2 12"-pie crust rounds
6 large Apples* peeled, cored and cut into 16ths
2 tbsp cold butter cut into tiny pieces
4 tbsp sugar* (depending on the sweetness of the apples)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp Apple Pie spice (optional)
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 400 F°.
Press first pastry round into pie plate and prick it all over on the bottom with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the prepared bottom crust for 15 minutes while you peel and season the apples.
Top crust should also be cold - so make sure it is in the fridge as well. Taste your apples and adjust the sugar - if they are sweet add less - tart add a bit more. Mix spices, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Toss peeled and sliced apples into the mixture.
Pour all into the refrigerated bottom crust. Dot with butter lumps about the size of your fingernail all over. Attach top crust (you can do decorative cutouts or decorations at this point for airholes). We used cookie cutters to make the holes. Make airhole slits if you haven't done cut outs.
You can hold the pie for an hour or two in the fridge if you need to before baking.
Optional: Sprinkle a bit of sugar over the top crust before baking.
Bake in the preheated 400 F° oven for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 F° for 25-40 minutes or until done.
Sierra Beauty Apples
*We used Sierra Beauty Apples for a November Birthday Dinner. They are really hard - as are Gravensteins - I suggest you pre-cook them slightly to soften them before putting them in the spices and crust or alternately cut them thin.
My favorite pie apples are Macintosh and Gravenstein. Granny Smith and Cortland also work great. I have also used Cox's Orange Pippin with tasty results. My general rule of thumb is if the apples make good applesauce then they will likely work in a pie. Also don't feel you have to use just one kind. Often 2-3 different varieties make for a more interesting flavor.