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Perfect apple pie from scratch in a white pie plate

Perfect Apple Pie from Scratch

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If you’ve had trouble mastering the art of a delicious apple pie, I’m sharing some secrets for the Perfect Apple Pie from Scratch

Yes,  homemade pie crust can be a pain, but it tastes so much better than store bought. And if you have trouble with your pie filling being too juicy, I have a tip for that dilemma as well!

Perfect Apple Pie slice on a square white plate

Perfect Apple Pie from Scratch

I’m always on the hunt for a foolproof pie crust, and this recipe from Nick Malgieri, cookbook author and baking guru comes darn close. Made with all butter, the flavor is outstanding. Next time, I may sneak a little shortening in to replace part of the butter for a more pliable dough for rolling. I’ll let you know how that goes with my pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving!

But Malgieri’s take on apple pie filling is spot on and a technique I’ve been using for years. He precooks the apples which prevents the formation of a big gap between the top crust and filling. This is a frequent occurrence when the apples shrink while baking. Brilliant!

Overhead view of Perfect Apple Pie

 

Tips for Making a Perfect Apple Pie

I love peach and raspberry pies in the summer, but come fall and winter, and a perfect apple pie is king! Baking an apple pie from scratch with fresh, local apple and a homemade crust will dazzle your family and friends! Give it a try!!!

  • Use a variety of apples for the best tasting apple pie. Granny Smith apples are always a safe bet, but if you find Northern Spys, they make an incredible pie. Jonathans are terrific, too. PRO-Tip: A mixture of apples gives a nice depth of flavor.
  • If you’ve never made a crust from scratch, give it a try. Even if it’s not picture perfect, the flavor will be so much better than a store bought crust or dough.
  • Like mentioned above, saute your apple slices in some butter until they’re just tender, but not overly soft. The purpose is twofold:  preventing a gap under the top crust and ensuring that all the apples get thoroughly cooked.
  • I only used cinnamon in this pie, but I also love some gratings of fresh nutmeg.

Making the Crust:

  • Malgieri adds some baking powder to his pie crust recipe. This aids in creating a lighter, flaky crust.
  • PRO-Tip: For a top notch pie crust, have both the fats and water very cold. I keep some Crisco in the freezer just for pies.
  • I like using the food processor to mix my crust. Process until the mixture looks like cornmeal with a few pea sized bits of butter visible. Over processing will prevent a flaky crust. You can also mix by hand using two knifes or a pastry blender.
  • After you add the water, you should be able to pinch some dough between your fingers and have it stick together. If it does not, add a tablespoon more of cold water and repeat. It may need a second additional tablespoon of water it the dough is still a bit dry.
  • Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Roll the dough, making quarter turns after each passing, redusting the surface lightly as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Be careful not to incorporate too much flour into the dough or it will toughen your crust. You should roll the dough to approximately 1/8-inch thick. Overworking the dough will also make for a tougher crust by activating the gluten.
Perfect Apple Pie in a ceramic pie plate
Photo circa 2010 of Lambeau assisting with crust garnishes

If you’re on the hunt for more autumnal desserts, check out this roundup of my favorite apple recipes or if pumpkin is more your style, this old-fashioned Pumpkin Roll. I’m loving the sound of these 5 Fall Desserts That Will Make You Swoon as well as these 10 Must Make Fall Desserts!

Do you have a favorite fall dessert? Let me know in the comments!

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Perfect Apple Pie in a ceramic pie plate

Perfect Apple Pie

A terrific recipe for the perfect apple pie with a few tricks included!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Dessert, Pie
  • Method: Baking, Sauteing
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks cold butter, cut into tablespoon slices
  • 4-6 tablespoons very cold water (I like to add a few ice cubes to a measuring cup with about a half cup of water…use that to pour into your measuring spoon).

Filling:

  • 3 pounds apples (I used golden delicious, Granny Smith, and Jonagolds), peeled and each cut into 8 slices
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar (you may use more or less depending on sweetness of apples)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in food processor and pulse a couple times to mix. Add butter and pulse till mixture looks like coarse cornmeal, about 20 short pulses. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of water and pulse about 5 times or until dough starts to come together.
  2. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers. If it doesn’t hold together add up to 2 more tablespoons of water, pulsing after each addition until the dough holds together. Recheck dough after each addition till it holds together.
  3. Put half of dough on a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk. Wrap completely and repeat with other half. Refrigerate disks at least an hour before rolling.
  4. Melt butter in large saute pan. Saute apples for about a minute, gently stirring to coat apples with butter. Add lemon juice and sugar and cook until the apples are just tender, about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and mix to combine. Allow to cool while rolling out bottom crust.
  5. Preheat oven to 400º.
  6. Place bottom crust into 9-inch pie plate. Fill with apples. Roll out top crust and place over apples. Seal edges and flute if desired. Cut a few vents into top crust to allow steam to escape. Alternatively, you can cut the top crust into slits and weave to make a lattice crust.
  7. If desired, whisk egg with salt. Brush lightly over crust and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 375º, and bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is browned and filling is bubbling. Cool on rack.
  9. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Notes

Adapted from Nick Malgieri.

