This classic Apple Pie, filled with an easy homemade apple pie filling and topped off with a gorgeous all butter maple leaf pie crust, is a show stopping dessert for the holiday season. Each bite is filled with sweet delicious apples, flavored with apple pie spice and flaky pie crust.
Are you an Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie person? I have a hard time choosing so we always have both pies at Thanksgiving. If you’re choosing apples today, you won’t regret it because this pie with its maple leaf crust will make you a pie hero.
I love the cozy holiday feeling this apple pie gives me whenever it’s baking in the oven, filling the house with scents of warm spices and butter. And the decorative crust is so beautiful, it will earn its place as the centerpiece at your next holiday gathering.
How to make apple pie filling
Making apple pie filling from scratch is easy as pie! If you can peel apples, you can make this filling with one eye closed. A couple notes on this filling:
➤ You do not have to precook the apples for this recipe.
➤ I like to use a mix of sweet and tart, crispy and juicy apples together for the best apple pie filling. (Image 1)
To make the pie filling:
- Peel, core and cut the apples into slices with the same thickness, about ¼”.
- Add apple slices to a large mixing bowl and toss with apple cider and lime juice.
- Mix the sugar, tapioca flour, salt and apple pie spice in a small bowl and add this to the apple mixture, toss to combine. (Image 2)
How to make apple pie crust
The top crust for this pie is quite special. It is made up of about 55 to 60 maple leaves, cut out using a pie crust stamp and frozen solid before using. It may look intimidating, but I promise you the level of difficulty is easy plus a dash of patience.
However, if you don’t have a pie crust stamp or would rather skip the leaves, simply roll the top crust out into a circle instead for a more traditional top crust. Or try a simpler top crust using star shape cutouts like this Mixed Berry Pie.
➤ See my post on How to make Pie Crust for step by step instructions of exactly how to make pie crust, not just 1 but 3 different ways.
How to assemble the pie for baking
- Once the bottom crust has been prepared and frozen, poke holes on the bottom and side with a fork and brush the inside of the bottom crust with egg white.
- Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles (Image 3) for the neater look when cut, or simple dump the pie filling in. Make sure to pour all the juices into the pie as well.
- Add frozen maple leaves to the top of the pie in concentric circles, overlapping each one just slightly to cover the filling. (Image 4)
- Brush the top lightly with egg wash, try to avoid the tips of the maple leaves. Make a crust shield with foil to cover the outer edges. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden.
- Make sure all the maple leaf decorations are frozen solid before you handle them so they don’t melt as you work.
- If the maple leaves become too soft while you’re working with them, freezing the assembled pie just before you bake it will help preserve the maple leaves shape when baked.
- Make sure to use a pie shield to cover the edges. If you notice corners of the leaves are starting to burn, tent the top of the pie with foil.
- Allow the pie to cool completely before slicing so the filling has time to gel together.
- Brushing the bottom of the pie crust with egg white before adding the filling will help create a protective layer and prevent the bottom crust from going soggy.
- Tapioca flour or cornstarch can be used to thicken the pie filling. Either is great because they don’t add any flavor to the filling but tapioca will give you a more clear gel once cooked.
How to serve apple pie
You know how some people eat apple pie with a slice of cheddar? The first time I’ve heard of this was on NCIS, that scene with Gibbs and Mike Frank in the diner. If you’re doubtful, I suggest going with a scoop of Mascarpone Ice Cream to ease yourself onto the cheesy pie train.
If you’re still doubtful, there are plenty of other ways to top off your delicious pie. Serve it warm or at room temperature with:
This pie can be left out at room temperature for up to 2 days, but beyond that, it is best to keep leftover refrigerated. It will last an additional 2 – 3 days in the refrigerator. Cover the pie slightly with plastic wrap.
Freezing your pie
You can freeze apple pie before or after baking. It will last up to 4 months. Cover it well with plastic wrap and foil or use a freezer bag.
If making ahead, you can freeze the entire pie before baking, don’t thaw and bake straight from frozen when ready. You may need to increase the baking time to completely cook through the frozen pie, just make sure the apple pieces are cooked through and the filling is bubbly.
