That's right, baking the pie in a brown paper back, makes a perfect, crunchy but flaky crust and a perfectly cooked filling, not too hard, not too mushy.
Partner in Grime spent most of Sunday afternoon working out in the yard and flowerbeds before winter, so the least I could do for him was bake him a pie.
To start - Brigid's foolproof pie crust. (makes 2, one for now and one to freeze)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups lard
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup very cold water
Add flour, shortening, sugar, and salt to a large bowl. Get out your pastry cutter.
Mix flour and shortening with the pastry cutter until it looks nice and crumbly, crumbs should be much small than the size of peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, egg, and water.
Add to the flour mixture, stirring in till well-moistened.
Shape it with clean hands into a ball of pastry dough. (Don’t overhandle.)
Divide the dough into four equal-size balls.
Wrap each ball with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before using.These will keep a week in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer in freezer bags.
OK, pie for breakfast
On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out 1 disk to a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Keep rolling until the circle is at least 2 inches larger than your pan. Line the pie pan with the dough, letting the edge hang over a bit. Roll the second disk, place it on a sheet pan and chill it until you're ready to build your pie.
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Equipment: 9-inch aluminum pie pan, 1 medium-sized brown paper bag
Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl, toss the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together. Transfer to the pie shell and dot with the butter. Brush the overhanging edges of the dough with water. Carefully cover with the rolled-out top crust and pinch the edges together, turning them under all around to make a thick edge. To decorate the rim, press it all around with the back of a fork, or just pinch it to seal. With a knife, cut a couple of small v's in the top crust.
Slide the pie into the brown paper bag and fold the top down. Staple bag shut and place it on a sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove the pie from the oven and cut a large circle in top of the bag. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
Let the pie cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.