Classic apple pies are very popular because of their versatility. The two kinds you will find in most pâtisseries and boulangeries in France are made with a bed of apple sauce (Compote de pomme), or crème pâtissière prior being topped with apple slices. The crust is made of puff pastry scraps, or pie dough. For the puff pastry, look up at Classic Puff Pastry Recipe. Among many other varieties, the best suitable apples for pies are golden delicious, granny smith, pink lady, and honey crisp. For this recipe, I really enjoyed using Hidden Rose Apple®. Tart and mildly sweet, they have a distinctive flavor with hints of strawberry lemonade. This unique apple was discovered in the 1960s at a fruit farm in Airlie Oregon.
For a 9.5''x1''/24x2.5cm greased fluted tart pan. Rub flour with salt, and cubed butter until mixture resemble coarse meal. Add the egg and water; mix until combined. Chill to harden. Roll out into a 3mm thick sheet that should be 1.5''/4cm larger than the pan. Lay pastry over tart pan, and shape into a tart shell. Place the raw tart shell in the freezer.
Place a baking tray in the freezer. Bring milk to a boil with vanilla pod and seeds, and 20g of sugar. Turn the heat off, cover and let infuse for 20 minutes minimum. Meanwhile, gather the egg and yolks in a pastry bowl. Mix in remaining sugar, and starches. Bring milk back to a boil. Temper egg mixture, and transfer back to the hot milk. Whisk swiftly – bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly. At this juncture, remove vanilla pod, rinse and save. Blend custard using an immersion blender to smooth out. Grab the frozen tray, line with plastic wrap and transfer hot custard. Cover with plastic wrap in contact and let cool to room temperature, and chill. Before using custard, smooth out with a whisk or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachement. Pastry cream can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days. Avoid freezer.
Pipe out custard in the frozen tart shell; set aside. Peel, core, and halve apples. Cut each half thin slices. Overlap apple slices into tight rows. Cover bottom pie with apple scraps as you go.
Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. A pizza stone is recommended. Bake at 350ºF/180ºC if using a convection oven. Dust some vanilla sugar over the pie and spread out some small chunks of butter. Bake pie for about 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. De-mold pie and leave to cool onto a wire rack. The apple pie can be glazed with hot apricot preserves mixed and diluted in some water. Enjoy!