What's the holiday season without an apple pie? The smell of warm spices and slowly cooking apples just makes your home seem so cozy and inviting. Taking time out of your busy Christmas schedule of parties, shopping, and work (or for me, just work) to go through the steps of making a pie from scratch really helps to slow things down. You forget the world outside and all those things that you have to do and just focus on little things like the temperature of the dough or cutting the apples.
I truly love a good ol' apple pie and most of the time, I would choose that over any other pie. Just sometimes the classics need a little kick in the butt to wake them up a bit. This is a lovely subtle nudge in the the butt rather than a full kick, but it does the job. It still tastes like a good ol' apple pie, but there's something a little different about it that makes you think for a second. The warm spices in chai are similar to the classic apple pie, but with the addition of cardamom and anise and sometimes peppercorns, depending on the spice mix you have.
I buy my masala chai spice blend from a local spice shop with the nicest lady you could ever meet running it. She blends the spices herself and sells them in little baggies so you're not buying a huge amount of spice when you only need a little bit. If you aren't able to find a chai spice blend, there are lots and lots of recipes online for a homemade spice blend that you can use!
With all the craziness that is the holiday season, I hope you manage to put aside some time and make this pie and share it with someone you love or someone that could really use a homemade pie. Even though I could've kept this pie to myself, I decided to give it all (minus a slice) to one of my close friends whose mother had just broken her fingers. And you know what? I felt great about it. I was really happy that someone could enjoy something that I had put time and effort into, especially when that person wasn't feeling too great. It made her day and in turn, that made my day.
350 g pastry flour
100 g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
226 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
60 g vegetable shortening, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
114 g water, ice cold
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
8 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 vanilla bean
140 g brown sugar
30 g all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons masala chai powder
, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an large bowl. Add the cold butter and shortening and pinch the butter and shortening between your fingers until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas.The butter pieces should be the size of small peas.
Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar to the flour-fat mixture and gently knead, but do not let the dough come together.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time.
Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into two flat circles, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang.
If you wish to make a lattice top, take out the second disk of dough from the fridge. Roll the disk out in a roughly rectangular shape to a thickness of 1/8th inch. Using a ruler, cut your strips. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the fridge.
Chill the dough-lined pie tin while you make the filling.
, in a large bowl, combine the sliced apples with the lemon juice and seeds from the vanilla bean and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and masala chai powder and stir. Pour the dry mixture over the apples and gently toss to combine.
Remove the dough-lined pie tin and layer the apples as shown in the photo. This allows you to fit more apples into the pie.
Remove the dough strips from the fridge and create your lattice. If the dough begins to warm too much, chill both the strips and the pie in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes. It is essential to only work with the dough when it is cold and firm (but not rock hard). Once the lattice is complete, fold the overhang under itself.
Chill the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F.
Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
Position a rack in the lower third of your oven. Place the pie on a baking sheet on the rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack in the center of your oven, lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until cooled completely, about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 350 F oven for a few minutes.