Orchard-Fresh Apple Pie

This is apple pie as it should be: strong on the apple flavor with a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Cooking down a mixture of apple juice, sugar, flour and spices results in a syrup that helps give the pie its intense taste. The best apples to use are Jonagold, Fuji or Braeburn.

Dough for 1 (9-inch) deep-dish double-crust pie (recipe follows)
3/4 cup unfiltered or fresh apple juice
1/2 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 lb. apples, peeled, sliced (1/8 to 1/4 inch) (about 10 cups)

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with 1 circle of dough. Combine apple juice, 1/2 cup of the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer 10 minutes or until syrup has reduced to 1/2 cup. Whisk in flour until combined. (Syrup will be very thick.)

2. Toss apples with syrup in large bowl. Pour into pie crust, pressing to mound apples. Top with remaining circle of dough; gently press around edges. Trim dough to 1/2-inch overhang; fold under edge of bottom crust. Press down gently to seal; flute or crimp edge. Make 4 or 5 slits in top crust to allow steam to escape during baking; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar.

3. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender, covering edge with foil during last 15 minutes of baking if browning too quickly. (Test apples by poking small knife into slit in pie.) Cool on wire rack to room temperature.

8 servings

PER SERVING: 335 calories, 12 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 3.5 g protein, 55.5 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 235 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

Perfect Pie Pastry

A combination of shortening and butter makes the perfect pie pastry. Shortening adds tenderness and texture, while butter provides flakiness and flavor.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut up
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

1. Beat all ingredients except water in large bowl at low speed 30 to 40 seconds or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Add 1/3 cup of the water; beat just until dough begins to form, adding additional water 1 teaspoon at a time if necessary. (Dough also can be made by hand or in food processor.)

2. Divide dough in half; shape each half into flat round. Cover and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.

3. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 13-inch round; gently line 9-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with dough. For single-crust pie, trim dough to 1/2-inch overhang; fold under edge of pie crust. Press down gently to seal; flute or crimp edge. For double-crust pie, trim dough along edge of pie pan. Roll second dough round into (13- to 14-inch) circle; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Dough for 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

PER 1/8 OF SINGLE CRUST: 140 calories, 9 g total fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 1.5 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 15 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, .5 g fiber

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