this pie gets its name, simply enough, from the three kinds of apple used in it: fresh apple, apple butter, and apple cider. that apple-on-apple-on-apple ingredient combo gives this pretty classic pie an intense flavor that is absolutely unmatched by any other i've ever had. rather than being too much, all those apple-y notes layered on top of one another complement one another beautifully, and the result is one harmonious pastry that is basically packed with the essence of everything fall.
yields enough dough for both top and bottom crust
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (very cold) butter, cubed
4 tablespoons cold crisco (vegetable shortening)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
ice-cold water, as needed
8 ounces apple cider
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
6 large apples (i used 3 gala and 3 golden delicious)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple butter
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon almond meal
1 beaten egg, for egg wash
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar), for finishing crust
how to do it:
1. make your pie crust: combine flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. add cubed, cold butter and shortening and with a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers (my preferred method -- i need to feel this mixture to know when it's just right), cut/rub butter into the flour until everything begins to clump together and starts to feel like damp sand. add ice water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until dough just combines. pat into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes while you make the make the filling.
2. put cider, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. bring to a boil. turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until liquid is syrupy and reduced by about half. remove cinnamon stick and let cool.
3. meanwhile, peel, core and slice apples. place slices in a large bowl. to apples, add apple cider syrup, brown sugar apple butter, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. toss apples to coat them in all that good stuff!
4. then add vanilla extract, cornstarch, and almond meal and mix again until thoroughly combined.
5. remove dough from refrigerator and cut disc into two pieces. allow dough to come back to room temperature before rolling out. shape dough pieces into roughly circular shapes (just to make things easier on yourself later -- you want to end up with two circles once you've finished rolling, one each for the top and bottom crust).
6. roll each piece of dough out until it is about 3 inches larger than your pie plate. so, if you're working with a 9-inch pie pan, you want to end up with two 12-inch circles. transfer one dough circle to your pie pan and press gently to fit it into bottom and up the sides of the dish. leave a little overhang, so that you have some extra dough to work with when sealing the two crusts, but trim off anymore excess dough with a pairing knife.
7. transfer filling to pie pan, on top of the first crust. you should have enough filling to mound it a couple of inches over the top edge of the pie pan (the apples will shrink down a bit as they cook).
8. carefully transfer the second rolled out round of dough to your dish. (it helps to lift and partially curl the dough over your rolling pin, which you can then use to gently roll the dough over the filling.) press the top and bottom pieces of dough together all around the edge of the dish to seal, so that your filling does not leak out during baking. crimp with fingers or fork to create a decorative edge, if desired.
9. add about a tablespoon of tap water to the beaten egg and mix. brush the top crust with a thin layer of the egg wash mixture. sprinkle with sugar. bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 60-70 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and fruit is soft.