Golden Delicious apples work well in this pie because they retain their texture and do not flood the pie with juice. I like the flavor of Gala and Fuji better though. If you have access to fresh apples, they usually make the very best pie. The apples need to be sliced about ¼ inch thick, measured at the thicker end. If the slices are thinner, the filling is apt to turn mushy; if thicker, the pie will not hold together when cut. Resist the temptation to add other spices or flavorings. A hint of cinnamon is all that is needed.
Pastry Dough 2 ½ pounds apples (5 to 6 medium-large, measuring 6 cups) 3 tablespoons unsalted butter ¾ cup sugar 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon lemon juice ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ⅛teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. 2. Roll the dough into a 13-inch round, fit it into a 9-inch pie pan, trim the edges and crimp. Refrigerate. 3. Peel, core, and slice apples a little thicker than ¼ inch. Combine the apples with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring several times, so that the apples soften slightly and will better fit into the crust. 4. Pour the mixture into the crust and gently level with the back of a spoon. Dot the top with the butter pieces. 5. Blend the streusel ingredients with a fork or pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread topping over apples, making sure to cover all. 6. Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Slip a baking sheet beneath it; reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F, and bake until the fruit feels just tender when a knife or skewer is poked through, 25 to 35 minutes more. For the filling to thicken properly, the pie must cool completely on a rack, 3 to 4 hours. If you wish to serve the pie warm, place it in a 350˚F oven for about 15 minutes. The pie is best the day it is baked, but it can be kept for 2 to 3 days on the counter.