Perfect Apple Pie

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With a crisp, flaky crust and thick, cider-flavored apple filling, this is my idea of the perfect apple pie.

apple pie

Even with years of professional and home cooking experience, I still approach homemade pie with a bit of trepidation. I’ve said it before: the person who coined the term “easy as pie” had obviously never made a homemade pie! But making a delicious apple pie is totally doable as long as you have a tried and true recipe like this one. The key is to avoid the typical apple pie pitfalls — a soggy crust and waterlogged filling — by blind baking the crust and boiling down the juices before filling the pie.

These steps add a bit of extra time but ensure a crisp and flaky crust and a cider-flavored filling that’s not the least bit watery. The perfect apple pie!

What you’ll need to make Apple pie

ingredients

How to make Apple pie

Begin by making the crust. It’s easiest to use a food processor but you can also make it by hand if need be. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. (The baking powder is added to prevent the crust from shrinking during baking — it helps the crust expand into the pan rather than slip down the sides.) Pulse a few times to combine.

crust-1

Add the pieces of butter and shortening.

crust-2

Pulse until you have coarse crumbs with lots of pea and chickpea-size clumps of butter and shortening within.

crust-3

Add the water and pulse until the mixture is evenly moistened and very crumbly.

crust-4

Dump the crumbly dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into two piles, with one pile about 15% bigger than the other.

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Make two balls of dough and pat each one into a 5-inch disc. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

crust-6

Take the larger disc of dough out of the refrigerator. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour more over the dough. Use your hands to quickly knead the dough into a soft and malleable disc (don’t overwork it; you want it just supple enough to roll).

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Roll the dough, adding more flour as necessary under and on top of the dough so it doesn’t stick, into a 13-inch circle.

apple-pie-crust-8

Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan (at least 1-1/2 inches deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch beyond the lip of the pie pan. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust. Press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge as you work your way around. Use any scraps to patch in any tears or thin areas. Place the crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 375°F.

apple-pie-crust-9

Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Fill the crust with dried beans or pie weights.

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Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and beans/pie weights and tent the edges with a few strips of aluminum foil. (The foil will protect the edges from getting too dark.) Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is dry and golden. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.

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Meanwhile, combine the apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

apples-1

Toss until the sugar is dissolved and the apples are evenly coated. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

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Drain the apples, collecting the syrupy juice in another bowl.

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Pour the juice into a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup.

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Heat on high power in the microwave until the juice is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can boil the juices in a small pan on the stove.) The syrup should be just slightly thickened.

apples-5

Add the syrup back to the apples, along with the flour and cornstarch; toss to combine.

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Add the apple filling to the baked pie shell.

filled-apple-pie

Take the other piece of dough out of the fridge and roll into an 11-inch circle, using the same process described above. Place the dough over the apples and crimp the edges with a fork or flute with your fingers, sealing the top and bottom crust together. Work quickly as the heat from the pan will soften the dough. Brush the top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle some sugar over top. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow the steam to escape.

ready-to-bake

Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and filling is bubbly. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before cutting, about 4 hours. Enjoy!

perfect-apple-pie-1

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Perfect Apple Pie

With a crisp, flaky crust and thick, cider-flavored apple filling, this is my idea of the perfect apple pie.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a knife
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 14 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup cold vegetable shortening, in 4 pieces
  • 7 tablespoons ice cold water

For the Filling

  • 3½ pounds baking apples (see note), peeled, cored, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

For Baking

  • A beaten egg, cream, or milk, for brushing over crust
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for topping the pie

Instructions

For the Crust

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture is crumbly with lots of pea and chickpea-size clumps of butter and shortening within.
  2. Add the water and pulse until the mixture is evenly moistened and very crumbly. Dump the dough crumbles onto a work surface and divide into two piles, with one pile about 15% bigger than the other (13 oz and 11.5 oz). Make two balls of dough and pat each one into a 5-inch disc. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  3. Take the larger disc of dough out of the refrigerator. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour over the dough. Use your hands to quickly knead the dough into a soft and malleable disc (don’t overwork it; you want it just supple enough to roll).
  4. Roll the dough, adding more flour as necessary under and on top of the dough so it doesn't stick, into a 13-in circle. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-in deep-dish pie pan (it should be at least 1-1/2 in deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Trim the edges to 1/2 inch beyond the lip of the pie pan. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust. Press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge. Use any scraps to patch in any tears or thin areas. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while you heat the oven.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Set an oven rack in the middle position.
  6. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet (this makes it easy to move in and out of the oven). Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven; remove the parchment paper and beans/pie weights and tent the edges with a few strips of aluminum foil. (The foil will protect the edges from getting too dark.) Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is dry and golden. Don't worry if the bottom puffs up; just press it down gently with a flat spatula, such as a pancake turner, taking care not to puncture it.
  7. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.

