"As American as apple pie" seems to be accurate. We love the pie flavor. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Apple first. That’s our policy. Special interests may back pumpkin, pecan or mincemeat.

But citizens across the political spectrum agree on apple. That’s good news at the holidays, when we gather at one big table.

This recipe was inspired by (but not faithful to) “BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts” by Stella Parks.

Apple Pie

Preparation time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, plus time to cool

Baking time: 1 hour

For the crust:

  • 1 recipe no-stress all-butter pastry, half fit into a 9-inch pie plate the other half rolled into a 13-inch round, both chilled (see note)
  • About 3 cups granulated sugar, optional

For the filling:

  • 3 pounds (about 6 large) tart apples such as Granny Smith, Albemarle Pippin or Gold Rush
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour (aka starch)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Note: If you missed the recipe for the no-stress pie crust in the Sunday, Nov. 10, edition of The Independent, the recipe is available online at: .

Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 350 degrees F.

Line the chilled pastry with foil, draping it loosely over edges. Fill with granulated sugar (alternatively, use baking beans). Set on a baking sheet. Bake until pastry is set and golden, about 1 hour. Lift out the foil. If pale, continue baking until lightly colored, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Roasted sugar can replace granulated sugar in other recipes; it offers a hint of caramel flavor. Cool, seal and store.

Peel, core, halve and slice apples crosswise into 1/4-inch thick half-circles. (An apple peeler contraption makes quick work of the job.) In a wide skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Slide in apples and toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring regularly, until apples lose their snap, about 7 minutes. Uncover and stir in brown sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and salt. Cook until syrup begins to thicken, 1 minute. Let cool.

Scrape cooled apples into cooled pie shell. Drape the top pastry over apples, trim edge to 3/4-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under itself, covering the parbaked edges (no need to unite baked and unbaked pastry, they will join forces in the oven). Chill firm, 30 minutes

With rack still in lower-middle position, heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk together egg wash, and brush over chilled pie. Cut in a starburst of vent slits. Set pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until top is golden brown, center is bubbly and 195 degrees F, about 1 hour. (Pull out pie before it reaches 200 degrees, warns Parks. That’s when apples break down to mush.) If top is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.

Cool at least 1 hour before serving. To restore crisp crust later, reheat at 350 degrees Ffor 10 minutes.

Makes one 9-inch pie (serves 8), plus 3 cups roasted sugar.

Recipe adapted from: “BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts” by Stella Parks

Home on the Range is a Tribune News Service column by Leah Eskin, which offers “delicious essays and insightful recipes.”

Sign up for Email Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
Load comments