This is my favorite apple pie recipe because you pre-cook the apples so you are in control of exactly how crunchy or soft your apples for your filling are. This double-crust apple pie recipe has classic spices so the thinly sliced apples can be the star of this pie. 🤍
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The all-American dessert: The Apple Pie. Buttery, sweet, spicy with a little crunch — the apple pie is one of the few desserts that feels festive and hits the spot during the winter holidays and also during the summer for the Fourth of July or summer barbecues. Here I spill the secrets to the perfect classic apple pie recipe.
THE SECRET TO THE PERFECT APPLE PIE
Granny Smith Apples: I think Granny Smith are the perfect apples to use in desserts because they bring a tartness that balances the added sugar in the dishes.
Thin Slices of Apple: This is one of the biggest game-changers of this apple pie for me. Thinly sliced apples gets the texture just right. With big chunks, you don't get the same layered bite of the filling — it's almost too much apple without the subtle spices and sugars. And grated apples is the opposite problem — not enough good apple flavor and crunch in every bite.
The Best Homemade Pie Crust: Because this is a double-crust pie, the crust is extra important. From scratch pie crusts can be daunting, but my recipe is very simple and is always flakey, buttery and delicious.
Before you start on this recipe, head to my recipe for the best from scratch homemade pie crust. 😏
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Homemade Apple Pie
Yields: 1 pie crust
Cook Time: 2 hours
Prepare a double pie crust — head to my recipe for the best from scratch homemade pie crust.
Peel, core and thinly slice all the apples. You can hand slice these with a sharp knife or use a mandolin (be very careful and always use the hand shield — I think everyone knows someone who has sliced their fingers with one of these suckers). You are going for about 1/8 inch slices.
Put apple slices in a large skillet with lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon. Toss to coat the apples. (This will look like a ton of apples for one pie, but they will cook down!)
Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often. You can keep the skillet covered when you are not stirring to let those apples release all their juices and mingle with the spices.
Taste test the apple slices for texture before removing from heat. You want them to be cooked soft but have a little resistance to add a slight crunch to your pie so it is not too mushy.
Stir in the vanilla and let cool to room temperature. NOTE: I usually start this pie in the evening and leave the filling covered on the counter overnight at this point.
Add filling to your base pie crust in your pie plate and place second crust on top. Check out these 15 Double Crust Pie Designs from Martha Stewart. I always like the classic lattice crust and it is nearly as hard as it looks.
Refrigerate whole pie for 30 minutes while oven pre-heats.
Place a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 400°F
NOTE: Before placing the pie in the oven, brush the crust with a 50/50 milk and egg mixture (if you don't have milk, just an egg wash will work too). This will make it a nice golden brown with a beautiful shine.
Once preheated, place the pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 350°F, pull the pie out and make a pie protector out of foil. Get a piece of foil big enough to cover the whole pie and fold around edges of the pie plate, then fold it in quarters and cut a large circle out of the middle so that the edges of the pie crust will be covered by the foil, but the center will not. Don't get too hung up on the perfect size of the whole, just ensuring the edges are covered so they do not get burned while the middle is getting to the nice golden brown is the goal.
Put the pie back in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until crust is a beautiful golden brown.
Let cool to room temperature before slicing and serving with vanilla ice cream. (I know, I know... smelling that lovely apple pie for hours on the counter is hard, but if you cut in too early, the filling will not be set and will run everywhere and your beautiful pie slices will fall apart)
Check out more recipes my Food & Drink blog section.
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What is your favorite time of year to eat apple pie? Tell me in the comments.