Happy early Pi Day! At least for those in the US using the month/day format, this happens on 3/14 (March 14th) every year. And what better way than to celebrate by making the best apple pie recipe? Both because it sounds the same and because a pie is round. So we could calculate the areas of our pie with Pi if we really wanted to…
Okay, I may be a bit biased in saying that this is the best apple pie. But it was the go-to family dessert growing up. I don’t think my younger sister was the biggest fan, but the rest of us enjoyed it (sorry, sis). Though dad also really liked strawberry pie. My older sister especially liked the apple pie and would usually help with making the dough. I didn’t actually get too involved in making this dish while growing up. But now am making it from scratch myself.
Though the pie originated in England, it has become a very classic American dessert. As American as apple pie. I don’t know how exactly it became such an American icon, but likely because it is just so tasty. It is a perfect mix of spices, sugar, flaky crust, and a bit of tart.
My favorite way to eat pie is à la mode. Which is just a fancy way of saying with ice cream on top. Preferably vanilla. And specifically vanilla bean. It starts to melt over the hot pie and just marries everything together perfectly. Though beware, because it is a large dose of sugar.
Apples and Spices
Lots of recipes have you cook the apples only in the oven. I switch it up a bit and give them a little precook on the stovetop before baking. In my opinion, this helps it come together and cook perfectly in the oven. The apples can be cooked through without burning the crust. Instead, we get the perfect golden-brown.
You’ve probably noticed in the produce section of the grocery store that there are like 50 million apple varieties (actually around 7,500 exist). So you may be wondering which variety to choose. The classic apple pie variety is Granny Smith. My mom would always use Gala apples. For this pie, I used a mix of Honeycrisp and Gala. In my opinion, you should use the variety of pie that you like the most. Or what is most readily available to you. Though there are some varieties that may get a little too mushy, so you could try cooking them less on the stovetop before filling the pie.
The other big part of this pie is the dough. I’ve already covered making the ultimate pie crust in another post. I highly recommend that crust for this pie, but you can use whatever recipe you are familiar with. Or even use a pre-made dough in a pinch.
For the spices, I use cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. With a distinct focus on cinnamon. It is an aromatic combination that adds flavor and helps to mellow out some of the tartness of the apples. This combo helps make this the best apple pie recipe.
Fun note – my mom would always put in half of the apple mix and then sprinkle in any leftover pie crust in small crumbs into the apple mixture before topping with the rest of the apples.
Helpful Tools for Making the Best Apple Pie
Though it isn’t too difficult to make apple pie, there are a few tools that can help or make it a little faster:
Pastry cutter – A pastry cutter helps when making the dough. One step is cutting the Crisco and butter into the flour mixture. You can use a knife, but a pastry cutter helps make things faster since it is essentially a whole row of knife edges to cut everything together.
Apple corer/peeler/slicer – This helps to peel, core, and spiralize-cut your apples all at once. I have used them before, and it definitely speeds things up when going through a lot of apples at once. However, it isn’t necessary and you can just use a peeler and knife to get the same job done.
Rolling pin – The rolling pin I’ve linked to here helps you get everything to an even thickness. It uses spacers on the end of the rolling pin to lock it to a specific height. Then you can roll away and not worry about making it even. I bought it for my wife who does a lot more baking than I do. But I’ve been stealing it recently for pie-making.
Pastry wheel – I used a pastry wheel for making the lattice top to the pie. The lattice top makes the pie look super fancy, and it seems like a lot of work. but it is not. I found some instructions online on how to make a pie lattice. It was very simple and just involves folding back alternating strips of dough. I will also admit that I didn’t even measure the strips to get them to the same size. Eyeballing it works.
So gather your tools and your favorite pie dish to get started with the best apple pie recipe you’ve ever tried.
The Best Apple Pie RecipeCourse: DessertDifficulty: Moderate
Tart apples, fragrant spices, crispy crust and a bit of sugar come together making this the best apple pie recipe
Pie dough for the top and bottom of a 9″ pie
7 large apples
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Roll out half of the pie dough to an even thickness, fit it into the bottom and sides of a 9″ pie dish, and place the dish in the fridge to keep cold until filling the pie
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into evenly thick slices
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C)
- Melt the butter in a deep pan on medium heat
- Add the sliced apples and lemon juice then simmer for 10 minutes until the apples start to get a little tender, stirring occasionally
- Mix the sugar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in with the apples and cook 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid at the bottom begins to thicken
- Remove the pie dish from the fridge, pour the filling into the bottom crust, and spread it into an even layer
- Roll out the remaining pie dough and top the pie with either a solid or lattice top and any other crust decorations
- Bake the pie in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the crust is evenly golden-brown – cover the edges of the crust with strips of foil if they are cooking faster than the rest of the pie