Thursday, January 8, 2015

The easiest apple pie recipe

Does apple pie count as my "apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away"?

Fun fact about me: up until puberty, I actually HATED all things cinnamon which, yes, included cinnamon rolls, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. I know, I know, what was I thinking? Thankfully that's now a story I can look back on and laugh at.

My philosophy for good pie is simple: a flakey crust, simple ingredients, clean flavors, and structural integrity. Sure, your pink-himalayan-sea-salted-caramel-chedder-cranberry-seven-apple-pear pie sounds fancy and I'm sure it's quite good, but when I'm craving pie I just want good old baked apples, cinnamon, sugar, and buttery crust.

And yes, I'm on team all-butter crust.

I really think that apple pie is more about the subtle details rather than big-picture ingredients. I've played around with tweeks in the past and have found the following few points critical for a good pie:

  1. Use firm apples that hold their integrity after cooking. I prefer granny smiths but pink ladies are also a good choice.
  2. Be subtle with the flavorings. A dash of cinnamon, sugar, and salt are really all you need. Maybe some nutmeg (freshly ground of course) if you're really aching for something more. It's all about letting the apple's flavors shine through.
  3. Let the apple macerate for about 30 minutes and remove the excess juices. The worst thing about pie is having a soggy bottom crust. There will still be plenty of juices that cook out of the apples to keep it moist.
  4. Even though it doesn't look as impressive, don't pile on the apples. It's all about structural integrity. Having too thick of a layer of apples will throw off the crust-to-filling ratio and leave you will a soggy, maybe undercooked bottom crust.
Oh, and most important thing: serve apple pie a la mode. 

The following recipe has enough pie crust to make a top and bottom crust. I decided to forgo the top crust this time to make a floral design with my apples so I cut the crust recipe in half.

Apple pie with an all-butter crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie


  • 310 g flour
  • 15 g sugar
  • 5 g salt
  • 2 sticks butter cubed and very cold
  • ~200 mL ice water
  • 2 medium sized apples
  • 5-10 g cinnamon (depending on taste)
  • 30 g sugar
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 egg

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt
  2. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, being careful to not let the butter melt or soften too much. You may need to stick it in the freezer halfway through
  3. When the butter is about pea-sized, drizzle in ice water slowly and mix with a wooden spoon. Add just enough water to allow the dough to hold together. 
  4. Pour dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and press together to form a mound. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before use.
  1. Peel (if you wish), core, and slice the apples to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch slices. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine with cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and roll out the pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan.
  4. Drain the apple juices (but save them! You can reduce them to make a delicious glaze) and place the apples evenly into the prepared pan. If you are using a full top crust, make sure to cut some vents to allow steam to escape.
  5. Brush the top crust with an egg wash and sprinkle on some extra sugar if desired
  6. Bake at 425 for about 1 hour until filling is soft and crust golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.