from Executive Chef Kyle Bailey and Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac of Birch & Barley and Bluejacket in Washington, DC.
1¾ cups granulated sugar
⅛ cup packed light brown sugar
About ½ cup (1¾ ounces) cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups (about 2 pounds) Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4½ cups flour, plus more for the work surface
½ tablespoon kosher salt
2½ sticks unsalted butter, preferably with a fat content of 82 or 83 percent (such as Plugra), cut into small dice and refrigerated until ready to use
4 tablespoons leaf lard, cut into small dice and refrigerated until ready to use
1½ tablespoons high-proof vodka
¼ cup ice water
1 large egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons water, for brushing
Granulated or raw sugar, for sprinkling
Large-grain or flaked sea salt, for sprinkling
For the filling, combine the sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
Place apple slices in a large, high-sided sauté pan set over medium heat. Add sugar mixture in batches and toss to coat evenly. Cook for 10−15 minutes, stirring often, until apple slices have softened. Transfer to a container. (Mixture will be slightly soupy, and yield is about 8 cups.) Cool, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled and thickened, or up to 4 days.
Only when ready to bake the pie, add the bacon to the filling.
For the crusts, whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle the bits of chilled butter and lard over the flour mixture; use clean hands to work butter evenly into the flour. (Note: Do this by rubbing the butter and flour between the palms of your hands—or dough can be processed in the bowl of a stand mixer set to low speed. Watch closely and do not overmix.) Once butter is fully incorporated, the mixture should look sandy.
Sprinkle vodka over the flour-butter mixture, then do the same with ice water. Combine to form a thick and fairly dry dough that barely holds together. Knead lightly and divide in half. Compress each half into a firm block and wrap in plastic. Allow to rest for about 1 hour.
Lightly flour a work surface. Have two 9-inch deep-dish pie plates on hand. Roll each of the rested blocks of dough into 10-inch rounds with a thickness of ¼ inch, then line each pie plate with a round of dough, trimming off the excess dough. Reserve remaining dough, pressing and lightly kneading it into one firm ball and again wrapping in plastic wrap and leaving it to rest at room temperature.
Freeze the bottom pie shells for 15−20 minutes and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Line frozen pie shells with parchment paper or foil, then fill with a thin layer of pie weights or dried rice or beans. Bake for 30−40 minutes, or until completely cooked but not browned. Remove the parchment/foil and weights and bake uncovered for 5−7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When ready to assemble pies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir chilled filling to reincorporate, then divide filling evenly between the two pre-baked pie shells.
On a floured work surface, roll out remaining dough into 2 10-inch rounds ¼ inch thick. Cover each filled pie shell with a dough round, pressing gently to seal the edges against the inside rims of the baked pie shells. Use a sharp knife to make small slits at each center so steam can escape.
Brush top crust with egg wash. Sprinkle top of each pie with sugar and a few grains of salt.
Bake for 35−45 minutes or until the top crust is cooked through and golden brown and the filling is bubbling. After the first 30 minutes, check doneness every 5 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.VARIATION: For a single-crust pie with a crumble topping, blind-bake the bottom crust, fill with the prepared apple pie filling, and top with your favorite crumble mixture, such as brown sugar with oatmeal or cornmeal.