All Butter Pie Pastry (makes two 9-inch pie crusts)¹
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2–1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 7–10 Tbsp ice water
Oat Crumble Topping (for one 9-inch pie)²
- 3/4 cup rolled (old-fashioned) oats
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
Chai Spiced Apple Filling (for one 9-inch pie)
- 5–6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced³
- 3/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch⁴
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- optional: 1/4 tsp orange or lemon zest
- optional: egg wash (1 egg plus 1 Tbsp half-and-half or whole milk)
- optional: Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- !All Butter Pie Crust:
- Cut the butter into quarter-inch cubes. Place the butter in the freezer for at least ten minutes or until ready to use.
- Pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, once or twice until just combined. Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the butter is evenly distributed, with the largest butter bits about the size of large peas.
- Add the vinegar and ice water, pulsing once or twice between each tablespoon addition. The dough is ready when it appears crumbly, but will easily hold together when pinched between two fingers.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and divide into two halves. Form each half into a round disk, working quickly and being careful not to over-handle the dough.
- Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes prior to rolling it out. The pastry may be made in advance and stored for up to a day in the refrigerator or – if wrapped very tightly in plastic wrap – about a month in the freezer.
Chai Spiced Apple Pie:
- Prepare the bottom crust: Remove one disk of dough from the fridge. Wait about 5 minutes for the dough to warm slightly and become pliable. Meanwhile, generously butter the pie pan. Set aside.
- Place the dough in the center of a clean, lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin – I prefer to use a French (tapered) rolling pin – start in the center of the disk, and roll outwards, with firm but gentle pressure. Turn the dough and continue rolling towards the edges. As you work, don’t be afraid to sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough and underneath, as well as on the rolling pin to avoid sticking.
- Continue rolling until the dough is about 2-inches larger in diameter than your pie pan and about 1/8-inch thick. As the dough gets larger, be careful to apply even pressure with the rolling pin across the entire surface of the dough.
- Gently transfer the dough to your buttered pie pan, being careful not to pull or tear the dough. Use your fingers to gently fit the dough against the sides and bottom of the pan. Using kitchen shears, trim the overhanging dough, leaving about an inch of excess (from the edge of the pan). Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- Prepare the apple filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, sugar, arrowroot starch, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom, until combined. Toss with the sliced apples. Drizzle with the vanilla, and zest, if using. Set aside while you roll out the top crust (about 10 minutes).
- Prepare the top crust: Roll the second disk of dough out as directed above, to about 10-inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Use a pastry cutter, sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut out 8-10 equal-width strips for a traditional woven lattice top.
- For a braided lattice crust, roll out a third disk of dough as well, and cut thin (1/4-inch) strips of dough, to braid together three at a time. Set aside. then place on top of the pie, leaving just a small gap between the braids.
- OR Prepare the oat crumble topping: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, until combined. Add the butter, and use a pastry blender or your fingers to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue until the butter is completely incorporated, and the mixture comes together into a chunky crumb.
- Assemble the pie: Remove the bottom crust from the refrigerator and sprinkle with 1 tsp each sugar and flour. Fill with the apple mixture. Weave your lattice crust across the pie, tuck the ends under, and crimp the edges, OR top with the crumble mixture. Place the pie in the refrigerator to chill for 10-15 minutes.
- Bake the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the pie pastry with the egg wash, being careful not to drag any of the fruit filling onto the pastry (it will burn). Sprinkle with Demerara sugar (if using).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes on a nonstick or parchment paper lined rimmed sheet pan on the bottom rack of the oven until the crust is golden brown.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F., move the pie to the middle rack, and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the pie is golden brown and cooked through. Use a pie crust shield or aluminum foil tent as necessary to prevent the crust from burning.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let sit on a baking rack to cool for at least an hour before slicing. It will take a few hours to completely cool to room-temperature and fully set up.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with big scoops of vanilla ice cream. Will keep for up to a day at room temperature or up to week in the refrigerator.
¹ If making a braided lattice top (as pictured in the recipe), you’ll need to make a total of three pie crusts – one bottom crust and two top crusts – to have enough pastry to roll out the braids and stamp out the leaves.
² For an oat crumble topped pie, halve the pie pastry recipe, as you’ll need just one 9-inch bottom crust.
³ Look for firm, tart, and crisp varieties such as Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or a mix. Aim for thin, equal slices for even baking.
⁴ I’ve tested multiple pie thickeners, and have found that arrowroot starch (a natural plant starch) works the very best. Unlike cornstarch, which can become cloudy and gummy, arrowroot starch creates a smooth, shiny sauce without a noticeably added taste. As a second choice, you can also substitute (blended) instant tapioca pearls. Or, simply don’t worry about it, and enjoy a saucier pie!