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Classic Apple Pie?

Once a year I get an urge to make a pie. The urge just struck.

Any favorite recipes so it will be a killer pie?

Classic, because I like a two crust pie, but sure, if you have a great struesel or sour cream pie, throw it in. It would have to be extrodinary since I'm going for a down-home, grandma's baking type of pie ... almost

I have ALL these strawberries. I'm considering a strawberry apple pie. Has anyone done that? What apple did you use with strawberries?

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  1. I love baking apple pies. After years of playing with ingredients, adding different spices, nuts, etc., I've found the simplest pies are the best.

    I peel, core, and slice about six good-sized, firm apples (my favorite varieties are pippin and gravenstein, which are hard to find around here so usually I end up using the more readily available galas or braeburns, and half granny smiths), add 3/8 cup sugar, 3/8 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark), 1/4 tsp. salt, a few dashes of cinnamon (no more than 1/8 tsp.), 1-2 Tbsp. flour (depending on how juicy the apples are), and an optional 1-2 tsp. lemon juice, depending on how tart the apples are. Stir the mixture together and pour into the bottom crust, dot with about 1 Tbsp. butter (optional), and cover with a top crust. Seal, cut vents in the crust, and bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 F and bake another 35-50 minutes, or until your crust is a deep golden brown (IMHO, there's not much ickier than undercooked pie crust). Let the pie cool for 1/2 hour or more before eating.

    3 Replies
    1. re: vanillagrrl

      That is my favorite classic apple pie recipe. My one addition, sprinkle some granulated sugar on top of the pie before going into the oven.

      1. re: PBSF

        ooh. Or brush the top w/ an egg wash (one egg mixed w/ on tablespoon of water) and THEN sprinkle it w/ sugar

        1. re: MollyGee

          I brush with milk or single cream, rather than egg.

          I hate peeling apples so I make sure I buy thin-skinned apples and then don't peel them.

          I make a double recipe of the crust, then cook the apple filling first so it can reduce somewhat (less "empty space" in the top of the pie), and make it in a cast-iron skillet. It takes 25 large Pippin apples.

    2. My main advice is to use freshly grated nutmeg (with a light hand) and much less cinnamon than you might otherwise think (it should be a hint, not front and center).

      If you use apples prone to "juiciness" a couple of teaspoons of instant tapioca will help remedy that without turning the filling into apple curd.

      1. I think I post this every fall. It is sour cream apple pie with a strusel topping.

        you will need a deep pie dish lined with a good pastry.

        Combine 2 Tbs. flour, 3/4 C. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg and a halthy dash of salt.

        Beat 1 egg and combine with 1 C. sour cream and 1 tsp. vanilla, stir into the flour mixture and then fold in 6 med. sized apples, peeled, seeded and cored. Pour into your prepared pai shell and bake at 400 for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 and bake an additional 30 minutes.

        While the pie is baking cut 1/3 C. flour into 1/4 C. unsalted butter with a pastry blender or in your food processor along with 1/3 C. sugar and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and a dash of salt. Pulse and when it resembles coarse meal, remove to a bowl and add golden raisins and about 1/2 C. walnuts whiich have been blanched and toasted.

        remove the pie from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400 F. Sprinkle the strusel over the top of the pie and bake an additional 10 mins.

        You can serve it at room temperature but I really like it chilled.

        1. A few years ago there was a recipe in the NYTimes for a Sauteed Apple Pie that calls for 5 pounds of apples in a single two-crust pie. This has become my go-to recipe. It's terrific and you don't end up with a bunch of space between the apples and the top crust. I know a lot of people on this board have said that sauteeing the apples first makes them mushy, but that hasn't been my experience with this recipe.

          Basically, saute 5 pounds of peeled, sliced, 1/2-inch thick apples (I find that 2/3 macs and 1/3 granny smith is ideal) sprinkled with 3/4 cup sugar until carmelized (10 to 15 minutes; may require two pans). Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, toss, and spread on a cookie sheet to cool.

          Do your crust thing and bake in preheated 400 degreee oven about 40 minutes.

          Very definitely a classic and soul satisfying apple pie.

          7 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            Sauteeing the apples is also how American's Test Kitchen does their "Best Apple Pie".

