To make the crust: In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the 4 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar for 1 minute. Add the butter and mix just until it's a crumbly, sandy mixture. The pieces of butter should still be visable. In a small bowl, stir the water and vinegar together. With the mixer running at medium speed, drizzle in the water-vinegar mixture and mix just until a dough forms. Again, the bits of butter should be visable.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide the dough in half, and shape it into 2 round, flat disks. Wrap them separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using. When the time comes to roll out the dough, let the dough warm up for a few minutes at room temperature. Dust a work surface with just a few tablespoons of flour and keep some extra flour at hand. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough and start rolling outward from the center with quick, light strokes. Don't worry if the edges split a bit; concentrate on getting a good circle going from the center. Lift up and rotate the dough a quarter turn every minute or so to help ensure even rolling. If it gets sticky, sprinkle on a bit more flour, but don't do this more than 2 or 3 times; the dough will absorb too much flour. Instead, put it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm the butter up. Keep rolling until the circle is at least 2 inches larger than the pan.
Set a 10-inch metal pie pan nearby. Transfer the crust to the pan by folding it gently in quarters, lift it up, position the center point on the center of the pan, and unfold it into the pan. Make sure that the dough is allowed to settle completely into the pan. Don't stretch and press the dough into the corners; stretched dough will likely shrink back when you bake it. Instead, lift the edges of the crust to let it settle down into the corners. If the dough tears a bit, don't be concerned; it's easily repaired. Using scissors or a sharp knife, trim the dough to within 3/4-inch of the rim. Use any extra scraps to patch the crust, pressing with your fingers (wet them if necessary) or set aside. Leave the edges of the bottom crust hanging over the rim. Roll out the second piece of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, then unroll it onto the sheet pan. Chill the finished crust or crusts for 20 to 30 minutes before filling the pie.
To make the filling: Add sugar to a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring sugar to a boil and cook until caramelized, sugar will be a light amber color. Carefully add the butter, spices and apples. Cook for about 5 minutes, until almost tender. Off the heat add the Southern Comfort and flambe the mixture, cooking for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the mixture. Reserve the juice (it can be frozen) for a sauce for the pie. Toss the apples with the cornstarch and spread them out on a sheet pan to cool.
Fill the pie with the cooled apples then rest the top crust on top, trim the top and bottom flush to the pan. Pinch the edges together, turning them under all the way around. Then press the thumb and forefinger of one hand together. Use them to gently push the thick dough rim outward, while pushing inward with the forefinger of the other hand, so that they intersect in a "V" with the dough in between. Repeat all around the rim to make a wavy edge. Snip a "X" shape vent in the top center of the pie using scissors or a sharp paring knife. Wrap the pie in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to bake and serve.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Before baking the frozen pie, brush the surface of the piecrust with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the oven down to 375 degrees F and bake until light golden brown, about 1 hour.
Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand and Emily Rieger