Mile-high apple pie

Mile-high apple pie
Makes 8 servings

The attractive high dome of an apple pie can be considered a ruse, as the apples have shrunk, leaving a big space between the filling and the crust.

Precooking the apples will minimize the gap and concentrate the apple flavor, too. Cream cheese pie dough makes assembling the pastry a breeze.

Cream Cheese Pie Dough:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (not low fat), at room temperature, cut into ¾-inch pieces
Apple Filing:
  • 4 pounds Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. To make the dough, put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine them. Scatter the butter and cream cheese over the top and pulse about 12 times, or just until the dough begins to clump together (butter pieces will still be visible). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it together.

  2. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled but not hard, 1 to 2 hours.

  3. To make the filling, peel and quarter the apples, and cut out the core from each quarter. Cut each quarter lengthwise into thirds and place in a large bowl. As you add the slices to the bowl, occasionally sprinkle and toss the apples with the lemon juice. (Don't wait until all the apples are cut, or the first slices will have already turned brown.)

  4. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add half of the apples and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, or until the apples are barely tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Transfer to a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the second half of the apples, and the remaining cup sugar. If your skillet is smaller than 12 inches, cook the apples in three batches. Let the filling cool completely, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the flour and cinnamon over the cooled filling and toss well.

  5. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  6. Lightly flour a work surface, and draw a 12-inch circle in the flour. This guide will be the perfect size for a standard 9-inch pie dish. Place 1 dough disk in the center of the circle, and dust a little flour on top. Using the circle as a guide, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Loosely roll the dough round around the rolling pin, center the pin over the pie dish, and carefully unroll the round over a 9-inch pie dish, easing it into the bottom and sides and allowing the excess to overhang the sides.

  7. Fill with the apple mixture. Trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch. Roll out the remaining pie dough into a second 12-inch round. Transfer the dough round the same way, centering it over the apple filling. Fold the overhang of the upper round under the edge of the bottom crust. Pinch the crusts together and flute the edge attractively. Cut a small hole in the center of the pie to allow steam to escape. Freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  8. To glaze the pie, lightly brush the top crust with the cream. Sprinkle the top crust with the sugar.

  9. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tips for apple pie:

  • Cream cheese pie dough does not need additional water to moisten it, taking a lot of the guesswork out of making a pie crust.

  • Do not chill pie dough until it is rock hard, or it will be difficult to roll out.

  • Sprinkle the apple slices with lemon juice as they are cut. If you wait to sprinkle them all at the same time, the first ones you cut will turn brown.

  • Sauté the apples to minimize shrinkage during baking.

  • Remember the mantra "cold pastry, hot oven," and chill the pie before baking.

  • Bake the pie on a hot baking sheet to help crisp the bottom crust.

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About Rick Rodgers:

Rick Rodgers is one of the most versatile professionals in the food business. Through his work as a cooking teacher, food writer, cookbook author, freelance cookbook editor, and radio and television guest chef, his infectious love of good food reaches countless cooks every day. He is the author of over thirty-five cookbooks on a wide range of subjects including the best-sellers Thanksgiving 101 and Fondue, and IACP Cookbook Award nominees, Kaffeehaus and The Carefree Cook.

Arbiter of taste Williams-Sonoma has chosen Rick to write ten titles in their various cookbook lines. Rick's recipes have also appeared in Food and Wine, Cooking Light, and Fine Cooking, and he is a frequent contributor to Bon Appétit and blogger at

Rick has made countless television and radio appearances, often acting as a media spokesperson for top food, beverage, and house wares companies, including Perdue Farms (seven years), Grand Marnier (five years), Absolut Vodka, All-Clad, Beatrice Foods, Libby's Pumpkin, Entenmann's Baked Goods, Kingsford Charcoal, Hershey's Cocoa, and Jell-O. He has been guest chef on the national television shows Today, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, Food Network Challenge, and many others, including media appearances in every major local market.

In the publishing world, Rick is known for his behind-the-scenes work on an additional thirty books with other cooks, providing everything from recipe testing to writing to editing. His clients are a diverse group: Alfred Portale (The Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook), Dan Leader (Bread Alone), fashion guru Lilly Pulitzer (Lilly's Essential Holidays), the late Leslie Revsin, PBS's Jeffrey Nathan (Adventures in Jewish Cooking), Patti LaBelle (LaBelle Cuisine), and Oprah Winfrey's former chef Art Smith (Back to the Table and Kitchen Life). The last two authors reached the New York Times Best Seller list, and a number of Rick's projects have gone on to win James Beard and IACP Cookbook Awards, making him many an editor's private "cookbook doctor." He was a contributor to both The Bon Appétit Cookbook and The 75th Anniversary Joy of Cooking.

His encyclopedic culinary knowledge brought him the assignment of Head Writer to the 2001 edition of The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, as well as the role of American consultant to The Illustrated Kitchen Bible and The Barnes and Noble Essentials of Cooking. He has also created corporate cookbooks for Nordstrom, Kingsford Charcoal, Splenda, and an upcoming book for Sarabeth's Bakery.

Rick's combination of down-to-earth humor and solid information brought him the prestigious Bon Appétit Food and Entertaining Award for Outstanding Cooking Teacher. In addition to his publishing work, Rick teaches sold-out cooking classes from coast-to-coast, as well as the occasional international stint (including Korea and France.) He is a speaker at many festivals and seminars, including the annual International Association of Culinary Professionals and Greenbrier Food Writers conferences.

Former chef/owner of the Manhattan catering firm Cuisine Américaine, he has the distinction of being an American chef cooking for the French government, and created parties for such celebrities as Marcel Marceau, Yves St. Laurent, and Gerard Depardieu. Cuisine Américaine now acts as a food consultant firm, providing recipe development and public relations support to Absolut Vodka, El Paso Chili Company, and others.

He lives in the New York City area. His website is

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