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Diner's Journal - The New York Times Blog on Dining Out

Does pie crust make you nervous? Melissa Clark, who writes the Good Appetite column for the Dining section, demonstrates pie basics and shares tips for achieving a flaky crust. A recipe for the pie is below; more recipes for pies and tarts can be found here.

Brown Sugar and Spice Apple Pie

Yield 8 servings

Time 1 1/2 hours, plus chilling time Ingredients

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
4 to 10 tablespoons ice water 

For the filling:

6 apples (about 3 pounds), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
Milk, for brushing
Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling 

[edit] Method

For the crust

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt just to combine. Drop in the butter pieces and run the motor until crumbs the size of lima beans form. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse the motor just until the dough comes together, taking care not to overmix the dough.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and divide it into half. Press each half together to make a flat disc. Wrap in the plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Or you can freeze the dough up to 6 months.

For the filling

  1. Roll the discs of dough into circles about 1/4-inch-thick. Use one to line a 9-inch pie pan and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to overnight. Place the other on a baking sheet and chill until needed.

  2. When you are ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 375° F. Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights, such as copper pennies, raw rice, or dried beans. Bake until the crust is pale golden and beginning to crisp, 30 to 35 minutes.

  3. While the piecrust is in the oven, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, and salt.

  4. When the piecrust is ready, remove the foil and pie weights and fill with the apple mixture. Dot the apples with the butter pieces. Place the remaining circle of dough on top, fluting the edges and cutting steam vents. Brush the raw dough with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Source: The New York Times