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Sep 27, 2009 07:27 AM

ISO Killer Apple Pie Recipe, but in which style?

I love to cook and am quite comfortable with it. But baking...trying to hone my skills. I have volunteered to make apple desserts for a few different occasions, Cdn thanksgiving, office fall luncheon and hubby's office fall potluck.

So, I am looking for recipes for:
~traditional double crust apple pie (tried googling cook's illustrated recipe but no luck)
~apple crumble pie
~free form apple tarte (not sure I have the name correct; you know the European kind where the sides are folded over the top and just baked)
~apple streudel

Advice on types of apples and recipe infos greatly appreciated.

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  1. I highly recommend this one for your traditional pie, but I'll find you and.. I don't know, glare at you if you tell anyone where you found the recipe. (It's become a guarded secret at my house, and I'm not kidding.) Photo attached. I've been counting the 90 degree + days here in TX until I can make it again. (I've made it about six times, never-fail.) My only tip is to follow the directions - except feel free to add some typical pie spices - even though it honestly doesn't need them. But cinnamon and cloves never hurt anything.

    Don't bother with the "allrecipes additions" - all of the "advice" given in the reviews - this is a killer pie.

    9 Replies
    1. re: shanagain

      No glaring necessary...I won't tell a soul. The shear number of people responding to that recipe speaks volumes.

      1. re: itryalot

        I made this pie after discovering that suddenly my stomach HATES raw apples. If that wasn't unfortunate enough, I now had a big bag of apples from Costco that needed to be used. I found this recipe and made it - even w/ store bought crust. I couldn't be easier and has an almost caramel sauce to bind the whole thing. OMG. By far the best apple pie I've ever tasted.

        1. re: ssharp

          I've taken to calling it long and elaborate names - "Homemade caramel lattice-crust apple pie" is one example, to discourage others from asking for the recipe. I want it to sound harder than it is. I was secretly pleased when an acquaintance made the pie but didn't do the lattice, she just tossed the apples with the caramel, and just "didn't think it was that special."

          I was all "Ha! beeeyotch, you failed!" Er, not that I'm like that or anything.

      2. re: shanagain

        So, totally intrigued by this pie (and because i make apple pies almost every week in the fall for a farmer at my farmer's market in exchange for lard) I made two of them this morning.

        The "caramel" stuff was so thick that pouring wasn't really accurate--it was more like spreading over the top of the pie. And, because i assumed that the caramel had to be thin to drip down through the lattice and flavor and thicken the apple, i didn't hold out high hopes. i figured i would have to chop the pies up and serve them as "cobbler" with ice cream.

        But you know what? the pies came out great!!!! My only complaint is that they needed a little counterpoint to the sweet apple flavor--maybe a little lemon zest or cinnamon. Also, i didn't add salt to the caramel (and i used unsalted butter) but next time i would add some salt.
        Is the caramel that you pour over supposed to be so sludge-like? or did i add too much flour? Mine came out looking nothing like the one pictured on the website.
        At any rate, right or wrong, i would make it again. It's a great recipe.

        1. re: missmasala

          Mine's never been sludgey, so I'm guessing a slight measurement problem, or maybe you just cooked it down too long? And as for pix on the website, remember that they're user submitted - some are pretty,. some are pretty interesting looking. LOL (I added a pic of mine in my original reply above.)

          Did you use Granny Smith apples? I've discovered they're absolutely critical to balance the sweetness of the caramel. Oh, but I do always use salted butter (yes, I know, but I LIKE it and have never had an issue, so).

          To me, the most difficult thing about this pie is letting it cool completely. That's pretty hard to do.

        2. re: shanagain

          So, I made the pie as a trial. We loved the filling but hated my pie crust (and here I thought Iwas doing everything right!).
          I want a more flaky crust and mine was more dense. Suggestions for a great crust.?

          1. re: itryalot

            The recipe below makes a very flaky pie crust. You mix the shortening, flour and salt ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. When you need it you measure an amount of crumbs, mix with ice cold water and roll immediately. The cold shortening plus cold water yield a flaky crust.

            Grandma’s Pie Crust Recipe

            6 cups all purpose flour
            2 tsp. salt
            2 and 1/3 cups shortening (she uses half regular Crisco, half butter flavored Crisco, with 0 trans fats)

            1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
            2. Cut in half of the shortening with a pastry blender, to make coarse crumbs. (They will NOT be uniform in size and shape, nor fine like coarse meal.)
            3. Cut in the remaining shortening. Place in airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. (Will keep up to 3 months no problem). You will get enough crust mixture for several pies.

            For a 9-inch Double Crust Apple Pie:
            1. Measure out 2 cups of the cold crumb mixture.
            2. Add 4 tablespoons of ice cold water. Stir gently and quickly.
            3. Dough should be soft and not dry. Add a little more flour if too wet, or a little more water if dry.
            4. Take half the dough, form a circle and roll out immediately on a floured board.

            For an 8 or 9-inch Single Crust Pie:
            Use 1 and 1/4 cups of the crumb mixture
            2 Tablesoons ice cold water

            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              Trish - That methodology sounds like it makes sense. A great way to keep everything cold. My new mantra...make it cold, bake it hot!