            1. re: JoanN

              Do you pre-bake your crust? What do you do?
              This sounds delicious. . . . a great way to spend a fall day. . . . I am going to give it a try

              1. re: pancake

                No need to pre-bake the crust. If I happen to have my pizza stone in the oven, and if I happen to be using a pyrex pie dish so I can see just how brown the bottom crust is getting, I bake the pie on the pizza stone to get a really crispy bottom crust. But it's definitely not necessary. I probably do it that way less than half the time. When you pile the sauteed and cooked apple slices into the bottom crust, there's very little liquid to make it soggy.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I will give it a try today. . . . yeah I should pick-up a clear pyrex pie dish, it takes alot of the guess work out of it.
                  Thanks again for the info :)

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Oops. That should have read "sauteed and cooled." Point being, you just put the apples into the crust, not any of the liquid that remains on the cookie sheet.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      what about butter? Do you sautee in butter? On a low heat?

                      1. re: JoanN

                        I melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-high heat to saute 5 pounds of peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2-inch thick apples.

                2. I also read somewhere (maybe Chowhound) that someone sliced and baked the apples before placing in the crust. This reduced the "shrinkage" factor and led to a more full domed pie.

                  Anyone remember or has tried and can give some clues?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jfood

                    I use Lindsey Shere's recipe for Apple Crumb Pie in which the apples are cooked before they're placed into the crust. Here's the recipe. It's incredibly good!

                    Apple Crumb Pie

                    2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
                    3/4 teaspoon salt
                    1/8 teaspoon sugar
                    3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
                    3 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
                    4 tablespoons or more ice water
                    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
                    1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
                    1/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
                    1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
                    3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
                    1 tablespoon butter
                    10 1/2 cups Pippin or other tart apples or a mixture of tart and sweet apples (like pippins and jonagolds), peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices
                    1/3 cup dried currants
                    1/4 cup sugar
                    3 tablespoons apple brandy, I used Applejack, you can also use Calvados
                    1 teaspoon whipping cream

                    Combine flour, salt and sugar in large bowl. Add half of butter and rub with fingertips until mixture resembles fine meal. Add remaining butter and shortening and rub with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

                    Combine 4 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in small bowl. Sprinkle liquid over flour mixture. Toss with fork until mixture is moistened. Add more water by teaspoonfuls if mixture is too dry.

                    Gather dough into ball. Divide ball into 2 equal portions. Flatten 1 dough portion into disk; flatten second into square.

                    Wrap dough pieces separately in plastic and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)

                    Combine flour, brown sugar and walnuts in medium bowl. Add butter and rub mixture with fingertips until moist clumps form. (Topping can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let topping soften slightly at room temperature before using.)

                    Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

                    Mix in currants; cover and cook until apples are tender, about 6 minutes.

                    Uncover; cook until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.

                    Remove from heat. Stir in sugar and brandy. Cool.


                    Place rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

                    Roll out dough disk on floured surface to 13 inch round (dough will be very thin). Transfer to 9-inch diameter glass pie dish. Trim edges, leaving 1/2 inch overhang. Spoon filling into crust. Sprinkle with topping.

                    Brush edge of crust with water. Roll out dough square on floured surface to 12-inch square. Using pastry wheel or knife cut square into ten strips. Twist 1 strip 4 times and lay strip across pie. Repeat with 4 more strips spacing equally.

                    Twist 1 strip as before and place diagonally atop other strips. Repeat with remaining strips, spacing equally to form lattice.

                    Trim strips to align with edge of crust. Press strip ends into edge. Fold crust overhang over ends of strips; press to seal. Crimp edge. Brush edge and strips with cream.

                    Bake pie until crust is golden and topping is brown about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.

                    Serves 8.

                    Recipe by Lindsey Shere, first pastry chef at Chez Panisse, Berkeley, CA and former owner of Downtown Bakery, Healdsburg, CA

                  2. It was Rose Levy Berenbaum, IIRC, whose Pie & Pastry Bible first championed the cook-the-apples-first approach.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Karl S

                      I'm extremely pro-pre-cooking/sauteeing. The texture/depth of flavor of the apples is far superior. It a lot easier to control the residual moisture as well. As long as you're using a very firm, very fresh local apple (I use stayman winesaps), and are careful not to pre-cook them too much, a pre-cooked apple pie won't be mushy.

