There are few things I like better than a classic apple pie with a flaky, buttery crust and sweet spiced apples. This classic apple pie is simple and comforting, and it’s the perfect recipe to get your feet wet with pie making!
I have to start this post by saying that I am absolutely NOT an expert pie maker. I don’t often make pies, and every time I make one, I wonder, “why don’t I make these more often?!”
I come from a lot of AMAZING pie makers. Both of my grandmothers make the most delicious pies — my dad’s mom can churn the most delicious pies out like crazy, and she always has pie dough ready to go in the fridge around the holidays! My grandfather (my dad’s dad), though he would never admit it, made the best coconut cream pie around… it just took him about 5 pie crusts before he was satisfied — you’d always know he was baking a pie when you found discarded pie crusts scattered all over the kitchen counters — and even then, he’d never admit that it was a success. 😉
I have never made a perfect looking pie crust — today’s pie is the prettiest one I have ever made, by far — but as soon as you decide you don’t care about your pie being perfect, that’s when the real magic begins (even if my pap never believed that, haha!). I find the whole pie making process to be incredibly therapeutic, from peeling and chopping apples, to rolling out the dough and creating fun shapes with leftover trimmings of crust. I used to find the process stressful, but that’s when I expected a beautiful pie every time, even when I was first starting out. Now, I just turn on some tunes and get going… and that’s been when the true rustic beauty comes out! 🙂
My favorite thing about pie is the flaky, buttery crust. I used to be that person that pulled the top crust off the apple pie, ate all of the apples inside, then slowly savored every bite of the crust that remained after it was cleared it of its contents. Nowadays, I appreciate every bit of the pie all together, but it’s still my favorite to reach the end of the pie that is mostly crust and only a little bit of the juicy filling clinging to the edges. If you’re not into lots of pie crust, I’d recommend steering away from this classic apple pie recipe… although you could definitely divide the dough recipe in half and make a streusel topping, too!
This classic apple pie is all about showcasing simple ingredients — good butter, fresh apples, cinnamon, a hint of nutmeg… I decided to go with the best of what I had on hand for each ingredient to really bring it up another level. I used sprouted whole wheat flour from Thrive Market, Kerrygold butter (my favorite butter ever), fresh cinnamon and nutmeg from our travels to the spice island, Grenada, for our honeymoon, and a hint of vanilla bean paste.
I chose to use all Granny Smith apples this time around, as I like the tartness and the way they bake up, but I highly recommend using a combination of sweet and tart apples! Doing a blend of both gives it a nice balance of flavor and sweetness.
I kept the sugar content down by using Swerve Sweetener (which is erythritol, a sugar alcohol that won’t raise blood sugar levels) in place of regular sugar. I did not notice a difference at all in flavor, but regular sugar is fine, too!
I like using a food processor to make my pie dough — it makes it SUPER quick and easy, and you don’t have to worry as much about the ingredients warming up on you while you mix. Ice cold water and cold, cold butter is KEY to making a flaky pie crust! I also loved that I finally got to use my marble pastry board to roll it all out — another way to keep it nice and cool while rolling!
While my rolling skills are definitely better than they used to be, my pinching and crimping the sides of the pie skills could DEFINITELY use some work. I also will never be the person with enough patience to make perfect slices of pie after the pie has cooled so that the filling doesn’t ooze out into the pie pan. Those slices don’t have to be pretty, as long as they get in my belly ASAP! 😉
This pie is the perfect addition to your holiday table, but let’s be real…apple pie is definitely a year-round thing, especially here in the States! You do NOT need an excuse to make this pie. Get baking!
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used sprouted white whole wheat and it worked great!)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) + 6 Tbsp butter, cold, cut into tablespoon pieces
- 7 to 10 Tbsp ice water
- 8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (about 8-10 medium apples)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar (or Swerve Sweetener for lower sugar)
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or about 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste)
- 2 Tbsp butter, cut into small, pea sized pieces
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp water
- raw cane sugar, optional, to sprinkle
In the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour and salt together. Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, and pulse until crumbly.
Add the water, 2 tablespoons at a time, pulsing between each addition, until it begins to clump together. It's fine if there are a few dry spots -- you don't want it to be too damp.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, and shape it into two disks, making one the disks about twice as large as the other. Wrap both disks with plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour before rolling.
In a large bowl, combine the apple slices and lemon juice, stirring until coated evenly.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Add the sugar mixture to the apples, stirring to coat them evenly. Add the vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste), and stir until well mixed.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
Remove the larger disk of pie dough from the fridge, and roll out on a lightly floured surface to roughly a 13 inch circle. Place it into the prepared pie pan, and trim the edges so they hang over the pan by about 1 inch.
Pour the apples into the bottom crust, and evenly distribute the pea sized butter pieces over top the filling.
Remove the smaller disk of pie dough from the fridge, and roll it out into an 11 inch circle.
Carefully place the top crust over the apples, and then bring the overhanging bottom crust over the top crust, pinching to seal the edges. Make a decorative crimp if you would like. Cut small vent holes or prick in multiple places with a fork to allow steam to escape. Cut any shapes you would like with the trimmings of dough to decorate the top.
For the topping, beat the egg with 2 tbsp water, and brush the top crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the raw cane sugar, if using.
If the oven is still preheating, place the pie into the fridge to firm it up before baking.
Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet (to avoid any dripping into your oven if the juice bubbles out), and bake the pie at 425ºF for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375ºF, and bake for 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the edges are golden brown. Check the pie after 25 minutes, and cover the top with foil if the edges appear to be browning too quickly.
Remove the pie from the oven, and allow to cool completely before cooling (if you can manage waiting). Allowing the pie to cool completely prevents the filling from oozing out, as it thickens more as it cools.
Store leftovers, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for about 3 days, or in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!