vanilla apple pie with cinnamon whipped cream

recipe, styling + photo by Judy Kim

vanilla apple pie with cinnamon whipped cream

3 cups flour, plus additional for rolling
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1/2 cup chilled buttermilk

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 large egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and frozen

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar. Allow butter to rest for a few minutes at room temperature, then add to flour mixture. Using your hands, break all of butter into flour by pressing it between your index finger and thumbs while using a slow snapping motion to create large flattened shards (mixture should look shaggy when finished).

  2. Drizzle buttermilk in small increments over mixture. Toss with your hands, and ensure buttermilk is fully incorporated before adding more. Continue until dough just comes together.

  3. Knead dough 5 to 7 turns on a lightly floured surface, until it forms a ball. Cut dough in 2 pieces, about 1/3 and 2/3 ratio. Place cut side down onto plastic wrap; tightly wrap and form smaller piece into a flattened round and larger piece into a flattened rectangle, both about 1 inch thick. Chill at least 30 minutes.

  4. Remove round portion of dough and let rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, and large enough to fit pie dish. Gently fold into quarters and transfer to dish. Carefully press in dough without stretching. Trim excess dough.

  5. Roll out excess scraps to 1/8-inch thickness and coat both sides with flour to prevent sticking. Use leaf pie cutters to cut out decorative shapes. Place leaves in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet dusted with additional flour. Place in freezer.

  6. Roll remaining rectangular portion of dough to 1/8-inch thickness, doing your best to maintain its shape. Using a ruler and fluted pastry wheel, cut 9-inch strips in varying widths. Place strips in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour. Use any excess dough to cut out leaves, and place with other leaves, using parchment paper dusted with flour between layers (if necessary). Place leaves in freezer and strips in refrigerator.

  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, sugar, salt, vanilla paste, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Toss gently with your hands. Sprinkle in cornstarch and toss again.

  8. In a small bowl, beat egg with heavy cream. Set aside.

  9. For final assembly, add apple filling to pie dish in an even layer and sprinkle with frozen butter cubes. Place strips of dough in a random overlapping crisscross diagonal pattern, similar to a lattice design. Trim excess pieces and fold pie dough towards center to seal strips. To create leaf border, brush rim with egg wash and apply leaf cutouts in a clockwise direction, while alternating tips slightly left and right. Brush back sides of leaves as needed to attach them. Freeze pie for 15 minutes.

  10. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  11. Just before baking, brush pie with a thin, even layer of egg wash all over. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and loosely cover with foil. Bake on middle rack for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Reduce oven to 375°F, and bake until golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes, rotating if necessary. Allow pie to cool completely before serving, at least 4 hours.

Makes 1 9-inch pie.

cook’s note: Serve pie with cinnamon whipped cream. To make, freeze a metal bowl for about 15 minutes. Add 1 cup cold heavy cream and beat on medium speed until frothy. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 2-3 dashes aromatic bitters, beating until stiff peaks form.