This is my recipe for a straightforward apple pie. It reflects not only my preferences but also countless influences. It is intentionally imprecise because there are so many variables to consider. To get it right, you pretty much have to taste as you go along or trust your instincts.
for the butter and lard crust:
To make the pie:
Preheat oven to 450° F.
Prepare the pastry. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of the pastry and set aside in the refrigerator, along with the unrolled half, while you make the filling. Taste a few slices of the apples to gauge how much sugar you’ll need to make them sweet. In a large bowl, mix the apple slices in the lemon juice. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste, then add the mace and nutmeg. Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pastry shell. Mound toward the center and dot with butter. Roll out the remaining pastry and carefully lay it over the apples.Seal the edges, cut vent holes, and decorate with extra pieces of dough cut into decorative shapes. Brush the egg wash over the surface of the pastry. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet (to catch any spill over) and cook in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350° F. and continue to cook for about another hour, until the top crust is a beautiful golden brown. If the edges start to darken too much, cover with a ribbon of aluminum foil.
To make the butter and lard crust:
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. With the top off, sprinkle the butter and lard over the ingredients. Re-cover and pulse a few times until small clumps form. Begin to add the iced water through the feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing quickly until the dough begins to form into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. As you wrap the dough in the plastic, form it into a disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Take the dough from the refrigerator and cut it into 2 pieces, one slightly bigger than the other.Wrap the smaller piece in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator. Roll out the bigger piece on a lightly floured surface until it’s slightly larger than the pie pan. Drape one end of the dough over the pin and gently lift it up, then slip the pan underneath the dough and lower it into the pan. Press the dough gently — and quickly — against the sides of the pan. Leave about an inch of dough hanging over the sides of the pan and cut any excess away. Refrigerate the crust for at least 30 minutes before either filling or prebaking.
If you are making a pie with a top crust, after you have filled the pie, take the smaller disk from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it’s a little bigger than the pie. Drape one end of the dough over the rolling pin, lift it gently, then drape it over the top of the filling. Press the edges together and crimp to seal. Slash a few vents across the top of the crust to allow steam to escape and bake the pie according to the directions in the recipe you are using. (If you are not making a pie with a top crust, either freeze the second dough disk or make an extra bottom crust.)
Makes a double 9-inch crust