A classic Apple Pie made with homemade pie crust and an easy homemade apple pie filling is a must this holiday season. Each bite is filled with sweet delicious apples spiced with apple pie spice and flaky pie crust. The decorative crust on this apple pie recipe makes it the star of the dessert table.
One of my favorite desserts to make every holiday season is pie. Whether it’s apple pie, or pumpkin pie, we always have pies at our holiday gathering. I started with Alton Brown’s Super Apple Pie recipe and over the years it has evolved quite a bit. I have to say this current version that I’m sharing with you today is the best apple pie recipe, and the only one you’ll need this holiday season.
Tips for The Best Apple Pie
1. The original recipe used applejack in the pie crust. Alcohol is supposed to prevent gluten formation and makes the crust flakier. I actually kept a bottle of applejack just for this purpose but I don’t actually drink it. So in order to make this recipe more universal, I’ve changed it to use my go-to all-butter pie crust instead. If you want to use applejack in the recipe, just substitute water with applejack instead. Note that the crust will have a different taste when applejack is used.
2. Another ingredient that I used to add to the apple pie filling but is difficult to find nowadays is apple jelly. Apple jelly acts as a pie filling thickener. I find that tapioca flour is enough to thicken the apple pie filling since apples are already high in natural pectin. So now I’m leaving this off the list.
3. I love cardamom, and for years, have only made this pie with a small amount of cardamom. However, this apple pie spice mix changed the game. It’s still got cardamom in it, but the taste now matches that of a classic apple pie recipe.
4. Using a mix of apples will yield the best apple pie filling because it gives you sweet and tart, crispy and juicy all together.
How to Make Apple Pie
The top crust for this pie is quite special. It is made with maple leaf pie crust cut out, about 55 or so of them. It may look intimidating, but believe me it’s no more difficult than a typical double crust apple pie. It takes some patience to cut out enough leaves for the top crust, but I personally find it therapeutic. However, you could always skip the leaves, and roll the top crust out into a circle instead.
As for this easy apple pie filling, there is nothing special you need to do. Just cut up the apples, mix it with the rest of the ingredients and it’s ready to be added to your pie dish. I like to arrange the slices in concentric circle for the neater look when cut, but feel free to dump and bake.
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 center piece at your holiday gathering.
More Beautifully Decorated Pies
- Pumpkin Pie with Decorative Crust
- Strawberry Rose Tart
- Blueberry Lemon Hand Pies
- Decorated Strawberry Compote Hand Pies
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
This recipe was originally published on 2/22/2015. The recipe has been updated to reflect how I make it today including all the changes I’ve made to the original recipe. The photos have also been updated.
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 rounded tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 oz unsalted butter – cold and cubed
- 3 tablespoon cold water
- 3 1/2 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
- 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
- 3 tablespoon tapioca flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
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 food processor and pulse several times to mix. Add cubed cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and butter is about pea size. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until dough starts to pull together.
Dump the dough out onto a slightly flour board, gather together and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for an hour.
Repeat the above two steps for the second pie crust.
When the pie dough is ready, take one disk out of the fridge and roll into a circle about 2” larger than your pie dish. Use extra flour to keep 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 some of the excess dough if necessary to create an even edge, but leave enough to fold under and flute the edge.
Cover the pie dish with plastic wrap and store in the freezer.
Take out the second disk of pie dough and roll out to thickness between 1/8” and 1/4”. Use a maple leaf pie crust stamp and cut out as many leaves as you can. Reshape the scraps and continue to cut out leaves. This recipe requires about 55-60 leaves. Place leaves on a parchment line baking sheet and freeze until needed.
Wash and peel the apples, cut into 1/4” 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.
Move the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
In two small bowl, separate the egg white and egg yolk. Take the pie dish out of the 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 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.
Apple cider can be substituted with apple juice. Lime juice can be substituted with lemon juice. Raw cane sugar can be substituted with regular granulated sugar in the same ratio.
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