Thanksgiving at our house this year was a low key affair, filled with family, friends, and lots of good food – just the way I like it!
Apple pie has always been my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love the turkey…and the stuffing…and the sweet potatoes…but I just have a soft spot for pie. This pie in particular is the perfect melding of flavors – a rich, buttery crust, tart spiced apples, and plenty of fresh whipped cream.
I have had these cute little leaf cutters for years, and I always bust them out when I make pies for the holidays. They’re easy to use, and make your pie look super fancy 😉 I’m pretty sure mine came from Williams Sonoma, but Amazon has a set that looks very similar. In trying to find a link for this post, I also came across this set, and I must admit I’m tempted to get it too! I love the acorn and the little sheaf of wheat.
Cutting the leaves is a two part process. First you cut them from a rolled out piece of pie dough, then you press gently on the plunger to imprint the vein pattern. To make sure they stay put, apply a little egg wash to the back of each cut out before positioning it on your pie. I like to use them to circle the edge, overlapping them just slightly. Brush the tops with the egg wash as well, before putting the pie in the oven, to give it a deep, golden color.
Thanksgiving Apple Pie
(servings = 8 to 10, takes about 3 hours to make)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 pounds Granny Smith apples (or another tart variety), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons brandy
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 recipe ‘Perfect Pie Crust‘ (or your favorite double crust pie dough recipe)
- 1 egg (optional, for egg wash)
- Combine sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the apples, 1/2 of the sugar and spice mixture, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the apples have begun to soften. Remove pan from heat and add 2 tablespoons of brandy. Return pan to burner, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of cream. Continue to cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients (to save time, you can do this in two skillets, simultaneously, but I find it easier to just do it in two batches).
- Remove apple mixture from heat. This part can be done a day or two in advance, if desired. If you’re not making your pie immediately, transfer the filling to an airtight container, let cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make egg wash by lightly whisking 1 egg together with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Divide pie dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the bottom crust out until you have a 1/8 inch thick round. Transfer it carefully to a deep dish pie pan. Pour filling into prepared crust, mounding it up towards the center. Roll out second half of your dough. Cut shapes with cookie cutters or a paring knife to form the top ‘crust’. Apply egg wash to the back of each piece of crust that is going to be laid on top of another piece of crust (this will help seal them together). Lightly brush the entire top of the crust with egg wash.
- Place pie into the preheated, 400 degree oven, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until top is starting to look golden. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue to bake for another 45 to 55 minutes. If the top crust starts to get too brown, carefully place a piece of aluminum foil over the top, and continue to cook until the filling is bubbly and the bottom crust is no longer doughy.
- Remove pie from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool 45 minutes to 1 hour before slicing. Serve with plenty of fresh whipped cream. [/recipe]
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.
To all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful holiday!