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Classic Apple Pie

Ahh, apple pie. Nothing quite says fall like apple pie. I first made a homemade apple pie a few years back, and shared the results with you. It was my first-ever homemade pie and I totally adored it. However, as my baking prowess began to grow and I started to experiment with different recipes and doing research before diving in, I started trying new apple pie recipes. And I have to say, this one here is by far the absolute best. Such a tender, flaky crust, and that mile-high dome of a pie that you imagine seeing in the dessert cake of a 1950′s diner. Perfectly golden crust packed full with a mountain of apples. THIS is the ultimate apple pie.

I love the ooh’s and ahh’s when you pull such a tall and gorgeous pie out of the oven. So pretty!

The pie filling is surprisingly simple, which I think is best with fruit pies. Some sugar to sweeten it up and a few spices to enhance the natural flavor of the apples, but by and large the apples are left to stand on their own. Their texture and flavor shine through – absolutely delicious.

This recipe calls for Granny Smith and McIntosh apples, but the beauty of apples and fall is that you can substitute in your favorite varieties, or head to the local orchard and pick whatever they have growing there. I would recommend mixing and matching the tart and not-so-tart varieties to give the filling a good balance, but other than that, go for your favorites!

Incidentally, if you ever find yourself on vacation in Florida during the month of September and you get rained in on a Sunday, the hands-down perfect way to spend the day is by baking an apple pie and watching football. Can’t beat it.

P.S. The vanilla ice cream is a must for apple pie. Or, switch it up and give cinnamon ice cream a try!

One year ago: Fig and Almond Cheesecake
Two years ago: Italian Sausage, Red Pepper & Mushroom Risotto

Classic Apple Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cook Time: 55 to 60 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ¼-inch pieces
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:
2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples)
2 pounds McIntosh apples (about 4 medium apples)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for topping

Directions:

1. Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse to mix in five 1-second bursts. Add the shortening and continue pulsing until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, four or five more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl. (To do this by hand, freeze the butter and shortening, grate it into the flour using the large holes of a box grater, and rub the flour-coated pieces between your fingers for a minute until the flour turns pale yellow and coarse.)

2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if dough will not hold together. Squeeze dough gently until cohesive and divide into two equal balls. Flatten each into a 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap separately in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

3. Remove dough from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 degrees F.

4. Roll one dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan.

5. Gently press dough into sides of pan leaving portion that overhangs lip of pie plate in place. Refrigerate while preparing fruit.

6. Peel, core, and cut apples into ½-to-¾-inch slices and toss with ¾ cup granulated sugar, lemon juice and zest, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Turn the fruit mixture, including juices, into the chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center. Roll out the other dough round and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2 inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits at right angles on dough top. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar (omit if freezing unbaked pie, see below).

7. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to almost room temperature, at least 4 hours.

*Note: Do-Ahead - Freeze the unbaked pie for two to three hours, then cover it with a double layer of plastic wrap, and return it to the freezer for no more than two weeks. To bake, remove the pie from the freezer, brush it with the egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and place directly into a preheated 425 degree oven. After baking it for the usual fifty-five minutes, reduce the oven to 325 degrees, cover the pie with foil so as not to overcook the crust, and bake for an additional twenty to twenty-five minutes.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

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55 Responses to “Classic Apple Pie”

  1. Jen of My Tiny Oven on September 28, 2011 at 12:42 am

    This pie looks perfect!

    Reply

  2. CouponClippingCook on September 28, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Wow, you’re right, this pie is really absolutely gorgeous! The height really makes it look amazing. Love the idea of the cinnamon ice cream too.

    Reply

  3. Stefanie on September 28, 2011 at 1:42 am

    What a gorgeous pie! It really is such a wonderful feeling when you pull a mountain of a pie out of the oven and it’s all golden brown and perfect!

    Reply

  4. Kathryn on September 28, 2011 at 4:24 am

    That is one perfect looking pie – I love it!

    Reply

  5. Katrina on September 28, 2011 at 6:24 am

    This is one pretty pie! Love it!

    Reply

  6. Lori on September 28, 2011 at 6:54 am

    I have to make this pretty pie now! Thanks for sharing

    Reply

  7. Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers on September 28, 2011 at 7:27 am

    My favorite! Nothing like Apple Pie and Chicken Noodle Soup. When the weather cools, I need to make a pie. Your pictures look great and I love your plate!!

    Reply

  8. Liz @ Microwave Goddess on September 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Very pretty! Sounds delish and you’re right, it’s the perfect time of year! Have you ever tried a pie bird? I’m interested in picking one up after seeing it on Alton Brown’s Good Eats…

    Reply

  9. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie on September 28, 2011 at 8:42 am

    That is one tall pie! Yum!

