I think every family has certain foods that they associate with specific relatives, whether that's for good reasons or bad. For instance, Marc associates jello dishes with his grandma, and that doesn't always mean a fond food memory, if I can be diplomatic about it. Well, in my family, apple pie means my Aunt Linda. And luckily, it's a really good food memory.
Two year olds aside, I find that a good pie is really not that easy of a thing to make, but I feel like I took a huge step forward with this beauty. Maybe someday I can take over my family's Apple Pie Queen crown when my aunt is ready to relinquish it.
Pastry for 2-Crust Pie
Make sure your butter, shortening and water are all very cold. I usually cut up the shortening and butter into little cubes, spread it on a plate and then throw it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. Also, you can use a manual method for cutting in the shortening and butter, like a pastry blender, or 2 knives, but I'm way too lazy for that nonsense.
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup shortening, cut into cubes
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into cubes
5 or 6 Tbs. ice water
Put the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Sprinkle the pieces of shortening across the flour mixture and pulse several times until well distributed. Add the butter and pulse it in the same manner as the shortening. Dump the flour mixture into a bowl and sprinkle in 5 Tbs. of ice water. Stir the flour mixture until the dough just comes together. Add another Tbs. of ice water if it is still too dry and crumbly. Divide the dough into 2 portions, shape in a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until it's very cold and solid, at least 30 minutes.
I used a big, deep 9 1/2" pie plate. It took about 8 cups of apples (7 medium apples) to fill it. Those smaller, thin Pyrex plates that are sometimes sold 3 to a package would probably require 2 or 3 less apples. That's a guess on my part. Basically, you want to fill the plate up entirely with apples and have it mounded slightly in the middle. Jonathan or Golden Delicious--the 2 apples that you cross to get a Jonagold--both make a good pie, too. With a lot of apple recipes, I've also done a mixture of half Granny Smith, for tartness, and half a sweet variety. You don't need much nutmeg, but the freshly ground stuff is infinitely better than pre-ground, if you have the gumption to seek it out.
6 or 7 medium apples, peeled and sliced (See above note)
dash of fresh ground nutmeg
flour, sugar and cinnamon as needed
1 egg white, beaten
Place a sheet pan in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Roll out the bottom pie crust and place it in the pie pan. I put the bottom crust in the pan and then put it in the fridge to chill while I peeled and sliced the apples. Spread a layer of apples across the bottom of the crust and sprinkle with nutmeg, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Only use the nutmeg on this first layer or the flavor will be too strong. Continue layering apples, flour, sugar and cinnamon until the pan is full and mounded a little. Roll out the top crust and place it on top, crimping the edges and beautifying them however you choose. (I did a rope style edge on mine) Brush the entire top of the pie with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Cut several steam vents in the crust.
Put the pie in the oven on the preheated sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Lower the heat to 375 degrees F and rotate the pie. Bake another 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for a few hours before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature. With ice cream. It's the law.