                      1. re: scott123

                        It's interesting to hear this, because I'm extremely con-pre-cooking of apples before baking in a pie. That's how all the store-bought pies are made and it doesn't taste "fresh" to me if the filling has been pre-cooked.

                    2. Would you pre-cook apples for a turnover too? I was thinking of making a few turnovers also. Do you think it would work for turnovers?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rworange

                        I would definitely pre-cook it for turnovers as well.

                      2. This Microwave version cuts the baking time significantly—at least by half.

                        for the Crust:
                        2 cups all-purpose flour
                        1/2 tsp. salt
                        2/3 cup +2 Tablespoons of very cold unsalted butter
                        1/2 cup very cold water -(iced water)
                        With the steel blade of the food processor in place, whirl the flour and salt to blend.
                        Cut the butter into chunks and pulse until the butter-flour mixture is pea-sized.
                        Add iced water to processor while running, for 10 to 20 seconds. Shape into ball by hand.
                        Divide dough in half. Roll half and fit into pyrex pie plate. Roll other half for the top piecrust.

                        Apple Pie Filling:
                        6 to 7 apples, cut into fourths - peel and core
                        1 Tablespoon lemon juice
                        1/3 cup white sugar
                        1/2 cup brown sugar
                        1/4 cup flour or 2 Tbl. tapioca
                        1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
                        1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
                        With slicing blade of food processor, slice apples.
                        Combine with the remaining ingredients by hand in large mixing bowl.
                        Fill the unbaked pastry shell, dot with butter. (optional: add zest of lemon)
                        Top with remaining pie crust. Cut vent slits in top crust. Lightly brush top crust with cream or milk and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. sugar.
                        Microwave on High for 8 minutes. Transfer to 400°F preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Cynsa

                          Huh! So do the apples keep their shape better?

                        2. Ok at risk of being booed off the boards:

                          Mrs. Smith's frozen deep dish apple pie, make sure it's the blue ribbon deep dish one.

                          Take frozen pie out of foil tin and put it in a pretty ceramic pie pan. Use a mini cutter to cut out cute shapes for air vents. Place back on pie using cream or egg wash to glue on. Brush entire top crust with cream or egg wash and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake according to directions.

                          I've tried for 20 plus years and I just cannot make a better tasting apple pie to suit my taste.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: lisaomay

                            No boos, lisaomay ... Standing ovation ... applause, applause ... apple-plause

                            I will definately give this a try.

                            An update status ... I couldn't find apples I liked last week ... off to the market again.

                            1. re: rworange

                              Get some Rhode Island Greenings from the Apple Farm stand at Ferry Plaza. My favorite pie apple of all I've tried.

                              1. re: rworange

                                Well, you know the obvious answer. If you can't find suitable apples, maybe you can find Mrs. Smith.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  It's funny. It didn't occur to me before...My mom makes The World's Best Apple Pie (I'm sure all of our moms do, but my mom REALLY does) and she makes them from the apples on her backyard tree. Believe it or not, they are golden delicious apples (well, that's what she says anyways). I know, I know, not apple pie apples, but these apples are always crisp and too tart for me to eat in hand (though my daughter scales the tree and just about bites the apples still attached she likes 'em so much).

                                  I was going to offer some to you (my ma lives here in the e.bay), but today my sister let me know that the tree fell down, roots out of the ground and everything! I think it is so overloaded w/ apples it couldn't take it. I'm investigating tomorrow. I can probably salvage a bag for you, if you'd like. I can leave them on my porch

                                2. re: lisaomay

                                  I second the cheers for Mrs Smith. I made two last week for my Grandmother and her friends. She is 99. They loved the pies, and thought they were the best. I brought it over to her house and baked it there. When her friends arrived, the whole house smelled wonderful.

                                  I cut an apple shaped hole in the top and made two pastry leaves from that and stuck them on the apple shape. I brushed the top with cream and sprinkled with raw cugar crystals and cinnamon.

                                  Served it warm with Vanilla Ice Cream .

                                3. Delete. Posted in wrong place

                                  1. I read an article last week that said the best apple for apple pie is Northern Spy, not Granny Smith. Can anyone concur?

                                    What is the apple of choice?

