First, we're going to start by peeling and coring the apples and then slicing them into small chunks. I'm going to use a paring knife to do this. You can use a vegetable peeler if you want. That works pretty well. A lot of people like that. They even make these awesome machines that will peel and core an apple yourself. I don't tend to use them because we do a lot of it and it takes a little bit more of the skin off than I like, but whatever it takes to make you make an apple pie, you should do it.
I take off all the peel. You know, if you leave a little tiny chunk of peel on there, no one's going to complain and maybe they'll even think, wow, that's really an apple pie if there's a tiny piece of peel. So don't sweat it too much.
Now I'm going to slice the apple in half and I'm going to use a melon baller to take out the center. It's just a little trick. It helps make this process go fast. If you don't have a melon baller, don't go out and get one, but it's a kind of a nice little thing to make it go quickly.
OK. So now I've taken all the peel and the core out, got a little apple. I'm just going to cut it into some chunks. Right now I'm using a blend of apples. I've got Golden Delicious, I've got Granny Smith and I've got an Empire apple. Really depends on what you can get and what time of year it is, but I like to use a variety of apples in my pies. Three or four types is ideal. You're going to get different textures, some will be sweet, some will be tart. They'll bake up differently, so when you bite into the finished product, the pie, there will be some pieces that are more like a chunky apple and some will almost dissolve and just give up a lot of sweetness, a lot of sugar into the pie.
So I've got my apples. Now I'm going to add a little bit of sugar. I'm going to add a little bit of salt and this is some cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg makes a nice addition. I'm going to throw a little bit of lemon zest in there. Not a ton, but a little bit. You don't want the chunks to be too big. I'm also going to give a squeeze of lemon juice in there. I like to juice my lemon into a separate bowl, just so I can keep some of those seeds out of the pie. There's one in there. All right. And that's just a little bit.
Now you're adding the sugar and the lemon juice. Those are going to combine and they'll start breaking down the apple. It will make the apple pie thick. The filling will thicken up because of the pectin and that the lemon juice and the lemon zest and the sugar all help break down the apple and release that pectin. And so we'll combine all this, we'll mix it up with the rubber spatula and then I'm going to let it sit for a few minutes, probably five, ten minutes. Not too much longer than that, but you'll see that there's a lot of liquid at the bottom of the bowl and that's delicious. You should use that. Definitely put it in the pie. So let's let that rest for ten minutes and we'll start rolling out the pie crusts and getting ready to assemble the pie.