Apple Pie

Apple pie: American icon, most popular pie, and the ONE dessert everyone has to make for Thanksgiving. With its flaky, buttery crust; tart-sweet apples, and wonderful cinnamon-y aroma, a slice of warm apple pie is the perfect end to any repast, from casual lunch to elegant dinner. Add vanilla bean ice cream, and you’ve got a dessert for the ages.

Prep
45 mins
Bake
55 mins to 1 hr 5 mins
Total
2 hrs
Yield
One 9" pie, 8 servings
Apple Pie

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

  2. Work in the shortening until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Dice the butter into 1/2" pieces, and cut into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of a dime.

  3. Add the water 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough. When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper. It's OK if there are some dry spots in the pile. Use a spray bottle of water to lightly spritz these places; that way you'll add just enough water to bring the dough together without creating a wet spot.

  4. Fold the dough over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then divide it into two pieces, one about twice as large as the other. The larger piece will be the bottom crust; the smaller piece, the top crust. Pat each piece of dough into a disk about 3/4" thick.

  5. Roll each disk on its edge, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges later. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

  6. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  7. Lightly grease a 9" pie pan that's at least 2" deep. This will make serving the pie easier after it's baked.

  8. To make the filling: Combine the sliced apples and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.

  9. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples, and stir to coat them. Stir in the boiled cider (or apple juice concentrate) and the vanilla, if you choose to use it.

  10. Roll the larger piece of pastry into a 13" circle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and trim the edges so they overlap the rim of the pan by an inch all the way around.

  11. Spoon the apple filling into the pan. Dot the top with the diced butter.

  12. Roll out the remaining pastry to an 11" circle. Carefully place the pastry over the apples. Bring the overhanging bottom crust up and over the top crust, pinching to seal the two and making a decorative crimp. Prick the crust all over with a fork, to allow steam to escape. Or cut decorative vent holes, if desired. Alternatively, you can weave a lattice.

  13. For extra crunch and shine, brush the top crust with milk (or an egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon of water), and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place the pie in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up the crust while the oven finishes heating.

  14. Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 40 minutes more, until you see the filling bubbling inside the pie (and perhaps dripping onto the parchment). Check the pie after half an hour of baking time, and cover the edges with foil or a pie shield to keep them from browning too quickly, if necessary.

  15. When the pie is done — you should see the filling bubbling vigorously, either around the edges, or via any decorative vents — remove it from the oven.

  16. Cool the pie completely before slicing — really. Cutting any fruit pie that's still warm is a messy business. The filling continues to thicken as the pie cools, and if you cut it too soon it will run out all over the place. It's better to bake the pie in advance, cool it completely, then warm each slice as needed after it's been cut.

  17. Store any leftover pie, lightly covered, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For a simple sugar-crumb crust in place of a pastry top crust, work together 1/2 cup each sugar, unbleached all-purpose flour, and butter (8 tablespoons), plus a pinch of salt, until sandy textured. Sprinkle atop the pie in place of the top crust; save the remaining top-crust pastry for another single-crust pie.
  • For the best apple flavor, use more than one variety of apple in your filling. Use apples that will hold their shape during baking: Jonagold, Granny Smith, Ginger Gold, Cameo, Northern Spy, and Delicious are some good choices.
  • To make Salted Rosemary Caramel Apple Pie, omit the sugar and butter from the filling ingredients listed above and top the apple filling with a batch of Salted Rosemary Caramel Sauce. Bake as directed.
  • Here's a tasty variation: Cranberry-Apple Pie. Add 1 cup dried cranberries to the filling, and bake as directed.
  • To make the rose apple pie pictured on the Fall 2018 cover of Sift, line the pie pan with a single pastry crust and flute the edges. Wash 5 or 6 red-skinned cooking apples and set aside; don't peel them. Have the lemon juice from the ingredients list on hand. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, ClearJel, salt, and spices. Sprinkle over the pastry in the pan. Slice the apples from the outside toward the core as thinly as you can (you should almost be able to see the knife through the apple). Cut the slices in half from top to bottom to make two semicircles. Form a 2 1/2" circle out of a folded piece of aluminum foil, place it in the pie shell, and arrange the slices skin side up inside the foil, working from the outside in to form a rose. Move the foil circle as you build more roses toe keep them intact; after the pastry is filled with roses fill any gaps between them with extra apple slices.
  • There are many different thickening options available for fruit pies, from flour to cornstarch to Instant ClearJel and more. For an easy guide to thickener substitutions, see our Pie Filling Thickeners Guide.