“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” (Carl Sagan) I think that I have finally found THE apple pie recipe worthy of this statement. You will see that the key is in precooking the apples. This allows you to eliminate the bubble of crust that often happens in a traditional apple pie recipe. In the past I would start out with a huge mound of apple filling in my pie pan, only to find that it had cooked down to half of its volume leaving a large space between the top crust and the apples after baking. This recipe eliminates that disappointment with a pie still bursting full of apples when it is removed golden and flaky from the oven. The other unique quality is that this pie requires no flour, corn starch or tapioca thickener to absorb juices as the juices cook out before assembling the pie.
A 50/50 combination of sweet and tart apples give this pie an appealing balanced taste. You want to choose apples that don’t become too mushy when baked. For sweet apples I would recommend Braeburns, Jonagold, Sweet Tango, or Golden Delicious. For tart I would suggest Granny Smith, Cortland, Gravenstein, Reinette, or Cameos.
For a pie this special, I would advise making your own crust. However there are tasty premade crusts at your supermarket that save a good deal of time and effort. If you choose to make your own, this one is a buttery, flaky complement to your carefully crafted masterpiece.
A food processor or potato masher is most effective for cutting the shortening and butter into the flour. Once you have done that, you may transfer it to a bowl and add the ice water. A rubber spatula can be used to fold and press the water into the flour/fat mixture and it will help the dough stick together.
Apple Pie Recipe Instructions
apple pie recipe
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet firm baking apples peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices. (The old fashioned had cranked apple peeler-corers are wonderful for making this step a snap)
- 2 1/2 pounds tart, firm baking apples peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg white, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon white sugar for sprinkling over the top crust
Double Crust Pie Dough (makes enough for one 9 inch pie):
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening(cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled)
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter(cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled)
- 6-8 Tablespoons water
Apple Pie Filling:
- Roll out the dough and fit it into a 9 inch pie plate with extra dough hanging over the edge. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the other dough disk; move it to a parchment lined baking sheet; wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Stir ½ cup of the white sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl. Reserve the lemon juice for later. Move the apples to a large cooking pot or Dutch oven with a cover. Cook over medium heat and stir often for 15 to 20 minutes. Apples should be tender when a fork is inserted, but maintain their shape. Cool on a rimmed cookie sheet or Zak! tray for 30 minutes.
- With the oven rack at its lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on rack and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a Zak! colander and a bowl drain the apples keeping ¼ cup of apple juice and stir in the lemon juice. Set it aside for drizzling later.
- Arrange the apples in the dough lined pie pan, mounding them a little in the middle. Drizzle the lemon apple juice over all. Carefully place the top round of dough over the top of the apple filling. Trim the edges and crimp them together. Cut vent holes in the top. Use a basting brush to coat the top crust with the egg white. Sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
- Place your pie on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Rotate the baking sheet and pie and reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake 25 minutes longer. The juices will be bubbly and the crust will be flaky and golden. Use a wire rack to cool your pie for at least two hours and serve warm or at room temperature. This pie deserves to be enjoyed and savored. It is a winner!
- Use a food processor or Zak! Happy Face spoon to combine the flour, salt and sugar. Scatter the shortening over the top and process or use a potato masher to work it into the flour until the mix looks grainy. Add the butter pieces and work until the dough pieces resemble pea size crumbs. In a medium bowl, sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over the mix and press the flat side of your spatula into the dough until it begins to stick together. Add more water if necessary. Make two equal sized balls out of the dough and flatten them into about 4 inch disks. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. This dough can refrigerate for up to two days before you roll it out.
- Before rolling, let the dough rest for ten minutes at room temperature so it becomes a little softer. Roll the dough carefully into a 12 inch circle and fit it into the pie pan. It can be helpful to roll your dough somewhat around your rolling pin, carefully unroll it over your pie plate, and press it into place. It is ready to be filled.