Sunday, November 10, 2013


It's fall, the trees along the creek are starting to look bare, brisk days, cool nights, time for some pie!  We brought home, from our trip to Oregon, a bag of new-crop apples from Washington so I thought it would be a good day to make my Sky-High Apple Pie!

For starters, the crust:

I like the following recipe because it is nice and flaky.


3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons white sugar
1  cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
5 tablespoons water

If you are using your mixer, attach the paddle type blade and combine flour, salt and sugar.  Mix well then cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl, combine egg, vinegar, and 4 tablespoons of water.  Whisk together.

then add gradually to flour mixture, mixing until dough ball forms. If too stiff, add a little more water.

Form the dough into a disk or in my case I DOUBLED the recipe because this pie is to larger and the top requires much more crust than a normal pie.  I created one large disk and two smaller ones.  You will not need all of the dough so either freeze for another time or because it is a sweet dough roll out and make some cookies by spreading a little butter on the top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Please note I use Wondra to dust whatever surface you will use to roll out the pastry - Wondra is very finely ground flour and does not cake on the pastry and you will need to thoroughly dust any surface so that the pastry dough does not stick, dust the top too.

Put the dough in the fridge for at least half an hour to chill - if longer than that let it rest a few minutes before rolling out the dough.


Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees

5 1/2 Pounds apples, I like to use a tart apple like Granny Smith for about half and a sweeter apple for the other half.
2 Lemons, juiced
1 Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg if you have it otherwise out of the jar will do
3 tablespoons butter diced into little pieces

1 egg yolk plus 2 tablespoons of water for egg wash
Extra sugar to dust the pie with (I like to use sanding sugar)

Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/4 in slices.

To prevent discolor of the apples sprinkle them with the juice of two lemons and stir the apples to make sure you get complete coverage.

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar and spices, toss with the apples and make sure that all the apples are covered with the flour, sugar, spice mixture.

Remove one of the smaller disks of pastry dough from the fridge and roll it out being careful to not tear.  Using a deep pie dish put the pastry into the dish, letting the edges just fall over the sides, no need to worry about the edges as you will see later.

Now pile the apples into your pie plate and sprinkle with the little cubes of butter. Retrieve the larger disk from the fridge and roll it out and gently lay over the pie.  Just pinch the edges together to seal.

Using leaf cutters cut out lots of various leafs and arrange around the edge to seal and randomly around the pie - if you have had a separation in the crust you can cover with a leaf.  There is plenty of moisture in the pastry dough so that it sticks with out any wash or water.

I use the end of a large pastry tip to make a round hole in the top and then using a sharp knife cut some steam slits in several places.

These are the cutters I use and also the pastry tip for cutting the steam vent on the top.

Separate the egg from the white, discard the white or save for later use and add the 2 tablespoons of water to the yolk to make an egg wash.  Using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of the pie and then sprinkle sugar all over the surface.

Put into the 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes, the pie should be browning, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 45-50 minutes.  Be sure and put the pie on a cookie sheet so that any juices that overflow during the baking go on the sheet and not your oven.

COOKS NOTES:  Obviously a big, tall pie like this will take a little longer to cook and oven temperatures vary (if it is getting dark in the front, turn it around during the baking cycle). If you are making this pie pay close attention and make sure before you take it out of the oven that the juices are bubbling and if not put a tent of foil over the pie (to prevent it from getting the crust too dark) and let it continue to cook until you see the juices are bubbling.

You can use any crust you like as I will admit that this particular crust can be a little difficult to handle but I like the taste and it is nice and flaky.

Regarding what to use for the fat in your crust, I think that is a personal choice as to weather you use butter, margarine, lard, leaf lard, or solid vegetable shortening. I personally think leaf lard makes the most flaky crust but it has such a bad rap these days that I never use lard anymore.


Apple corer/slicer link: OXO Good Grips Apple Corer and Divider
Apple peeler link: Apple Peeler - Peals in Seconds (82-AP24) -

Pastry Tip, Wilton, available wherever pastry supplies are sold, Walmart, Hobby Lobby

Link for leaf cookie cutters: NY CAKE Leaves Set Plunger and Cutter, Set of 4

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