              1. re: itryalot

                I keep my pastry cloth wrapped around the rolling pin, in a plastic bag in the fridge.

        3. I'll probably be shunned from CH society for suggesting a recipe that calls for a pre-made pie crust (hey, I'm a cook, not a baker!), but this is truly a delicious pie. Not exactly what you are looking for, it's an Apple-Cranberry Crumb pie, but might fall under the apple crumble category...

          1. I use the filling recipe from Cooking Light's Blue Ribbon Apple Pie. Best ever. The Fine cooking Apple cider Pie is also good.


            1. I don't make my filling with an exact recipe, but have a couple of tips that make a big difference. First, make the pie dough using Cooks Illustrated technique (substituting vodka for about 1/2 the water). You can use more liquid without making a tough crust, so it's easier to work with.

              Also, I combine the apples, a bit of salt and a bit of lemon juice and the sugar (and cinnamon, if desired) in a 1 gallon ziploc bag (I actually use a 2 gallon bag, but I make a "pie" in a roasting pan -- it's huge). After an hour, it will leach out a lot of liquid. Strain into a sauce pan. Add thickener to the remaining apple mixture (I use tapioca, 1/2 ground, 1/2 whole), boil the sauce till reduced to a syrup.

              Meanwhile, lay out bottom crust in pan, then coat the bottom crust and sides with a very thin layer of melted white chocolate. This completely seals the crust. Your cooked pie will have a bottom crust that stays crisp for days (at least 4 days -- never been able to keep a pie around longer than that to test).

              Put bottom crust in the fridge for a few minutes so white chocolate firms up. Then add apple filling, pour in syrup, lay on top crust, brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar and bake.

              8 Replies
              1. re: sbp

                Would you mind sharing the CI technique/recipe? Wow, those are some well practiced techniques, sounds like.

                1. re: itryalot

                  You can find it here:

                  The site requires registration with your e-mail address, but it's free. On the same site is their skillet apple pie recipe, which I've been meaning to try. Contains maple syrup and apple cider and is juicy, apparently.

                  1. re: DebL

                    Can't get it because my email was registered and expired. I would love the recipe though. Anywhere else it is found?

                    1. re: itryalot

                      1-1/2 c AP flour
                      1 tsp salt
                      2 tbs sugar
                      12 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
                      1/2 c cold Crisco or other vegetable shortening, cut in 4 pieces
                      1 c AP flour
                      1/4 c cold vodka
                      1/4 c cold water

                      In a food processor, process first amount of flour with salt and sugar until combined, then add butter and shortening and PROCESS, not pulse, until a pasty dough is formed. Scrape the bowl to redistribute the dough. Add the second amount of flour and PULSE about 6 times to distribute the flour evenly and break up the dough somewhat. It will still look weird.

                      Put the dough into a bowl, then pour the vodka and water over it, and fold it in, pressing it together. The dough will look too wet, and you will think you have made a dreadful mistake. That's the way it's supposed to look. Divide in two and wrap in plastic. Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes, up to 2 days, or freeze.

                      Remove from fridge and roll out with lots of flour (1/4 cup, maybe). It will be smooth and elastic and easy to roll without cracking. It will also soften quickly, so work fast! Refrigerate the dough rounds again for about 20 minutes before placing in the pie pan. Bake as usual.

                      I can't detect any vodka flavor in the finished crust. It is a soft dough and doesn't hold edge crimping very well (they kind of slump in the heat of the oven). But the ease and reliability of this crust makes it worth making.

                2. re: sbp

                  Does CI explain how the vodka works in the dough? I know vodka can unleash flavor compounds that water can't and that's why it's sometimes used in sauces. But why in a pie crust?

                  Interested in how it works.

                  1. re: karykat

                    I didn't see the TV episode, but my guess is that vodka, unlike water, doesn't form gluten when mixed with flour. Gluten makes pie crust tough.

                    I wonder why CI doesn't use some fatty liquid like cream instead? Cream performs the dual function of moistening the dough and inhibiting gluten formation.

                    1. re: amy_wong

                      It's a simple matter of evaporation - the extra liquid makes the dough easier to handle, but since the alcohol evaporates the dough doesn't remain overly wet.
                      Vodka is the choice because it does not flavor the dough - if you wanted to use Amaretto, which would leave an almond taste, you could. You'd just have to do the math to adjust for different alcohol percentages in other booze.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Alton Brown uses the obvious choice for apple pie, applejack.

                3. This isn't a traditional apple pie that I am aware of, but one time I was putting together an apple pie, and decided to see how maple syrup would taste in the pie. So I tossed the apples in flour and cinnamon, placed in a pie shell, and sprinkled with maybe a third? quarter? of a cup each of raw sugar and real maple syrup, placed an upper crust on, and pressed some of the large-crystal sugar into the edges of the crust. Bake at 375 until done. It's now my go-to apple pie. You can adjust the sweetener amounts and spices according to your taste.