Sugar and spices are optional and can be increased/decreased to your own liking.
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For the Pastry
1. In a large bowl, sift flour, corn starch, salt, and sugar together; ensure they are well blended. Using a cheese wire or a carving knife, cut the butter into 1/8” slices. Layer the slices into the flour, coating each slice separately.
2. Take a pastry blender and cut the butter into the flour without using your hands. Sprinkle the ice water sparingly over the dough, tossing with the pastry blender. Mash/twist the dough with the palm of your hand right in the bowl, until it comes together in a cohesive mass.
3. Shape into a disk, cover it tightly with saran, and let it rest in a in the fridge or cool place overnight.
For the Filling
Combine the apples, tapioca starch, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
1. Remove the pastry from the fridge; preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice apples ¼ inch or less in thickness to prevent large air pockets. Sift the sugar, tapioca starch, and spices together; toss them over the apples to coat well.
2. Separate the pastry into two unequal portions. Roll out the larger piece for the bottom crust, layer into a 9” pyrex pie dish, letting the pastry overhang the sides. Cut the sides with scissors, about 1/2” bigger than the rim of the dish.
3. Roll out the top crust. You can cut lattice, cookie shapes, or use the circular top to your liking.
4. Sift a very light layer of cornstarch over the bottom pastry, layer apples over. Fit the top crust, using a fork to mash the top to bottom, or else pinching the two together. Slice vent holes if using a circular top. Optional: brush the crust (not the edges) with egg white if you prefer a darker, more rustic pastry.
5. Place the pie on a dark baking sheet and put it on the bottom rack of the oven. Immediately reduce temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes then check every five minutes until crust has browned and filling is bubbling.