Pick a combination of apple varieties for a balance of acid, sugar, and tannin in your pie. But remember that apples must be ripe for full flavor. If the seeds are darkening, the apple is mature.
"A good crust can forgive less-than-perfect apples, but a bad crust ruins the pie, apples and all."
For the crust (makes 1 two-crust pie)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, butter, or lard
1/4 cup cold water
For the pie filling
6 to 8 medium-sized apples
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar
1 to 1-1/4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (do not exceed)
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (do not exceed)
1. For the crust: Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in cold shortening with a dough blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add cold water slowly until the dough is moist enough to stick together but not so sticky it clings to hands or bowl. You may need one or two more tablespoons of cold water, depending on the kind of flour.
2. Divide the dough in half and chill for about an hour; then put each half on a lightly floured board and roll out with light outward motions until it is 1/4-inch thick. Put one half in a pie pan, pat down, and trim off the surplus. Press down the edges with a fork or finger. Prick the bottom with a fork a few times. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees F) until slightly browned.
3. For the filling: Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Sift the sugar, cornstarch, spices, and salt over the apples and stir gently until they are well coated.
4. Place the apples in layers in the half-baked pie shell, dotting each layer with bits of butter. If the apples are dry, add 2 tablespoons of half and half or cream.
5. Cover with the pricked upper crust and bake in a hot oven (400 degrees F) until done, about 30 or 40 minutes.
Apple Varieties with a Combination for Sugar, Acid and Tannin Stayman and Grimes Golden Winesap, Grimes Golden or Golden Delicious, Jonathan Rhode Island Greening and Porter (New England varieties) Smokehouse, York, and Grimes Golden or Golden Delicious Northern Spy or York (two of the few that stand alone well) Bramley's Seedling and Cox's Orange Pippin (classic British pie makers) Goldrush and Gala (a sweet-tart modern combination)