You will need:
7-8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp. Ground Clove
1 Tbsp. Butter
1Tbsp. Heavy Cream (optional)
More Sugar (optional)
A Mandolin Slicer
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Peel and core all your apples, and then slice them on your mandolin on the thinnest setting you have. Trust me. The thinner the better. Then cut them in half, to make little half circles of apple (see picture). Really, trust me.
At this point you should also put your bottom crust in your pie plate, and make sure there is no air trapped between the crust and the pan. I'm not including a pie crust recipe, because I use my mother's secret pie crust recipe, and I won't reveal it. You'll never make me talk!
In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and spices, and mix them up well (see picture). I'll use this time to give a big shout out to Penzey's Spices. They're great. When I was growing up, there was only really one type of cinnamon available, and it was whatever McCormick was offering at the grocery store. Now, there are tons of different types of your staple spices available to you. I highly recommend finding a Penzey's and smelling a couple of types of cinnamon, and deciding which one you like best.
Okay, start laying out your apple slices in concentric circles. It looks really pretty while you're making it, and it kills me that no one gets to see this part of it when it's finished (see picture). But you aren't doing it to be pretty, you're doing it to make tightly packed, thin layers of apple. Sprinkle every layer with the sugar/spice mixture, starting off with a light sprinkle on the first layer, and gradually getting heavier as you layer to the top. Some spice will trickle down, so you want it top heavy, or the bottom will be very spicy.
When you are done layering your apples, sugar, and spice, dot the top with bits of butter (see picture). (The apples should be piled at least and inch and a half higher than the edge of your pie pan. The apples will shrink when you bake them, so you want it to start high.) Then place your second crust on top and seal the edges. Make sure to cut some vents into the top crust. I like to cut a decorative leaf pattern, but a few slashes will do the trick.
Now, at this point, because The Physicist has a sweet tooth, I brush some heavy cream lightly over the top, and sprinkle the crust with more sugar.