When you think about “America,” what comes to mind? Freedom? The Star Spangled Banner? Mel Gibson in the Patriot? I think of pie. Apple pie, to be exact. Nothing is more American to me than apple pie. I mean, the saying “as American as apple pie” exists for a reason…
The last time I made apple pie was, coincidentally, on a 4th of July…5-ish years ago. I really want pie when I got up that morning, so I rolled out some dough and made a fresh pie brimming with tangy-sweet apples and topped with a pretty lattice crust. It didn’t occur to me that this was the perfect Independence Day dessert until we went over to a friend’s place for a BBQ, and got in the elevator with a random girl. She saw the pie in my hands and immediately blurted out “OMG, is that an apple pie? Did you make that for the 4th? That is sooo American!”
And she was right — apple pie is super American. According to Wikipedia, apple pies have been a symbol of American prosperity and national pride since the 19th and 20th centuries, and “for Mom and apple pie” was a common answer of WWII soldiers whenever journalists asked why they were going to war. Pretty cool, huh? I love apple pie. To me, it’s the ultimate comfort dessert, and every time I eat it I think of happy families, fat babies, lazy dogs, and white picket fences — the American dream, as it were. And, apple pies are really freaking delicious. Buttery, flaky crust wrapped around juicy, tangy-sweet apples spiced with cinnamon…what could be better? American or not, when served with some freshly whipped cream and/or ice cream, it’s basically the perfect dessert.
Happy belated 4th, everyone! Hope it was a good one.
- 1 package pre-made store bought pie crust
- 5-6 Gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 generous dash ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 egg + 2 tbsp water, whisked together (this is your egg wash)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Carefully roll out one of your store-bought pie crusts and gently press it into a greased pie dish, allowing excess to hang over the edge. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge to chill.
- In a large bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice.
- Add sugars, flour, and spices to the bowl and toss to coat.
- Spoon apple filling into chilled pie crust.
- Cut butter into very small pieces and sprinkle over the apples.
- Roll out the remaining pie crust. Cut into strips ½ inches to ¾ inches wide.
- Place one layer of strips across the pie, over the the apples, spacing strips about 1 inch apart. Do not press the edges down. (There will be overhang, don’t worry about it.)
- Put down another layer of strips across the pie, perpendicular to the first layer of strips. Weaving each strip over and under the first layer of strips to create a lattice effect. (Alternate your weaving from strip to strip — for example, if one strip starts the weaving pattern going under the first layer, the next strip should start going over. See unbaked pie picture above for explanation.)
- Press down on the edges of your pie crust to seal top and bottom layers together. Trim overhang, and crimp all around to make a stand-up edge. (If you want it to look extra pretty, you can press a few extra strips of crust around the rim of the pie - you should have plenty of strips leftover.)
- Brush egg wash lightly around the edge of the pie, and cover with a pie crust shield if you have one.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and juices are bubbling.
- Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
- Slice and serve with freshly whipped cream and caramel sauce or ice cream.