Flaky Pie Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed, scooped and leveled into measuring cups
1/2 cup sifted cake flour, spooned into a measuring cup
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
10 tablespoons shortening, frozen and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 stick plus 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons total) unsalted non-dairy stick margarine (such as Fleischmann's®), frozen and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup ice water, divided
5 medium Granny Smith apples
1 medium golden Delicious apple
2 medium McIntosh apples
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted non-dairy stick margarine, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large egg white, whisked
1 teaspoon sugar
Make dough one day ahead.
To create a flaky crust, I use shortening and add margarine and sugar for flavor. Using some cake flour ensures that the crust will be tender. Doughs made with margarine are softer than those made with butter, so I recommend refrigerating the dough overnight. For the filling, I like Granny Smith apples for their texture, Golden Delicious for sweetness, and McIntosh for tart apple flavor. Use spices to suit your taste.
Place the flours, salt and sugar in a food processor bowl. Pulse to mix everything together. Place the shortening and margarine on top of the dry ingredients. Pulse until the fats are cut into pea-size bits. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Sprinkle on 3 tablespoons ice water. Mix with a fork and then, using your fingertips, press the mixture into a solid mass. If necessary, add more water to bring the dough together. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. with a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour an 8-inch glass pie plate.
Roll 1 piece of dough into an 11 or 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick (see sidebar). Fold the dough into quarters, transfer the dough to the pie plate and open the dough up so that it fits into the pan. There should be several inches of overhang. Trim the dough to 1/4-inch beyond the rim.
For the filling, peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4-inch slices. Place 10 cups apples into a large bowl along with the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch. Discard any remaining apples.
Roll out the remaining dough making it larger than the bottom crust, so that it will fit over the mounded apples. Spoon the fruit into the crust-lined pie plate, mounding it high in the pan. Dot with the margarine. Add the top crust. Trim the top crust so it is the same size as the bottom crust. Squeeze the two edges together and then roll the edge up to make a nice border on the pan rim. Flute the edge with your thumbs or use a fork to press the edge down. Make 4 or 5 slits in the pie with a sharp knife. Brush the crust with the whisked egg white and sprinkle with the sugar.
Place the pie on a baking sheet. Bake the pie for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes more until both the top and bottom crusts are golden. Cool at least 30 minutes before eating.
For a foolproof rolling method, cut open a jumbo zip-top bag so that it is hinged on one long side. Flour the inside of the plastic and place the dough inside. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, flipping the plastic over and flouring the dough as necessary.
For best results, the pie should not be made more than 8 hours in advance (leave uncovered at room temperature). Rewarm it at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Leftover pie should be covered and refrigerated. Heat at 350 degrees F to re-crisp the top crust.