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What Is Apple Pie?
Apple pie is a dessert featuring a traditional tart or pie crust surrounding an apple mixture. It is often served with whipped cream, ice cream (known as à la mode), 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 baking without dissolving into a mushy, applesauce-like consistency. These include:
- Granny Smith apples
- Honeycrisp apples
- Cripps Pink apples
- Pink Lady apples
- Braeburn apples
- Pink Pearl apples (the fuschia-hued flesh of these apples makes for a particularly stunning visual when baked into a pie!)
5 Tips for the Best Apple Pie Crust
The difference between an amazing homemade pie and a mediocre one often comes down to a great pie crust recipe. Here are some tips and techniques to ensure you end up with the perfect apple pie crust.
- Blind-bake the crust. Nothing is sadder than cutting into a gorgeously golden, crackling pie top and encountering a soft, soggy bottom crust. To prevent sogginess in a pie with 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), then bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Remove the weights and allow to cool to room temperature before adding the filling.
- Use egg wash. Brushing the top of your pie with egg wash will help to seal the edges of your pie dough, and give the pie that signature glossy finish. Find our recipe for egg wash here.
- Don’t over-knead. Instrumental to a melt-in-your-mouth apple pie crust are the layers of butter worked into the flour. To get the perfect texture, knead the dough just until it comes together—too much kneading will melt and disperse the butter, making for a dense, dry, bready dough.
- Chill the dough before rolling out and baking. Chilling the pie dough after a quick knead allows time for the built-up gluten to settle, making for easier rolling and shaping. It also prevents water from butter from interacting with the flour too soon, maintaining the airy, flaky pockets in the final product.
- 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 support it, the crumb can be too brittle and crumbly, causing it to sink and cave into the apple filling.
The Best and Easiest Apple Pie Recipe
Makesone 9-inch pie
Prep Time2 hr 30 min
Total Time3 hr 30 min
Cook Time1 hr
For the Crust:
- 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.
For the Crumble:
- 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)
For the Filling:
- 4-6 medium-sized apples (Granny Smith or to preference)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup sugar
- Prepare the apple pie filling. Peel the apples, discard the cores, and cut into slices about 1 inch thick. Place apple slices in a bowl and add cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice. Toss to combine.
- Mix the apple pie crust. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. 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).
- Knead the crust. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, and add the ice water and vinegar. 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. Divide, and form into two shaggy discs, about 1-inch thick. Wrap pie dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Form and blind-bake the bottom crust. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove one disc of dough from refrigerator 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. Allow to cool.
- Add the filling and top crust. Roll out the second disc of dough. When the blind-baked crust has cooled, add the filling, and top with second crust. Crimp edges together 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.
- Bake apple pie. Bake pie 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.)
- Allow to cool. 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!
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