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We've made many apple pies over the years, and this is our favorite—so far. The experimenting is so much fun, we'll probably just keep tinkering forever!
2 cups (8 ounces) King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
3 to 5 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 ounces) ice water
3 1/4 pounds (about 9 whole apples, 10 cups) Cortland or other baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1/4 cup (2 ounces) boiled cider
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
1/4 cup (1 5/8 ounces) King Arthur Pie Filling Enhancer
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
To make the crust: Whisk together the flour and salt, then cut in the butter until crumbly. Drizzle just enough water over the mixture to make it cohesive, tossing till it begins to come together. Gather it into a ball, divide in half, flatten each half slightly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, covered.
For the filling: In a large bowl, stir together the filling ingredients, mixing till well-combined. Set aside.
Assembly: Roll one piece of pie crust into a 12-inch round, and lay it gently into a 9-inch pie plate. Spoon in the filling. Roll out the other piece (or make a lattice), lay it atop the filling, and seal and crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle it with coarse sugar, if desired. Or, save out a bit of the crust, and cut decorative leaf designs, laying them in the center of the crust or around the edges.
Baking: Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and filling is bubbly. Yield: 1 pie, about 10 servings.