I have been making this pie for years as it is my husband's favorite. It is a good starter recipe, but it should be noted that with only 3/4 cups sugar to 7 cups of a tart apple like Granny Smith it is going to lean towards a more tart pie with a hint of sweet.
The lemon rind is a nice touch, but doesn't really add anything, so if you don't have it no big deal. You do need the lemon juice to react with the flour to thicken the juices. Also, I accidently left out the butter the last time I made it. Funnily enough I couldn't tell the difference there either so in the future I will save the calories and live without it.
When I am in a bit of a rush I just squeeze the lemon over the apples in a large bowl; add the flour, sugar and spices and mix by hand, making sure to coat every piece. I find this is quicker and assures full coverage.
As with any pie recipe, if the crust starts to brown before it is done cooking just use a pie ring or tinfoil to cover it. The temperature is perfect for cooking the apples and with a bit of tinfoil your crust will be just fine. I would never turn the temp down for fear of undercooked apples. It is a good idea to put the pie on a cookie sheet just in case the filling bubbles over. It makes a gooey mess in the bottom of your oven otherwise. [Ask me how I know. heehee]
This is a tried and true, very basic, very tart apple pie recipe. Add a bit more sugar [1/4 cup more] if you have a sweeter tooth.
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I have been making this pie for years as it is my husband's favorite. It is a good starter...