When I fell in love with my husband, who comes from a Catholic family, I knew it would be important to honor my Jewish heritage once we had children. (He may not have been thinking about our future family the night we met, but I was!)
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, a time to reflect with gratitude on the blessings in one's life and to look hopefully toward the future. In early fall each year, we celebrate by eating apples and honey to symbolize the sweetness of the coming year.
Last night, I hosted my parents and Adam's parents for a dinner to celebrate. As we lit candles and said the blessings, I explained to my in-laws and my children the significance of the holiday and its rituals. The boys helped me braid the challah and bake this beautiful apple pie, a recipe I've perfected in the five years I've been making it for Rosh Hashanah and Thanksgiving dinners, and which I've included in their Letterbooks. Enjoy the recipe, and have a sweet and beautiful new year!
**Note: You can double the lattice top recipe if you'd like to roll out another crust for the bottom of the pie. I always just use a store-bought Pillsbury pie crust for the bottom because it comes out so much more evenly than when I try to do it myself. The lattice top has a lovely rustic look to it, so it doesn't need to be so uniform.
For the lattice top
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup of very cold water
Put the butter in the freezer and the rest of the ingredients in the refrigerator for about fifteen minutes. You'll want them to be really cold. Then dice the butter into pea-sized pieces. If it starts to soften up again, pop it back into the freezer. Blend the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times. Then, with the food processor running, add the cold water in a steady stream until just incorporated. If the mixture still feels dry, you can add a bit more water, but the dough should not be sticky. Form the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator while you work on the filling.
For the filling
- 4-6 large apples, peeled and diced (I use two Granny Smith and two of a sweeter variety, like Honeycrisp)
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt the butter on medium low heat in a small dutch oven or pan. Add the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and water to form a paste. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the vanilla. Toss the apples in a large bowl with most of the filling mixture, reserving about half a cup.
Preheat the oven to 350. Line the bottom of a pie pan with the store-bought crust, then fill it with the apple mixture. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a floured surface, working quickly. It should be the diameter of the pie pan. Use a pastry crimper to cut 10 strips to use in the lattice pattern. After creating the lattice, use a fork to gently pinch the edge of the whole pie crust. Brush the reserved filling mixture over the crust.
Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with foil, because the filling may drip as it cooks. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the pie to prevent the crust from browning too much. (If the edges start to get too dark, wrap foil all the way around them.) Bake the pie for another 30 minutes.