- 2 9" pie crusts rolled out (we recommend Sara Lee or making your own)
- 8 cups sliced peeled firm Granny Smith apples
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons ( ½ stick) butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon sanding sugar
- Roll one disk of dough between sheets of parchment paper into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Remove the paper. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. (If you want to just make a simple top crust without decoration, roll and refrigerate the second batch of dough.)
- For a decorative top crust, roll the second disk of dough between sheets of parchment paper into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet and place it on a plate. Working from the outside edge of the dough toward the center, cut out about 60 leaves or other shapes with 1½- to 2-inch cookie cutters and place them on the prepared plate. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
- Combine apples, brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add half the apple mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the liquid is bubbling and thickened, 4 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining apple mixture, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg; let cool for 30 minutes.
- Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.
- Scrape the apple filling into the prepared crust. If using cutouts, trim the excess dough so it's flush with the pan. Brush the edge of the dough with some milk.
- Arrange the cutouts over the filling, working from the outer edge inward and overlapping slightly. Leave a little hole in the center to allow for venting. Lightly brush the cutouts with the remaining milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Remove the paper. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust, sealing the two. Crimp or flute the edge. Cut several slits in the top, brush with the remaining milk and sprinkle sanding sugar over it.
- Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Cover the edges of the crust with foil. Continue baking until the top crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.