Behind the Scenes

Chef Taylor Has Perfected Apple Pie with This Twist

Chef’s Counter: expert info from our culinary pros.

Chef Taylor is no stranger to a great apple pie. With her grandfather being an apple farmer, she remembers enjoying apple pie for almost every occasion, any time of year. One twist to the classic recipe that she always uses—adding vodka to the crust.

Recreate this classic apple pie yourself, with Chef Taylor’s recipe below.

Ingredients
2.5 cups + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
.75 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (or vegan buttery sticks)
.5 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
.25 cup vodka, chilled
.25 cup water
6-7 cups cored and thinly sliced apples, mix of tart and sweet (about 6 apples)
.5 teaspoon cinnamon
.25 teaspoon nutmeg
1 lemon
.25 cup coconut sugar

Step 1: Make Pie Dough
From Cook’s Illustrated: Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Step 2: Finish Pie Dough
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days

Step 3: Prepare Filling
Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel apple, slice off rounded sides, and discard core. Thinly slice. In a large bowl, stir to combine apples, juice of .5 lemon, coconut sugar, .75 cup granulated sugar, .25 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

Step 4: Roll Out Dough and Prep
Roll out one dough disc on generously floured counter to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into 9-inch pie plate, leaving 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around pie plate, ease dough into plate by gently pressing into plate bottom. Fill pie plate with apple mixture, making a slight mound in the center. Roll out remaining dough and place on top of pie. Trim dough overhang to .5 inch and roll under itself, creating a lip. Crimp edges using thumb and forefinger. Using a sharp knife, cut holes into top crust for ventilation (this is a great time to get creative!)

Step 5: Bake Pie
Place pie plate on baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until top of pie is golden brown, 60-70 minutes. Allow pie to cool at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

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