    Reply

  10. Kate Koger on September 28, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Now this is what I needed a couple of days ago…..i had some apples to cook up after a scrumping session and had a go at making an apple pie but it was just ok!! I still have some apples left and shall be using this to make my next apple pie!! Mmmmmmm!!! :)

    Reply

  11. Kate Koger on September 28, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Granny smith apples hey!! They are from my home country and yes I come from the land down under!!

    Reply

  12. Kita on September 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

    My daddy makes his classic apple pie every year and everyone loves it. He and I are a bit competitive by nature so I am starting to get ready to try to bring a pie of my own. (Cant say I want one better than his, just something to have a little friendly fire over). This looks beautiful – and classic. Welcome Fall.

    Reply

  13. Paula on September 28, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Apple pie was my Dad’s favourite! He would have loved a slice of this beauty. Funny though, he never ate it with ice cream, always preferring a chunk of cheddar cheese with it. Actually, I never eat apple pie with ice cream either, always with cheddar. guess the apple never does fall very far from the tree.

    Reply

  14. Emily on September 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Ooh, I’m definitely going to try making this with Honeycrisp apples. Looks amazing!

    Reply

  15. Michele (also a brown eyed baker) on September 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

    The Pie looks WONDERFUL! BUT who bakes while on vacation?! I guess you must’ve been staying with friends or family to have all the kitchen necessitites.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2011 at 9:39 am

      Haha so true! But yes, we are staying at my boyfriend’s parents’ in Florida :)

      Reply

  16. Julie on September 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Wow, I’ve been looking the perfect Apple Pie recipe. I McIntosh apples that need to be used up … will it work with all McIntosh apples?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Hi Julie, Yes you could go with all McIntosh. Enjoy the pie!

      Reply

  17. Matt on September 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    This looks amazing! I will be trying this soon and cannot wait! I need to stop visiting this site due to the fact I want to make everything I see I want to make. That will never happen though! Thanks for the post!

    Reply

  18. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on September 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

    What a gorgeous pie! I have been craving apple pie recently, really want to make one!! The crust on top is just perfect!

    Reply

  19. Tracy on September 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Beautiful pie! Although we’re crumbly-top lovers around here, your pie crust top looks gorgeous!

    Reply

  20. mis-cakes on September 28, 2011 at 11:52 am

    i’m a totally pie crust girl and this crust looks to die for.

    Reply

  21. Cookin' Canuck on September 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    If we ever get a chance to meet, will you please give me a hands-on pie-making lesson? Seriously, this is one gorgeous pie!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      Aw, thank you Dara! And yes, absolutely! We’ll have to make some sort of Pittsburgh/Vancouver fusion pie :)

      Reply

  22. Christina @ This Woman Cooks! on September 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I love apple pie! I’ve never made a crust from scratch though. I think I’ll give it a try!

    Reply

  23. Ally on September 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Few things beat out the classically delicious apple pie & icecream duo, if you ask me.
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  24. Ashley on September 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I absolutely love apple pie with a scoop of vanilla bean icecream on top! YUM

    Reply

  25. Naina @ chow bella on September 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Wow, that pie achieved major altitude. You are right, it is right out of the ’50s! This looks wonderful, and I love that the season for warm pies is back!

    Reply

  26. Ann on September 29, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Absolutely stunning! I can’t indulge due to a cinnamon allergy, but wow – you’re absolutely right – this is the ultimate apple pie!

    Reply

  27. Imelda on September 29, 2011 at 4:50 am

    i love the pie! I ADORE the plate!

    Reply

  28. Crystal Lee on September 29, 2011 at 9:06 am

    OOO And Ahh from me too! It looks absolutely wonderful! I needed a great apple pie recipe. Thanks for this! Don’t you just love Fall recipes?

    Crystal
    Memphis, TN

    Reply

  29. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on September 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Sometimes the classics are best… This apple pie looks simply perfect!

    Reply

  30. Mi Vida en un Dulce on September 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Classics are always simple and delicious. Apple pie is one of my favorties in the world.

    Reply

  31. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on September 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Perfect classic apple pie!! This looks so delicious. I love warm apple pie with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top!!

    Reply

  32. Lacy on September 30, 2011 at 10:49 am

    What a beautiful pie! The crust looks delicious & it’s jam packed with apples, so yummy!!

    Reply

  33. Brittany on October 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you for the do ahead instructions! I love to bake for my work and bring things warm in the morning and I’m not always sure what is ok to go in the fridge or freezer overnight so I appreciate the note!