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Fleur

                                      I much prefer Northern Spies, Jonathans and other more complex flavored apples to grannies for baking. But unfortunately, they are not readily available all year round in supermarkets, which is what recipe writers are looking for.

                                      p.s. my FAVORITE apple pie recipe is in Raymond Sokolov's paperback recipe collection (FADING FEAST?) of hard to find traditional american treats - its basically a classic cinnamon flavored, flour thickened pie (raw apples) but it adds some heavy cream in the filling. Just scrumptious. Will try to trag it out for this thread.

                                      1. re: Fleur

                                        Here's an incomplete list of varieties with descriptions:


                                        but both Sierra Beauty and Roman Beauty are missing.

                                        1. re: rootlesscosmo

                                          Thank you for the list. The stories of the apple varieties are fascinating and I am happy to see the reappearance of so many long forgotten varieties.

                                          It is disheartening at the market, I go to FAIRWAY in Red Hooh, Brooklyn. They have many varieties of apple, but none are local, and most are imported.

                                          1. re: Fleur

                                            well for petes sake Fleur, the farmers market at Brooklyn Borough Hall will shortly, if it does not already, carry plenty of varieties - good apples are not a supermarket item (and its early for good local apples). Most of the best apples cant survive the rough handling to get into supermarket distribution chains.

                                          2. re: rootlesscosmo

                                            Great list, thanks for the link. I'm on the East coast where apples are just beginning to peak. At my local orchard which has about 10-15 varieties, their little pamphlet says that Gravenstein is the best pie apple. Any opinions? I've never been able to get them in time, the season is short and I think this is an early apple.

                                            I've used Macoun, Cortland, Empire apples regularly and like all of them. I dislike the flavor of Golden Delicious. Granny Smiths are OK but not very interesting. I haven't come across a local producer of some of the heirloom varieties which I'd like to try some day.

                                            1. re: cheryl_h

                                              My experience with Gravensteins (they're an early variety in NorCal too) is that they tend to turn into applesauce when you bake them. It's great applesauce but I like pie apples that hold some shape when sliced and baked. See if you can find Greenings... long ago the Tip Toe Inn (honest, that was its name) on Broadway around, I dunno, 86th Street? used to serve what they called Green Apple Pie which I'm pretty sure was made with Greenings, so it should be possible to find them in the NY-Tristate area. Good hunting.

                                          3. re: Fleur

                                            In The Pie and Pastry Bible, Rose Levy Berenbaum has a long disquisition (as she tends to do) on the best apples for apple pie. Without the commentary, the list is: Local apples in the fall--Macoun, Stayman-Winesap, Cortland, and Jonathan. In the "other great baking apples" category--Golden Delicious, Idared, Pink Lady, Red Stayman, Rhode Island Greening, Winesap, York Imperial, Northern Spy, Newtown Pippin.

                                            She says she blends 3 or 4 varieties, and in the winter she uses supermarket granny smith's ("also make a marvelous pie."

                                            Regarding golden delicious, she says "resists browning and holds it's shape the best").

                                          4. I haven't seen Northern Spy here in the SF Bay Area; my favorite heirloom pie apples around here are the Rhode Island Greening and the Sierra Beauty, and another local hound speaks highly of the Cox's Orange Pippin which I haven't tried. I think part of the answer to your question depends on what part of the country you're in.

                                            1. I don't see any reference to using the strawberries...and I would recommend during an apple-strawb crisp instead of pie. Strawberries can create alot of juice, sometimes too much and create a soggy pie result. Crisp would be better.

                                              1. crust: i go half shortening, half butter, measure it and then keep it chilled until im absolutely ready to put it in...also skimpy on the ice water, use just enough to stick it together. it ends up being crumbly looking because you want the fat to not be 100% blended in and requires some finesse to roll out (just press any stray crumbs back in) BUT is always perfectly flaky. the trick is keeping it all cold. I also brush the top w/milk and sprinkle with sugar before baking, nice golden glaze. always good luck w/clear pyrex pans too.

                                                apples: i don't usually peel them unless im feeling really inspired, and i cut em up and let them sit in the sugar, cornstarch, and usually cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg...then i get the crust together and put apples and some juice in depending on if they look like they'll need it. (its easy to freestyle the filling to personal taste)

                                                Pie by Ken Haedrich is an excellent reference, so many pie inspirations and they all work great.