Pie does not get better than this. Reducing and concentrating the juices of the apples make it necessary to use only about half the usual amount of thickener, resulting in a more pure apple flavor, a juicy filling, and a crisp bottom crust.
For the crust:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
For the filling:
2-1/2 pounds baking apples (about 6 medium), peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch inch thick
For the crust:
Food processor method:
Cut the butter into small (about 3/4-inch) cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Set the bag aside.
Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the butter is larger than the size of a pea. (Toss with a fork to see it better.) Remove the cover and add the water and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together. Divide the mixture in half and spoon each half into a plastic bag.
Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled. Repeat with the second bag.
Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into discs, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight. (For a pie shell and lattice, divide it in a ratio of two thirds: one third use about 9.5 ounces for the shell and the rest for the lattice, flattening the smaller part into a rectangle.)
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