    Reply

  34. Gordon on October 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I like how you added vanilla ice cream as the finishing touch.

    Reply

  35. Nina on October 15, 2011 at 4:11 am

    This was the first pie I ever baked. And it turned out incredibly well and very, very tasty. The only thing I did differently was tossing the apples with 2 tablespoons of flour, so it wouldn’t get too runny…

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. Already picked out the next recipe to try.

    Reply

  36. Jennifer on November 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I came across your blog a few weeks ago, and I’ve been positively addicted! I had a cupcake party with my friends to make your red velvet and hazelnut ganache cupcakes, and my latest endeavor is this apple pie! It was my first time making a pie from scratch & came out scrumptiously :) Thank you so much for all of your recipes and awesome photographs that inspire me!

    I blogged about your apple pie – I’d be honored if you’d take a look:
    http://ohmyomiyage.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/apple-pie-a-la-mode/

    Reply

  37. Lucia on December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Hi, I discovered your blog some time ago and this past weekend I tried to make this apple pie, it was amazing with such a huge dome-like top (I just had a bit of a problem with the bottom layer of the crust, it broke while cooking and some of the juices went all over the pan, I’m a really messy baker, but as a first attempt it wasn’t bad and the most important thing was that it tasted sooo good).

    Thanks for this amazing recipe.

    Reply

  38. Jacqui on January 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Hello Michelle, your apple pie looked awesome. I baked this last night, following our recipe, the crust was delicious (not really flaky but still delicious). The pie tasted terrific. My only problem was my apple pie was too runny, so the bottom crust was soggy (the side and the top crusts were not). How do I prevent runny apple pie in the future?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 9th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Jacqui, Without being familiar with the recipe that you used, it would be nearly impossible to identify why exactly the pie itself was runny. It would sound as though there either weren’t enough apples to soak up some of the sauce, or the filling didn’t have enough of a thickening agent.

      Reply

  39. At on January 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Hello!

    Thanks for a great recipe! I tried it, but it wasn’t as good as yours. The taste is great, but my crust didn’t turn golden-brown.. Any idea what I did wrong?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 24th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      You may have needed to bake it a little longer. Also, make sure that your oven’s temperature is correct and it isn’t running on the cool side.

      Reply

  40. Anaisa on March 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Michelle!!!. I’ve never baked a pie before (well, lemon pie with graham crackers crust). But the fact is that i’ve never made pie crust!!! I’ve been wanting to, and after a long search, your recipe is the one that i seem to like more (as always) it sounds and looks perfect, but i have one issue, i’m from Venezuela and in here i can’t find shortening (maybe professional pastry makers have shortening, but i can’t seem to find it!!!) do you know if i can substitute it with butter? will it be ok? or do u recommend me substitute it with something else? i don’t want my first pie to be bad, i want it to look and taste as good as yours!!!. Love all of your recipes, xoxo

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 28th, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Anaisa, You can definitely use all butter. I’ve done all butter crusts before and they’re wonderfully flaky. The shortening makes it a little more tender, but you can definitely use butter for the whole thing.

      Reply

  41. Anna on April 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Hello, Michelle!
    I was wondering – how important is allspice for this recipe?
    My little brother is allergic to it, so I was thinking – could I just leave it out of the recipe? Or maybe should I use something else instead?

    Thank you! :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 15th, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Hi Anna, You can omit the allspice; since there is already cinnamon, you don’t need to replace it with anything.

      Reply

  42. Momof2chix on November 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    LOVE this site! This pie is amazing…it will be making its debut on the Thanksgiving table this year! I made the crusts today and plan on rolling and baking on Wednesday…should I freeze the dough?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 24th, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you! Yes, I would freeze the dough. I typically do not keep dough in the refrigerator longer than 2 days.

      Reply

  43. Brielle on December 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I made this pie for Thanksgiving and it is the best recipe I have made thus far. Fine holiday fun!

    Reply

  44. Michelle on December 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Hi Michelle,
    I baked this and while my crust came out delicious, the filling was all liquid and apples not tender enough. I put it in for the amount of time listed but it was just runny which made the bottom of the crust soggy. I didn’t put in a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch because your recipe didn’t call for it. But I suppose it does need it? And if so, how much of it would you mix into the apple mixture? I’d love to give this another shot for Christmas Day! :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 24th, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Hi Michelle, If your apples weren’t tender enough, I might try slicing them thinner. You could add a thickening agent if you’d like. I haven’t used one in this particular recipe, so unfortunately, I don’t have an amount to recommend.

      Reply

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