For the Filling & Baking

  1. Meanwhile, combine the apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Toss until the sugar is dissolved and the apples are evenly coated. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the apples, collecting the syrupy juice in another bowl. Pour the syrupy juice into a 2-cup microwave-safe liquid measuring cup. Take note of the quantity and then heat on high power in the microwave, checking frequently, until the syrup is reduced by half. This will take about 4 minutes but keep a close eye on it as all microwaves are different. You don't want to cook it for too long, or it will turn into sticky caramel (see note below on how to correct this if it happens). The syrup should be just slightly thickened and still pourable. (Alternatively, you can boil the juices in a small pan on the stove.)
  3. Add the syrup back to the apples, along with the flour and cornstarch; toss to combine.
  4. Take the other piece of dough out of the fridge and roll into an 11-inch circle, using the same process described above. If necessary, use a little dough to patch up any holes in the bottom crust. Add the apple filling to the baked pie shell, compacting the apples as tightly as possible. (Too many air pockets will cause the crust to dome, creating a gap between the apples and the crust.) Place the rolled dough over top. Crimp the edges with a fork or flute with your fingers, sealing the top and bottom crust together. Work quickly, dusting your fingers with flour as necessary, as the heat from the pie pan will soften the dough.
  5. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg (or cream or milk). Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top crust. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow the steam to escape.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before cutting, about 4 hours.
  7. Note: Be sure to use baking apples that hold their shape when cooked, such as Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious. And use a mix of different varietals for the best flavor.
  8. Note: If you accidentally over-reduce the syrup and it seizes up when you pour it over the apples, transfer the apple mixture to a large sauté pan and cook over high heat until the caramel melts. Let cool completely in the fridge before proceeding with the recipe.
  9. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The pie can be frozen for up to 3 months before or after baking it. (If freezing it unbaked, hold off on brushing the top crust with the beaten egg and sprinkling it with sugar; you can do that right before baking.) If baked, let it cool completely and place it in the freezer uncovered. When fully frozen, wrap the pie securely in foil and freeze. If the pie is unbaked, wrap it securely in foil and freeze. When ready to serve, proceed with baking instructions above (pie is likely to take a bit longer in the oven).

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 589
  • Fat: 24g
  • Saturated fat: 14g
  • Carbohydrates: 91g
  • Sugar: 48g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Sodium: 383mg
  • Cholesterol: 53mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I make this every year with our apples from our tree. I like to cook, not bake, so the precise step by step instructions are AMAZING for someone like me that doesn’t know what I’m doing Thank you so much for this!

    • — Emma F on September 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I love your recipes and have been making them for years with rave reviews! Thank you. I have a question about this pie – can I cheat and use a crumble topping rather than another crust?
    Thanks for your time and input and your excellent recipes!! Betsy

    • — Betsy on September 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Betsy! I do think a crumble topping would work here. If you need a recipe, the topping that goes on my Apple Crisp would work very nicely here. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it this way!

      • — Jenn on September 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen!,
    I’ve loved all your recipes this far! I have a question at the moment. Can you peel and slice the apples ahead of time? A day before? I was thinking some lemon juice might keep them from discoloring??

    • — Maggi Sokoloff on September 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Maggi, Yes, I think you could peel and slice them ahead and toss with a bit of lemon juice. (And so glad you enjoy the recipes!)

      • — Jenn on September 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I absolutely love this recipe, I’ve made it a few times now (with extra cinnamon though). What I’d like to know is if you can assemble the pie one day ahead of time before baking , and then bake fully the next day? Thanks as always for your help! And your delicious food!

    • — kathleen koch on September 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like this! Unfortunately, I don’t think the apples will hold up well if you assemble the pie ahead. You can, however, bake the whole pie a day ahead. It will still be delicious the next day. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • Amazing!
    I have a different recipe for the crust. But the filling was perfect! This will be my go to recipe from now on.

    • — Courtney on August 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • I had already made the filling and then realized I didn’t have any shortening! Would using only butter in the crust work? Btw I love this recipe! I’ve made it once before, my husband doesn’t even like pie and we ate the whole thing!

    • — Joss on August 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Joss – you can definitely use all butter in the crust.

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can this dough be used for “hand pies”? About 4 inch stand alone circles without any formed pans? Just baked on a sheet.

    • — Audrey on May 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on May 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • I like the flavour of this pie, my apples completely broke down essentially to apple sauce – I used Granny Smith would a different apple held its form better?

    • — Marina on March 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Marina, I’m sorry you had a problem with the apples! Granny Smiths should work. Next time, I’d try a combination of varietals including any of the following: Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious.

      • — Jenn on March 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • I don’t make pie often as I haven’t had much luck in the past (plus my in-laws make outstanding pies so why bother:). I was a bit skeptical about blind baking and then baking again but I have to say, the crust on this pie was fantastic! I got a bit sidetracked when preparing the filling and missed the step about adding flour/cornstarch but it didn’t really need it – maybe it had to do with the apples I used (Mac and Granny Smith). The filling was perfect! Another amazing recipe – thank you Jenn!

    • — Muneeza Coughlin on March 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • My daughter wanted me to make an apple pie, found your recipe, took the time to make it, and it was well worth while. We all enjoyed it and it didn’t last long.
    I had to use dairy free butter and the pastry turned out great. I will definitely be using this recipe again and maybe try it without the cinnamon. Thank you.

    • — Mike on February 28, 2021
    • Reply

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