make the pie dough.
This apple pie starts with cooked (rather than raw) apples. When raw apples are used in a pie, they shrink to almost nothing, leaving a huge gap between the top crust and filling. Precooking the apples eliminates the shrinking problem and actually helps the apples hold their shape once baked in the pie.
This probably seems counterintuitive, but here's what happens: When the apples are gently heated, their pectin is converted to a heat-stable form that prevents the apples from becoming mushy when cooked further in the oven.
The key is to keep the temperature of the apples below 140 degrees during this precooking stage. Rather than cooking the apples in a skillet (where they are likely to become too hot), it's best to gently heat the apples and seasonings in a large covered Dutch oven. Cooling the apples before putting them in the pie crust is essential so that the butter in the crust doesn't melt immediately.
Finally, we drain almost all of the juice from the apples (reserving just 1/4 cup) to ensure a perfectly juicy and moist, but not soupy, apple pie.
Total Cooking Time: about 6 hours
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Active Cooking Time: about 2 hours
Make Ahead: Serve within 1 day
Yield: 8 servings
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