Cold days are perfect for pie making. The pastry stays cold while you're working with it. Apples and citrus fruits and cranberries are available. The hot oven fills the kitchen with warmth and the whole house with the smell of butter, fruit, cinnamon and the mysterious aroma of a beautiful pie. We've finally had some frosty mornings here in South Carolina, and the holidays are officially here. I made a special pie to welcome my family and kick off the baking season. I used Chez Pim's One Pie Dough to Rule Them All (don't mess with perfection) for the crust. Click through for her easy to follow directions and beautiful photography. Actually, I made the three batches of dough and put two in the freezer for later. It was satisfying to see all those empty butter wrappers and boxes scattered through the kitchen. For the filling, I looked on a few of my favorite baking blogs and settled on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who got the recipe from America's Test Kitchen. Naturally I made a few small changes, but only in the fruit. I used four large Granny Smith apples, one small Fugi apple, and one cup of blueberries.
Apple Blueberry Pie
4 or 5 Granny Smith apples
1 or 2 Fugi or McIntosh apples
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (defrost in a bowl of warm water before using)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg, beaten
2 pie shells
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat to 500 degrees. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack to preheat.
Roll out the pie dough for the bottom crust and place in pie pan. Refrigerate the dough lined pie plate while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Peel, core and dice apples and toss with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and the zest from one lemon.
In another small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt and spices. Pour the dry ingredients over the fruit and toss to combine. Turn this fruit mixture into the cold pie shell and mound it slightly in the center.
Roll out the dough for the top crust. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with egg (it will glue the two pieces together) and then place the top crust on........the top! Trim the top and bottom edges of dough to 1/2 inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself and seal the edges with a fork or a fancy fluted edge. Cut 4 to 6 slits in the top crust for venting. If this has taken a long time and the dough is getting warmish, place the whole pie in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the 1 Tablespoon sugar. Place the pie in the oven on the hot baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pie and reduce oven temperature to 375. Continue baking until juices bubble and crust is a deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer. If you are getting dark brown spots that might burn, you can cover them with foil to slow down the browning. This tends to happen around the edges.
Smell the crust, see the juices bubbling, know that you are a pie goddess, remove it carefully from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. This will take hours, so you might need to leave the house and run some errands while it smells delicious and slowly cools.
The crust is so flaky and perfect that I could eat it alone. The filling is wonderfully spiced and mildly tart from the Granny Smiths. This is a good pie.