Simply Perfect Apple Pie
Everything you could ever want in an apple pie! Buttery, flaky crust, tart and juicy apples, and sweet, warm holiday spice. It’s simply perfect!
*This post originally published on November 18, 2013. I thought it was due for an update! So, I’ve included new photos, added a how-to video, and given some more detailed instructions and tips for success. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this apple pie recipe as much I do!*
Here I am with another perfect pie recipe!
This has definitely been the year of pies for me. I shared a ton of homemade pies over the summer, and now that fall is here I haven’t slowed down for a second. In the last few weeks, I’ve posted pumpkin pie and pecan pie, and today I am here to share our family favorite: Apple Pie.
My oldest son lives for apple pie. It’s his favorite dessert in all the land, and I am right there with him. It just wouldn’t be fall without apple pie!
This recipe is a total classic. Flaky pastry, tender apples, and plenty of warm cinnamon and spice. The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the contrast between soft fruit and crisp crust is everything!
WHAT KIND OF PASTRY CRUST TO USE FOR APPLE PIE
The pie crust recipe is definitely the best option for apple pie. Graham cracker crust doesn’t hold together well enough, and there is just too much filling to all fit into a tart!
The pie crust is buttery and flaky, and provides a nice contrast to all the sweet and soft apples in the filling. You can use my recipe or just get it store bought. There’s more info on that below, so read on!
HOW TO MAKE APPLE PIE FROM SCRATCH
You can use store bought pie crust if you’re looking for a quick shortcut. Or, you can make my favorite homemade pie crust. It comes out so unbelievably flaky (thanks to my special secret method!) and it’s made with no shortening, so the flavor is off the charts!
Apple Pie Filling
Once the crust is nestled into the pie dish, you can mix up the filling. The ingredients for apple pie are: sliced apples, sugar, spices, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt, and a little flour. It’s as simple as tossing everything together until coated. .
The flour will help to thicken the juices as the pie bakes. This way, your apple pie will hold together nicely and not come out runny!
I like to use granny Smith apples for all my baking, because they’re firm, they hold up well, and the taste is really apple-y and not too sweet. But you can use any kind of firm baking apple you like!
Transfer the filling to the pie dish, and top it with a few tablespoons of butter. Butter will give the pie a richer taste and really make the flavors shine!
How to top apple pie
For the pie you see pictured here, I chose to do a double crust. So there is a layer of crust on the bottom and on the top.
If you’d like to do a double-crust apple pie like this one, roll out the other half of your pie dough and lay it over the filling. Then just turn up the excess bottom crust, pinching it together with the top crust. (You can see what this looks like in the video below.) Crimp the edge and use a sharp knife to cut some vent holes in the top crust. This way the steam can escape!
HOW LONG TO BAKE APPLE PIE
The name of the game here is to get the apples soft and tender. This is going to take a while! It could be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, depending upon how toothy or soft you like your apple pie.
I like mine to be soft but not mushy. A little bit of bite is good for me! So I usually bake my pie for about 50 minutes.
If you’re not sure if your pie is done, you can check it by inserting a bamboo skewer or thin sharp knife through one of the vent holes. It’s pretty easy to feel how firm or soft the filling is that way.
If you notice that the pie crust is starting to look too brown before the filling is done, you can pop on a pie shield, or just cover those areas loosely with foil.
Straight from the oven, you’ll notice that the juices in the filling are bubbly and liquid. The filling will thicken up a lot as it cools, so give it a good 2 hours to cool before slicing into it.
GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, OR VEGAN APPLE PIE
To make a gluten-free version of this apple pie recipe, substitute 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch for the flour in the filling. For the pie crust, just substitute the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free flour blend Look for one that that subs 1:1 for regular flour. Here are a few good options:
- King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
- Cup4Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
For a dairy-free and/or vegan apple pie, try using your favorite vegan butter substitute, and substitute your favorite non-dairy creamer for the egg wash.
HOW TO SERVE APPLE PIE
This pie can be enjoyed warm or cold, but I definitely prefer it warm! It’s such comfort food.
CAN APPLE PIE BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME
It’s a great idea to get ahead on prep and make pies ahead of time! This way they have plenty of time to cool and firm up, and this saves a lot of stress when you’re entertaining.
You can definitely make the crust at least a few days ahead, and keep it wrapped tightly in the fridge until the day before you plan to serve your apple pie.
The crust can be rolled out, filled, and baked 24 hours before serving. It’s ok to keep it out at room temperature (loosely covered). Then you can just warm it (in a 170 degrees F oven) for about 20 minutes.
Can apple pie be frozen before baking?
Freezing pies ahead is another great way to get a jump on your meal prep.
When freezing pies, it’s a good idea to bake them in foil pans, just so that your pie dish isn’t tied up in the freezer! Wrap really well to prevent freezer burn or funky odors, and keep in the freezer for up to a month.
You don’t even need to thaw it before baking. It can go into the oven frozen. Just bear in mind that it will probably need an extra 20 to 45 minutes of bake time.
How long will apple pie last?
If you have leftovers, they will keep (refrigerated) for several days. After that the crust might start to get a little soggy.
You could also freeze your leftover apple pie. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and it should keep in the freezer for about a month. Thaw at room temperature, rewarm, and enjoy!
This apple pie will be the highlight of your season! It’s such an iconic fall or winter dessert, and your family will love you for it. Enjoy!
