Although apple pie is practically America’s national dessert, we know that making a pie can be intimidating for some. How do you get a not-too-dry and not-too-mushy filling? How do you make sure the crust is tender and flaky without loading it with butter and vegetable shortening?
To achieve a juicy filling with plenty of tender bits of apple, we like to combine two types of tart-sweet apples. Then we precook part of the filling before adding it to the pie shell to avoid that unfortunate hollow spot that can occur when the filling shrinks away from the top crust.
Our crust is lightened by replacing some of the butter with canola oil and tenderized with the addition of reduced-fat sour cream. And we follow the basic rules of great pastry: always use chilled butter and ice-cold water, use a light hand when working with the dough, and let the dough chill before rolling it out.