2½cupsall-purpose flour(plus extra for kneading and work surfaces)
1cupbutter, cold, unsalted
For the filling:
10McIntosh apples(about 3-1/2 pounds)
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract, divided
Make the crust:
Stir together the flour and the ½ teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Hold this aside.
Mix together on high speed the butter and ¼ cup of the sugar. Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl once they're both in. Mix in the milk until the batter is lumpy like cottage cheese.
Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the butter mixture and stir it in by hand just until the mixture looks crumbly. There will still be pockets of flour visible.
Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the contents of the bowl. Squeeze the dough together and knead just a few times until the dough has come together. (A bench scraper is helpful here.) Do not overwork it or the crust will be too tough.
Split the dough in half, flatten each half with your hand and wrap the dough portions in plastic wrap. Place them in the fridge for an hour.
In the meantime make the filling:
Run about 4 cups of cold water into a large bowl. Stir in the 2 teaspoons of salt until it's dissolved. (This will be for the cut apples to keep them from turning brown.)
Peel and core each apple, and slice the apple into 1-inch chunks. (If you're using an apple cutter, cut each wedge into 2 or 3 pieces.) As you cut the apples place the chunks into the salt water and stir them around so that all sides get wet.
When the apples are all cut, have a large saucepan ready on the stovetop. Drain and rinse all of the saltwater off the apples pieces, then place the apples in the saucepan. Add in the remaining 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. Heat the contents over medium heat until the apples begin to simmer. Stir and simmer the apples for about 8 minutes until the apples have softened but still have a little bite in them. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the apple mixture to cool to room temperature.
Assemble the pie:
Have ready a 9-inch pie dish (I prefer a metal pie plate as they cook the bottom of the pie better.)
Take one disk of dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about a 12-inch circle, ¼-inch thick. (Have flour available if bits are sticking to the table. This dough tends to be a little stickier.) Use your rolling pin to help lift the crust into the pie plate. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides, allowing a 1-inch overhang.
Stir the remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract and the almond extract into the apple mixture. Spoon the apples into the pie crust and spread them to an even layer.
Roll out the second dough disk on a lightly floured surface to 12 inches in diameter, ¼-inch thick. Lift the dough carefully to the top of the pie. Trim the edge to be just a little longer than the bottom edge, then roll the top edge underneath the bottom edge all around. (If it's too thick in a spot, trim it back a little.)
Cut a few slashes into the top crust to vent the pie. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes while the oven heats.
Bake that pie:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Place a metal baking sheet in the oven (large enough to hold the pie dish.)
Place the chilled pie in the oven on the hot baking sheet and bake it for about 45 minutes: the top crust should be a light golden brown color.
Remove the pie and place it on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes. Slice it and serve, with fresh whipped cream, ice cream, or creme anglaise.
This pie crust is a sweet one, a pâté sucrée which because of the sugar in the dough makes a more tender crust. It's delicious with this pie. Another delicious crust choice would be my Perfect All-Butter Pie Crust recipe. This one is less sweet and a lot more flaky. Both crusts are wonderful choices for this flavorful filling.