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Homemade Apple Pie

by Ben Au on March 25, 2020

WHAT ARE THE BEST APPLES FOR APPLE PIE?

It’s best to use a mix of different types of apples in your pie. Some apple varieties cook up faster than others. Some cook up firm, some more soft; some apples are more tart, some more sweet.

By combining them, you’ll get a more complex, deeper flavor. Look for a combination of tart and sweet apples, and a combination of apples that cook up firm and soft. That said, some apples are better for cooking into a pie than others. I like to use:

  • Granny Smith – Green and tart, Granny Smith apples have wonderful flavor, but they they often lose their shape and turn mushy when cooked. So use no more than 2 Grannies in your pie, and combine with other varieties.
  • Jonagold – A cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan, Jonagolds have a lovely aromatic flavor, they’re both sweet and sharp, and they hold their shape with baking.
  • Fuji – Crisp, firm, juicy, balance of sweet and tart, holds its shape in baking
  • Golden Delicious – Yellow and sweet, holds it shape after baking
  • Braeburn – Sweet and crisp, bakes up firm and juicy
  • Cortland – Juicy and tart, relatively soft, great all purpose apple for baking
  • Honey Crisp – Honey sweet and tart flavor, crisp and juicy, holds shape in baking
  • Avoid Red Delicious apples for pies, they don’t cook well.

MAKE THE CRUST AHEAD

To make apple pie, start with the crust. If you are making a homemade crust, you can make the dough a day or two ahead, and keep the dough disks chilled in the refrigerator. The dough recipe I’m recommending for this apple pie uses sour cream along with butter, and is especially delicious, flaky, and easy to make. If you would like to make an all-butter crust instead, see our All Butter Crust.

If using a store bought frozen crust, follow the directions on the crust package for working with the crust. (See our Review of the Best and Worst Store-Bought Pie Crusts.)

HOW TO MAKE THE APPLE PIE

Peel, core and cut the apples, and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to keep from browning. Toss them with a little flour, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and vanilla, and let the filling sit while you roll out the pie crusts.

Remove the dough disks from the refrigerator and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling one of the disks out to 12-inch circles, about 1/8″-inch thick.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and line with the rolled out dough. Trim the edges to a half-inch from the sides of the pie pan. Scoop the apples into the pie plate and create a mound in the center. Don’t worry if the apples are high in the pan, they’ll shrink as they cook.

Roll out the second pie dough disk. If you want to make a lattice pie, see our directions for making a lattice pie here. (It’s easy!) Otherwise, place the second round of rolled out pie dough over the apples, and tuck the edges of the top pie crust over and under the bottom pie crust edges. Crimp with your fingers to seal.

Score the top in several places to create vents for steam to escape (no need if using a lattice top).

HOW LONG TO BAKE APPLE PIE

To bake, place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch the drippings) in a 375°F oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to lightly brown, then lower the temp to 350°F and bake anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour or more longer.

The way you know that the apple pie is done is that the juices are noticeably bubbling. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can insert it into the center of the pie. A reading of 200°F is done.

At any point during the baking the top of the pie begins to brown too much, just tent it with aluminum foil. I usually tent the pie about halfway through the baking with foil.

Let the pie cool for an hour before cutting into it, and serve it plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

BEST TOPPINGS FOR APPLE PIE

There’s nothing better than a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, right? For something a little different, try cinnamon ice cream instead. You could also top it with homemade whipped cream or caramel sauce.

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