Here is the essence of Fall baking. Time to dispense with the fancy and get down to the basics. Apple pie is the fundamental American treat. Its virtues have been documented in song and verse through every epoch of our history. And with good reason. This is sweetness that brings the family together, can evoke debilitating spells of nostalgia, and sells Chevrolets at the same time. Enough with the pomp, let's get down to business!
I had a standard pie that I thoroughly enjoyed (and method that I still partially use), but several years back Cook's Illustrated came out with their rendition of a deep dish apple pie. It was strikingly similar to the recipe that I used at the time, but it had twice the amount of apples. In my book, more apples means more goodness. So, I decided to blend the two recipes for the perfect apple pie (at least for my taste buds).
Unlike some apple pies that one may have encountered with a gaping pocket of emptiness between the filling and the crust, this pie is all about the apples. And I mean all 5 pounds of 'em (which is about 11 apples, not 11 pounds that I originally typed-- whoops). The apples are cooked and the juices are reduced until thick and syrupy before being added to the crusts. This method prevents the filling from shrinking and the crust from collapsing when sliced. It will also help the pie retain all of its good caramel juices. There are a few more steps and there is a bit more work than the standard apple pie that utilizes raw apples, but the the end result is, well...
as you can see, LOADED with tender sweet apples and a flaky, buttery crust. À la mode with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream is certainly optional, but I highly recommend it to enjoy the traditional American experience.