brown butter apple pie

makes one 9-inch pie

Feel free to swap in your favorite double pie crust dough recipe, then proceed with the filling directions. I used a mix of Jonah Gold, Empire and Golden Delicious apples, and find together they created a balanced natural sweetness that allowed me to use just 2/3 cup of sugar in the filling. After years of using egg wash to give the top a shiny finish, I’ve recently switched to brushing on hevay cream. I wouldn’t dream of going back to my old ways.

One final note, this sweet butter double crust recipe makes for a thinner crust than usual. I like it that way, after all it’s all about the filling. If you prefer a thicker crust, then you may want to double the recipe.

sweet butter pastry crust (or use this recipe)

8 ounces all purpose flour

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt

4 ounces cold butter, cut into 16 pieces

4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

for the filling

4 tablespoons butter

6 medium apples (about 3 pounds), peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heavy cream, to brush on top

Coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top (optional)

To prepare the pie dough, add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it forms a sandy crumb. Starting with 4 tablespoons, sprinkle the water over the flour-butter mixture and pulse until it forms a ball, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add another tablespoon or two of water if necessary. Dump onto an unfloured counter and divide into two flat discs. Wrap in plastic and let chill until firm, but still pliable, about 1 hour (you can quick chill it in the freezer for 20 minutes too, which is what I usually do while preparing the apples).

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

For the filling, melt butter over moderately high heat in a small  heavy bottomed skillet. Cook until it begins to brown, but not burn; it will smell nutty and fragrant. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the apples, sugar, salt and flour to a deep bowl, and toss with a rubber spatula to coat well. Pour in the brown butter, scraping in those browned bits too, and lemon juice, stir well. Let sit on counter so juices can thicken while you roll out your pie crust.

On a lightly floured counter roll out your bottom crust. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out the remaining pie crust for the top. Spoon the apple filling into the pie plate, and place second crust on top. Flute edges and cut a hole in top to create a steam vent. Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn temperature down to 350 and bake for 35 to 40 minutes more, until top is golden and juices are bubbly.