Yup, it’s fall. I guess it’s officially been autumn for a few weeks, but the air is finally cooler. Which means what? Apple pies! Custard-style apple pies are my favorite. They are not so sweet, and have a creamier (not no sticky) flavor. This time I added some cranberry sauce (and yes, I was lazy and just bought store-bought — home made would have been so much better, but I still need to wait a few weeks for cranberries!) which added a tart little punch.
for the pastry
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water
for the filling
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cranberry extract (optional)
1/4 cup cranberry sauce (store bought is fine)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 small firm, tart apples (such as Pink Lady), peeled, cored, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings
Blend flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
Gather into ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Roll out chilled dough disk between two sheets of plastic wrap, until 1/8-inch thick and 2-inch wider than the pie plate. Invert dough into the pie plate; press onto bottom and up sides. If dough is soft, chill until firm enough for remaining sheet of plastic to be removed. Trim edges of dough (patch up any holes or tears with extra dough). Chill until firm, about another hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line dough with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1-inch-2-inch overhang. Fill paper with dried beans or pie weights. Bake tart shell just until dough has dried and does not look wet in any spots, about 20 minutes. (If center still looks wet, bake crust without weights until dried and opaque, a few minutes longer.) Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Whisk eggs and sugar in a medium bowl just to blend. Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not burn), about 5 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes; add cranberry extract and the cranberry sauce. Slowly whisk brown butter into egg mixture; whisk in flour and salt.
Line pie plate with apples, reserving a few for the top. Pour filling over and place on remaining few apple rings. Bake until apples are deep golden brown and filling is puffed, cracked, and set in center, 70-80 minutes. Let tart cool in pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.