Say hello to easy apple pie! This classic homemade apple pie is packed full of juicy apples inside of the best pie crust you’ll ever make. There’s nothing fancy in the prep work, which makes it a perfect fall baking project.
Ahh, nothing quite says fall like apple pie, am I right? Fresh apples from the local orchard and warm spices that make the house smell so amazing you just want to wrap yourself up in a blanket. I’ve tried dozens upon dozens of apple pie recipes over the years and I have to say, this one here is by far the absolute best.
This pie has such a tender, flaky crust and a mile-high dome of apples; it’s a pie that you could imagine seeing in the dessert case 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!
How Do You Make Homemade Apple Pie?
First off, we start with a homemade pie crust. I have a very favorite version that uses a special ingredient to keep it crazy flaky and tender, and it’s the only pie crust recipe I’ve used for years now. However, if you need something super, super fast you can use store-bought (if you MUST).
The pie filling is wonderfully simple, which I think is best with fruit pies. Some sugar to sweeten it up, a few spices to enhance the natural flavor of the apples, and a little bit of instant tapioca to thicken the juices. The texture and flavor of the apples shine through, which makes for the best apple pie.
What Are the Best Apples for Apple Pie?
This recipe calls for Granny Smith and McIntosh apples, the combination of which provides a wonderful tart flavor (thank you Grannies!) and juicy texture (thank you McIntosh!). However, 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!
Apple Pie Filling Details
The apple pie filling consists the these main components:
Apples – We discussed these above, look for a combination of a little tart and a little sweet and soft.
Sweetener – Sugar is obviously the sweetener of choice, and you can adjust the amount based on your personal preference and how sweet/tart your particular apples are.
Thickener – A lot of fruit pie recipes call for flour as a thickener, but I’ve found it inadequate. In most cases, the pies still turned out runny, which is so disappointing when you spend time making a homemade pie! When I made blueberry pie a few years ago, I used instant tapioca and the filling thickened like a dream. That’s all I use now and it works phenomenally well!
Spices – A very modest amount of cinnamon and allspice is used to impart warmth a little extra flavor the pie, along with lemon juice to keep it bright.
Can Apple Pie Be Frozen?
Pies are wonderful candidates for freezing. Some notes below on how to freeze both unbaked and baked pies:
Freezing Unbaked Pies – Assemble the entire pie and stop before baking. Wrap the pie tightly in two layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. You can bake straight from the freezer, but will need to add anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes to the baking time. You can also thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.
Freezing Baked Pies – Allow the pie to cool completely, then wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil and freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a 350-degree oven until warmed through, approximately 30 minutes.
My recommendation is to freeze the pie unbaked – it will bake up better and taste fresher than freezing an already-baked pie.
It’s my personal opinion that apple pie should only be served a la mode, i.e. with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (make homemade if you’re up to it!). When the melting ice cream mixes with the syrup from the apple pie, it’s pure heaven.
Happy fall baking to you! What are your favorite recipes of the season?
Make the Crust: Process 1½ cups of the flour, the sugar and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process until a homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 7 to 10 seconds (the dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl.
Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Squeeze dough gently until cohesive and divide into two equal balls. Flatten each into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes, or up to 2 days.
Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough loosely around a rolling pin and unroll into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around the circumference, ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into the plate bottom with other hand. Leave any dough that overhangs plate in place. Wrap dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes. Roll other disk of dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter, then transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheet; cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Prepare and Bake the Pie: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, tapioca, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Add the apples and lemon juice and toss until combined. Spread apples with their juices into dough-lined pie plate, mounding them slightly in middle.
Loosely roll remaining dough round around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto filling. Trim overhang to ½-inch beyond lip of pie plate. Pinch edges of top and bottom crusts firmly together. Tuck overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of pie using your fingers. Cut four 2-inch slits in top of dough. Brush surface with beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Place pie on heated baking sheet, lower oven temperature to 425 degrees F, and bake until crust is light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, rotate baking sheet, and continue to bake until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Let pie cool on wire rack to room temperature before serving, about 4 hours.
You can substitute Empire or Cortland apples for the Granny Smith apples.
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.