There is nothing more comforting than a slice of apple pie. I love chocolate and believe me I do love it, but there is something about apple pie that screams to be eaten and can beat a chocolate dessert on certain days. Buttery and flaky crust, a sweet tart apple filling, beautiful lattice work or even the simple kinds, with a scoop of ice cream or without, apple pie is comfort food; the perfect comforting dessert.
I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while now and I am glad I have managed to do it this year before thanksgiving. I have made this recipe so many times that I have lost count. Generally a recipe that I make this often lands up on the blog sooner than later. But with this pie it took a while to have it up on the blog. Somehow whenever I made it, I was never able to photograph it. It always got over before I got a chance to shoot it. But finally I did get to take pictures of the finished pie and here I am today sharing the recipe for my favorite apple pie on the blog.
The phrase as easy as pie did not make sense to me for a while. I struggled with pie crust for a fair amount of time. Initially I think I was overworking the dough, not getting it as flaky as I like. I stuck to butter, although if you want to go with elaborate decorations adding a little shortening is always a good idea. While shortening gives a flakier crust, it also is not as sensitive to temperature as butter is, making a shortening based crust easier to work with for cut outs, or for making that lattice on your pie. Such decorations are possible with butter too, but you need to make sure everything remains cold enough to work with, which if you have worked with butter laden dough should know can be a tough affair.
Besides overworking the dough, I have also had problems with adding too much water at times, and then too less, but now after many trial and errors have figured out how much water needs to be added to get a dough that is not too crumbly or wet to work with.
Once I got the pie dough to be flaky, I realized I was rolling it out too thick. Rolling the dough out too thick makes the pie crust overwhelming, and while the pie crust is a crucial part of the pie, it needs to be thin enough to enjoy the filling.
After several attempts and failures, I have finally got some success with pie dough. I have shared the recipe here, but I have learnt that with pie dough it’s never been about the recipe. You need to keep a few things in mind. For flaky crust, have your butter cold. I freeze mine, grate it and then freeze it. Add water by the tablespoon. Too less and you will have it too crumbly, too much and it’s not going to give you good results. The dough should just come together. In fact a little crumbly is fine and preferred, just not have it too dry, then rolling out will be difficult. Once the dough comes together, with your hands push it together and wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
I roll my dough between two parchment papers, thus eliminating the need to flour the surface and tamper with the flour water butter ratio. You could flour the surface and roll it out too.
And while a good, flaky, buttery pie crust is crucial to a pie, the pie will be nothing without the perfect filling, and this apple filling is my favorite. I have adapted the recipe from the Apple Pie recipe by Grandma Ople’s on allrecipes.com. With 7187 reviews and a 5 star rating and some 11k people having made it, you know you can’t be wrong about the recipe. I did make a few changes after reading the reviews. Added cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg to the filling, as well as changed the technique a bit. I also add a layer of crushed walnuts on the bottom, something my mom had told me about an apple pie she ate and loved.
Hope you get to try this recipe and let me know how it turns out. If you do try it, please leave a comment with your feedback or share a photo of the pie on social media. If you share on social media, do tag me on my Facebook account here or on my instagram here.
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 6-8 tbsp ice cold water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- dash cinnamon (optional)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- ½ cup toasted walnuts, crushed to tiny pieces
- Dice or grate the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.
- Place the flour, salt, cinnamon (optional) and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. You can also use a pastry cutter, if you do not have a food processor.
- With the machine running, pour the ice water and vanilla and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough in half.
- Roll each piece on a well-floured board or between two parchment papers into a circle. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust. If you want to make a lattice you could do it in advance and keep it in the fridge too. Keep rolled out dough in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer till a little thick. Remove from heat, and add the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Leave 2 tbsp of the syrup in the pan and pour the rest on the apples.
- Place the bottom crust in your pan and fill it with a layer of the crush walnuts and then fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Brush the top crust with the reserved syrup. Put your pie dish on a tray, so that it can catch any drippings that happen.
- Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft, and crust is golden.