Brown Butter Apple Pie
Image by Philip Solman

Image by Philip Solman

Image by Claire Livia Lassam

Image by Claire Livia Lassam

From Claire Livia Lassam - liviasweets.com

The soft sweetness of the apples and the way the smell lingers in your house for days after,  leftovers that are socially acceptable to eat for breakfast, and on top of being simple to make and comforting as all heck, it also can be an absolute showstopper of a dessert.

Makes one 8-inch pie

Crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup ice water

Filling:

  • 8 cups (approximately 3 lbs) peeled, sliced apples (Ambrosia, Golden Delicious, Bramley, Gravenstein, or Fuji)
  • 1¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling

First, prepare the crust. In a large bowl, toss the butter into the flour and salt. Using your fingertips, break the butter into pea-sized pieces. When the butter is a fairly uniform size, slowly pour some of the water into the flour mixture. Use your hands to gently mix the water in, adding just enough for the dough to come together. There will still be bits of flour at the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter. Gently push the dough flat, then fold it over, and push it flat again. Do this a few times, as it helps to make your dough extra flaky. (Be careful, as too much kneading will make a tough pastry. Stop folding as soon as you start to feel the dough firm up.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Second, make your top and bottom crusts. Cover a baking tray with parchment. Place a 8-inch pie pan upside down on it, and trace it with a pen or marker. Flip the parchment upside down so you can see the line, but no food will touch it. Once the dough has chilled, prepare a large well-floured surface. Divide the dough in two, making one portion a bit larger than the other. Put the smaller portion back in the fridge. Roll the larger portion into a long rectangle slightly wider than your pie pan, generously flouring as you go. You want the dough to be about 3–5mm thick. Next, cut it into strips, as thin or as thick as you’d like your lattice to be. Place half of your strips in one direction over the traced circle, making sure each piece extends past the circle by at least 3mm. Then start weaving the other strips through. I find it easiest to start in the centre and make my way out to the sides, weaving the strips over and under, over and under. When the lattice is finished, stick it and the baking tray in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Roll the remaining piece of dough into a circle and use it to line your pie pan. Put the pan in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Third, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook the butter until the milk solids on the bottom of the pot turn amber, and it starts to smell faintly like hazelnuts. This will take 5–10 minutes and you should keep a careful eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Immediately pour the brown butter into the apple mixture and stir to combine.

Fourth, assemble the pie. Remove your lined pie pan from the fridge and fill it with the apple mixture. Combine the egg yolk and milk and brush it on the edges of the pie dough. Remove the lattice top from the freezer, and, quickly and confidently, flip the lattice upside down on top of the pie. Gently push the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. If the top layer is frozen, give it a minute to soften so it doesn’t break. Press together both layers and trim away any excess dough.

Finally, bake the pie. Brush the top of the lattice with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Place the pie pan onto a baking tray to catch any drips. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Bake for an additional 30–45 minutes, until the juice from the apples starts to bubble up through the centre and they are very soft when you poke them with a paring knife. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes before serving.