If you’re freezing a baked pie, thaw at room temperature before serving. I would recommend reheating in the oven to warm the filling and crisp the crust back up.
More decorated pies
- Pumpkin Hand Pies
- Pear Cranberry Pie
- Apple Hand Pies
- Strawberry Tart
- Mini Blueberry Pies
- Strawberry Hand Pies
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (200 g)
- 2 rounded tablespoon granulated sugar (31 g)
- ¼ rounded teaspoon kosher salt (2 g)
- 5 ounce unsalted butter (cold & cubed, 142 g)
- 2 - 3 tablespoon cold water
Apple Pie Filling
- 3 ½ lbs of apples (2 small Granny Smith, 1 medium Red Delicious, 3 small Honeycrisp, 1 medium Fuji and 2 small Golden Delicious)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider (or apple juice)
- 2 teaspoon lime juice (or lemon juice)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (90 g)
- 3 tablespoon tapioca flour (or cornstarch, 22 g)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar (or turbinado sugar)
Make the pie crust
- Note that the ingredient list for the pie crust is for 1 crust. This apple pie recipe requires a bottom and a top crust. Double the ingredients but make the two crusts separately.
- Add flour, sugar and salt in a small mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Transfer flour mixture to a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Add cubed cold butter to the flour mixture, pulse several times until butter is about pea and bean size. Variations in size are okay.
- Turn the food processor to “on” position and drizzle cold water over the dough mixture through the water hole, as soon as the dough starts to pull together turn the food processor off. You may need to stop the food processor in between and get a spatula to mix up the flour at the bottom.
- Turn the dough out on the counter or cutting board, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Repeat for the second batch of pie dough.
- Take the first disk of pie dough out of the fridge and roll into a circle about 2” larger than your pie dish. Use extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter and roller.
- Carefully place the dough over the pie dish, lightly press the dough into the bottom and side of the pie dish, let the excess dough hang over the side.
- Trim the excess dough leaving just enough to fold under and create a fluted edge.
- Cover the pie dish with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated or in the freezer.
- Take out the second disk of pie dough, roll it out to between ⅛”-¼” and cut out shapes with a maple leaf pie stamp. Reshape the scraps and continue to cut out leaves until you have about 55-60 leaves. Place leaves on a parchment line baking sheet and freeze until needed.
Make apple pie filling
- Wash, peel and core the apples, cut into ¼” slices and add to a large bowl. Toss with apple cider and lime juice.
- In a small bowl, add sugar, tapioca flour, salt and apple pie spice. Mix with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Toss this with the apple slices.
Assembling apple pie for baking
- Move the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
- In two small bowls, separate the egg white and egg yolk. Take the pie dish out of the refrigerator or freezer and brush the bottom crust with egg white. The protein in egg white will prevent the crust from getting soggy when baked.
- Add the egg yolk back with the remaining egg white along with a tablespoon of water, beat to make egg wash.
- Add apple slices to the pie dish in concentric circles. When finished, pour any juice left over in the bowl over the apple slices into the pie dish.
- Take the frozen maple leaves out of the freezer and add them to the top of the pie in concentric circles, overlapping each one just slightly to cover the filling.
- Brush the leaves with egg wash, avoiding the tips and edges as best as you can, and sprinkle generously with raw sugar.
- Cover the outer edge of the crust with thin strips of foil to prevent the edges from burning. Bake for 55-60 minutes until filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
- After 30 minutes of baking, remove the edge shield made of foil strips. Check the top crust every 10 minutes during the last half hour to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it is getting too brown, tent the pie with foil loosely.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
- Make sure all the maple leaf decorations are frozen solid before you handle them so they don’t melt as you work. I
- f the maple leaves become too soft while you’re working with them, freezing the assembled pie just before you bake it will help preserve the maple leaves shape when baked.
This post was originally published on 2/22/2015. The post has been updated and republished on 11/5/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips, and process photos to help you in the kitchen.