When I think of apple pie, I think of that first bite of warm-from-the-oven apples mixed with a buttery crust and freshly whipped cream. The smell of cinnamon. The zen of trying to peel each apple in one continuous motion.
So, when I need to get my apple pie fix – but I don’t want to waste the time and ingredients on a full-size, double-crusted, deep-dish, apple pie for one – here’s my solution: Skillet Apple Pie.
It has a simple crust that comes together quickly in the food processor and needs just 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
The filling is made by caramelizing the apples inside a large oven-safe skillet for about five minutes and then adding a cider mixture to thicken the filling and boost the flavor of the apples.
And assembling the pie couldn’t be easier. Just roll out a circle of dough and lay it over the apples in the skillet. No lattice to lace. No edges to crimp. You don’t even have to cut vents in the dough. Instead, take a knife and gently slice the dough into six squares. Then slide the skillet into the oven for 20 minutes.
Once the pie cools a little, you’ll be free to heave a slab of tender apples and golden-brown buttery crust onto your plate and dig in. And, if you can’t wait for the cooling, there’s always God’s gift of ice cream. Created to cool piping hot pie and appease cooked fruit-hating husbands everywhere.
Easy apple pie
Serves: 6 to 8
1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces), plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
6 tablespoons, (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3-4 tablespoons ice water
1/2 cup apple cider
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds sweet apples and tart apples (about 5 medium), peeled cored, 1/2 halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sugar
1. For the Crust: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add shortening; process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about ten 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until crumbs are no larger than peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Pulse until dough comes together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if necessary. Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a 4-inch disk. Wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling out. (If the dough is refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.)
2. For the Filling: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (between 7 and 9 inches from heating element), and heat oven to 500 degrees F. Whisk cider, syrup, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon (if using) together in a medium bowl until smooth. Heat butter in a 12-inch heatproof skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add apples and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times until apples begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add cider mixture, and gently stir until apples are well coated. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. To Assemble and Bake: Roll out dough on the lightly floured work surface into an 11-inch circle. Roll dough loosely around the rolling pin, and unroll over apple filling. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. With a sharp knife, gently cut dough into 6 pieces by making 1 vertical cut followed by 2 evenly spaced horizontal cuts (perpendicular to the first cut). Bake until apples are tender and crust is a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve.