Culinary Arts

Homemade Apple Pie: Easy Recipe and How to Make a Perfect Crust

Written by MasterClass

Feb 21, 2019 • 3 min read

Soft and tangy spiced apples. Flaky, buttery, golden-brown crust. Homemade apple pie is as classic and timeless as they come, making it a favorite comforting dessert.

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What Is Apple Pie?

Apple pie is a dessert featuring a traditional tart or pie crust and apple mixture. It is often served with whipped cream, ice cream, or in certain regions, cheddar cheese. It often features a decorative lattice top crust, but can also be made with a crumble topping.

What Are the Best Apples for Making Apple Pie?

The best apples for apple pie have a tart sweetness that’s bright enough to shine through the richness of good pie crust, with a firm texture that can stand up to a bake without dissolving into a mushy, applesauce-like consistency. These include:

  • Granny Smith apples
  • Honeycrisps
  • Cripps Pink
  • Pink Lady
  • Braeburns
  • Pink Pearl (the fuschia-hued flesh of these apples makes for a particularly stunning visual when baked into a pie!)

Tips for Making the Perfect Apple Pie

Apple pie crust

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  • Blind-bake the crust. Nothing is sadder than cutting into a gorgeously golden, crackling pie top and finding a raw bottom crust. To prevent sogginess in a pie that features a sealed top crust, it’s best to strengthen the bottom crust with a blind-bake before adding the filling. To blind bake, fit one layer of dough into the bottom of a pie dish. Cover with parchment paper and either pie weights or dried beans or rice (this will allow it to keep its shape), and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Remove the weights and let cool to room temperature before adding the filling.
  • Use egg wash. Egg wash will help to seal the edges of your dough, and give the pie that signature glossy finish. Find our recipe for egg wash here.

How to Make the Best Apple Pie Crust

  • Don’t over-knead. The key to a melt-in-your-mouth crust is the shaggy layers of butter worked into the flour. Knead the dough just until it comes together—too much kneading will melt and disperse the butter too much, making for a dense, dry bready dough.
  • Chill the dough before rolling out and baking. Chilling the dough after a quick knead allows time for the built-up gluten to settle, making for easier rolling and shaping. It also prevents water content from butter from interacting with the flour too soon—the airy, flaky pockets are thanks to bits of fat throughout the dough.
  • Melt the butter for a better crumb. Incorporating melted butter to the topping results in a dense crumb that’s closer to a shortbread. Without a custard-style filling to adhere to and sit nicely atop of, the crumb can be too brittle and crumbly when it comes to a substantial loose filling like apple (meaning it’ll sink right in).
A sugary, flaky apple pie

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The Best and Easiest Apple Pie Recipe

Ingredient Checklist

Total Time 3 hr 10 min | Cook Time 40 min | Prep Time 2 hr 30 min | Serving 1 slice , Serves 1 9-inch pie

It might be the ultimate diner staple, but homemade apple pie is one of life’s greatest pleasures; here’s a basic recipe to form the flaky cornerstone of your culinary repertoire. After you get comfortable, experiment with different spices (think cardamom!), complementary ingredients like pear, cranberry, or dates, or throw in toasted nuts for a bit of added texture.

Total time: 3-4 hours (includes dough resting)
Makes one 9-inch pie

Crust ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • Demerara sugar, for topping (optional)

*To make an apple crumble, cut the above dough recipe in half (or save the second disc for later) and follow recipe as is, using the crumble in place of the top crust. There’s no need for an egg wash.

Crumble ingredients:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup steel-cut oatmeal (optional)

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and oatmeal if using in a medium bowl. Add butter and process until crumbles form. Top apple filling, and bake until bottom crust is golden brown and crumble has melted and caramelized, 30-40 minutes.

Filling ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium-sized apples (Granny Smith or to preference)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F.

For apple pie filling:

  1. Peel the apples, discard the cores, and cut into slices about 1 inch thick.
  2. Place apple slices in a bowl and add cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice.
  3. Toss to combine.

For apple pie crust:

  1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter, and work it between your fingers until there are no large pieces left (dough should just hold together when pressed in a handful).
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, and add the ice water and vinegar.
  4. Comb through the dough with your fingers until well-combined, then begin to knead the dough. Only do this a few minutes; dough will not look smooth or stretchy.
  5. Divide, and form into two shaggy discs, about 1-inch thick.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least two hours.

To bake apple pie:

  1. Remove one disc of dough, and roll out to fit a 9-inch pie plate or pie pan. Fit the dough into the bottom of the dish, and blind-bake until beginning to brown. Meanwhile roll out the second disc of dough. When the blind-baked crust has cooled, add the filling, and top with second crust.
  2. Crimp edges together, either with your fingers or the tines of a fork, and seal with egg wash. Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam from the filling to escape, and brush lightly with egg wash. Top with a sprinkle of Demerara sugar if desired.
  3. Bake 40 minutes, or until crust is a deep, burnished golden brown, rotating once halfway through. (If edges begin to burn before the rest of the pie is ready, simply cover with bits of aluminum foil.)
  4. Remove from oven, and let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, or for an extra decadent treat, serve with both!