Published November 1, 1997.
Here's a recipe that works not only with the best fall apples but with a combination of Granny Smith and McIntosh, which are available everywhere, anytime.
When we decided to develop a recipe for apple pie that could be made year-round, based on apple types that are always available in the supermarket, we couldn't get any one variety of apple to produce consistent and pleasing results: a filling that was tart as well as sweet and juicy.
We wanted a pie with the clean, bright taste of apples--that is, we didn't want sugar or cinnamon or any other flavoring to subdue the apple flavor.
To arrive at the tartness and texture we were after, we had to use two kinds of apple in our pie, Granny Smith and McIntosh. The Grannies could be counted on for tartness and for keeping their shape during cooking; the Macs added flavor, and their otherwise frustrating tendency to become mushy became a virtue, providing a nice, juicy base for the harder Grannies. While many bakers add butter to their apple pie fillings, we found that it dulled the fresh taste of the apples and so did without it. Lemon juice, however, was essential, counterbalancing the sweetness of the apples. To give the apples the upper hand, we settled on quite modest amounts of spice, just 1/4 teaspoon or less of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Again giving the apples the upper hand, we decided against use of any thickener after trying flour and tapioca. A bit of tart, thin juice seemed a good thing in this pie.list of recipes