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34 comments on “Perfect Apple Pie from Scratch”

  1. Beautiful Lizzy!
    Your crust looks great!

  2. Lizzy….This looks so good, love those leaf cutouts. Now I’m going to borrow your idea. Have a good time with your in-laws. Lambeau doesn’t look a day over 10 years old. 🙂

  3. Thanks, Lora!

  4. Liz, this looks wonderful. Your photographs are better everytime I visit. THANKS for always posting tips. I have always felt so comfortable following your recipes. It’s time to write a book. LOOL, then I won’t have to remember what you said. I can look it up~!~!

  5. Thanks, girlfriends!!! It was a pain to work with, but the crust ended up pretty darn good!

    LOL, Erica!

  6. What a sweet thing to say! Thanks, Jacqueline!

  7. You are so nice and generous with your compliments, diana…as always, thank you!

  8. Beautiful apple pie, Lizzy! The crust looks very flaky, and it is so meticulously done with the cute little cutout decorations!
    Enjoy you time with your in-laws!

  9. Thanks, Lizzie! It was nice that the cutouts actually kept their shape 🙂

  10. Thanks, Susan!

    It’s not my usual pie crust recipe, but it worked very well. The baking powder increased the flakiness…and I couldn’t taste it at all. I was nervous that the flavor would be noticeable, but there was no need to worry. I hope you give it a try!

  11. Carole, it was nice to have some cutouts actually look decent. I may do it again with my pumpkin for Thanksgiving…thank goodness that only requires a bottom crust!

  12. What a gorgeous apple pie! The crust looks perfect.

  13. Yep, apples are safely tucked away for Thanksgiving pie! Lovin’ your lattice crust Liz, it turned out beautiful. Also love the pic of Lambeau, how’s Izzy doing? Happy Thanksgiving Week-enjoy:@)

  14. Lambeau!! <3 <3

  15. That does look perfect! Like it came from a fine bake shop!! Duh… it did!!

  16. It doesn’t get much better than a good homemade pie!

  17. This really is the perfect apple pie recipe! It’s a true family favorite.

  18. This apple pie is a stunner, that lattice top is perfect!

  19. Nothing beats a homemade apple pie!  This looks divine!

  20. So classically delicious! The apples are great in big chunks!

  21. This is truly the most perfect apple pie, and beautiful too!

  22. A perfect apple pie. Love all the tips.

  23. The most perfect apple pie! I love your pretty lattice!

  24. I love an apple pie that you can slice and it keeps its shape. This is that pie!

  25. This looks delicious, Liz. And the lattice crust is beautiful and so meticulously done. Thanks for sharing the recipe and all your tips.
    Amalia
    xo

  26. This is such an amazing addition to our Thanksgiving table!

  27. My daughter came home last night for the holiday and said, “let’s make an apple pie.” I don’t make that many pies so I’m thrilled to see yours with great tips. Although you sound like maybe this wasn’t your favorite crust. What crust recipe would you prefer to use?

    Did you love the flavor of the apples?

    I’m going to go out today and whip one up and yours looks perfect. That said if the crust was a pain for you that makes pies galore feedback would be great!

    Your weaving and decor on top is stunning. I’d almost hate to cut into it. 

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Looking forward to tackling this recipe. 

    • Yes, the apples were tasty! I find all pie crusts a pain, but this one turns out nice and flaky. I’d substitute 2 or so tablespoons of the butter for Crisco to make it more pliable. Not sure I’ve found one that is my go-to crust. I’m always looking! Hope you enjoy the pie and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! xo

  28. Apple pie never gets old. And that lattice pie looks like perfection.

  29. LOVE me some great apple pie! This is one beautiful creation Liz – pinning!

  30. Your pie looks perfect. Love the tip of precooking the apples before putting them in the pie. This would be a lovely pie for the holidays. Liz, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  31. Love how the apples still look chunky after cooking 

  32. Oh gosh, one of my favorite pies. I’ve never mastered apple pie, always leaving it to Kelly to prepare. I’ll certainly give your recipe a go Lizzy! Thanks for sharing such a treasured recipe!
    Roz

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