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Everything you could ever want in an apple pie! Buttery, flaky crust, tart and juicy apples, and sweet, warm holiday spice. It's simply perfect!
- 1 batch Perfect Pie Crust from Scratch, prepared & chilled
- 10 apples peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cubed
- egg wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of cold water)
- 2 teaspoons raw sugar, for garnish
Roll out half the pie dough to about 2 inches wider than your pie dish, place it in the bottom of an ungreased pie plate, and refrigerate.
Place the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, spices, and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly.
Fill the chilled pie shell with the apple mixture, working carefully to mound the apples evenly and with as few empty spaces between apple slices as possible.
Dot with butter and refrigerate.
Roll out the second disk of pie dough, (large enough to overhang the sides of the pie by at least an inch), and drape the dough over the pie, pressing lightly to conform to the shape of the apples.
Trim off any excess dough, leaving about a one inch margin all around the pie.
Roll the top and bottom crusts up and over, pinching together to seal, and crimp.
Cut steam vents in the top crust with a sharp knife or kitchen shears, brush with egg wash, and garnish with raw sugar.
Refrigerate the pie for 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the pie for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden, the juices are bubbling, and the apples are softened but still a little firm (not mushy).
Cool the pie for at least an 2 hours before slicing.
A few more great apple recipes:
Last time we hung out, I promised you guys a really great recipe for a basic apple pie.
This is it! THE Most Perfect-est Apple Pie in all the Land. Or, at the very least, my house. 😉
You’d think that my kids must be in sugar heaven every day, with all the sweet goodies that come out of our kitchen on a daily basis. You’d be wrong, ha! The truth is, there are very few things I bake that they will actually eat. I know! They are crazy. I’m blaming it on their ages (4 and 6), because I know that little little kids are notoriously picky, and I’m already starting to see the older one start to open his mind to new flavor possibilities.
This pie is his favorite dessert that I make. On the day it came out of our oven, he ate three thick slices of it in one sitting.
I can’t blame the kid for loving it. The apples are just barely soft, but still have a little bite to them, and they are a little tart yet slightly sweet, and the spice is just enough to give that unmistakably fall flavor, without masking the natural appleyness of it all. It’s uber-appley. It’s stuffed to maximum capacity with apples. It towers. You might even wonder how you will fit all these apples in!
It all starts with my Simply Perfect Pie Crust. If you are afraid of making your own pie crust, I urge you to read this post. I was so scared of pie crust for the longest time, until I discovered this method. It’s pretty much foolproof. Between the combination of fats, the thinly sliced butter, and the folding and chilling process, it yields the tenderest, butteriest, flakiest result every time. I am very picky about pie crust, and, IMHO, if it’s not flaky, it’s a fail. Simply Perfect Pie Crust is so flaky you could almost mistake it for puff pastry!
Once you’ve got your pie crust in the plate, pop it in the fridge to chill while you whip up the apple pie filling. I like to use Granny Smith apples. They have a nice firm texture that holds up well for long bake times, and the flavor is pleasingly tart. I peel them, quarter them, and cut out the core like this:
Then I slice them about 1/4 inch thick, and throw them into the bowl. You’re going to want to use your biggest bowl for this pie filling! It takes 12 apples to make this pie. That’s right, 12 apples!
Once your done peeling, coring and slicing, just sprinkle the apples with some sugar, spices, and a little flour. The flour will help to thicken the juices that the apples give off during baking. Nobody wants a watery pie, right?
Toss it all together so every apple slice is coated with sugar and spicy goodness, and then get it into that nice, cold, pie shell. You’re going to want to do this carefully. Use your hands to settle the apples in. They’ll stack on one another in layers and fit together like a puzzle. If there are a lot of empty spaces between your apple slices, then you might not be able to fit them all in. Work carefully to pile it all in an even mound, dot with butter, and then put the whole thing in the fridge to keep cold while you roll out the top crust.
The top crust forms a blanket over the mountain of juicy apples. Trim off any excess (you’ll want about an inch overhang), and then roll the bottom and top crusts under and crimp the edge. It looks pretty, and it helps to keep the juices in! Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to make some vents in the top so the steam can escape, brush with egg wash for shine and golden color, and chill again! You want the crust to be nice and cold when it hits the hot oven, so the butter creates steam and puffs up those flaky layers.
The pie will bake for an hour and 15 minutes. It seems like a long time but this pie is a monster. Remember, 12 apples! This baby’s got thermal mass.
PS- Your whole house is going to smell amazing! My hubby could smell it from the driveway when he came home from work.
It’s basic but it’s “good old fashioned.” And nothing says love like a homemade pie. You can make the crust ahead, and freeze it, then fill and bake it the morning of. It rewarms nicely in the oven. If you don’t end up baking it ahead, just be sure to give it lots of time to cool before you slice into it. That way the juices have a chance to thicken up and the pie will hold it’s shape when you cut into it.
Your family’s going to want you to bring this to every holiday feast from here on out.
It’s everything anyone could ever want from an apple pie. Flaky, buttery crust, tart, juicy apples, and a hint of warm holiday spice. With whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s iconic. Add a drizzle of salted caramel sauce, and it’s epic!
PS- If you are looking to stock your recipe box with some really stellar basic recipes, you came to the right place! I’ve been baking for, ahem, 20-some odd years, cough-cough, so I’ve played with lots of recipes. Check out these other recipes from my “Simply Perfect” series (just click the pic to view the recipe):