The Perfect Pie

by Dec 19, 2023Recipes, Southern Sandi, Southport Oak Island

Apple pie is the quintessential staple of any American kitchen, and this is how to make a great one.

What is more American than a classic apple pie? Well, it just so happens that neither apples nor the pie originally came from America, but Americans have adopted it as an established symbol of their country. The apples are native to Asia and the pie was adopted from Europe — so it’s not really American at all.

Nonetheless, apple pie is one of my favorite pies to make and eat. It can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be and it can appear as fancy or as rustic as you wish.

The perfect pie starts with your choice of apple. I prefer the Granny Smith because they are tart, very firm and hold up well during the baking process. Other apples may be less crisp, turn mushy or lack a sweet or tart flavor.

The second deciding factor is the pie crust. Look, I have certainly tried to make my own pie crust, but it never turns out to be as good or as easy to manipulate as the prepared type you buy from the grocery store. Feel free to make your own, but for the sake of time and creating a delicious pie, I just buy it prepared and ready to use.

Sandi's Pies at home

Sandi’s Pies at home

My favorite part of making apple pie is peeling, coring and cubing the apples. For others, like my spouse, this is the worst part. But to me, it is comparable to therapy. It is relaxing, I am in control, and it creates a calming and rhythmic sensation. The precision and repetition gives my mind the structure it needs to ground me, plus I know it will transform a regular apple into a gooey, sweet and delicious pie.

Cooking the apples is a simple and quick process as the purpose is to merely marry the ingredients and sweat the apples to create the sauce. If you do not sauté your apples before putting them in the oven, you risk underbaking your apples or having a lot of water in your pie.

The crust on top often becomes the star of the show whether it took a lot of time or a little. Options are endless as to layering a beautiful classic lattice pattern, twisted strips, using cookie cutters for leaf patterns or just slapping a cover on top with vent slits. On one occasion when I forgot to thaw out the rolled top dough (and was too impatient to wait for it to thaw), I just started breaking it into chunks and layered the chunks on top. It made a unique rustic-looking pie.

You will see recipes that call for a tin foil cover for the perimeter of the crust. Feel free to do that if you wish, but frankly, I love the crisp, crunchy exterior on a perfectly baked apple pie. The variety of textures and colors just add to the flavor in my opinion.

I hope you enjoy my take on this American classic and that it brings your friends and family together while warming your bellies and hearts.

Southern Sandi Apple Pie

Print Recipe
Apple Pie
Apple pie is the quintessential staple of any American kitchen, and this is how to make a great one.
Apple Pie Southern Sandi
Course Dessert, Southern
Cuisine American, Dessert
Keyword apples, pie
Servings
Pies
Ingredients
Course Dessert, Southern
Cuisine American, Dessert
Keyword apples, pie
Servings
Pies
Ingredients
Apple Pie Southern Sandi
Instructions
  1. During the peeling, coring and cubing process, you will want to gradually splash the cubes with the lemon juice so they don’t turn brown. Toss lemon juice evenly on all the cubes as you go along.
  2. Unroll the prepared pie crust and set aside. Set out the pie crust tins and set aside.
  3. In a large, deep pot melt the butter over medium heat then drop in the apple cubes. Stir to coat with butter.
  4. Add both white and brown sugar, salt, apple pie spice, flour and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Pour in the sherry and stir until the flour is dissolved.
  6. Increase the heat to a low boil and cook until the apples just start to cook on the edges – about 10 minutes. (they will still be crunchy)
  7. Divide the apple mixture into the two pie crust tins. (It may seem like a lot of juice but it will thicken as it cooks and cools.)
  8. Top each pie with the rolled-out pie crusts and tear off the overhanging crust or fold it around the edges – whichever you prefer. Cut vent slits into the top of the crust in a circle pattern from the center out.(Feel free to cut the crust into strips and lattice the crust for a fancier look or even tear it into pieces for a more rustic look.)
  9. Mix the egg and water and brush each pie with the egg wash (you won’t use it all).
  10. Divide and sprinkle the standing sugar on top of the pies and place them on a baking sheet. (Now is when you would cover the crust perimeter with foil if you wish – remove when done.)
  11. Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes.
  12. Remove and let cool on a rack before cutting.