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How to Make a Picture-Perfect Apple Pie

Apple Pie 2

It’s that time of year again: you get to go home and visit with family while they ask you when you’re going to stop brunching and finally find a man and settle down. Or perhaps you’re meeting your significant other’s family for the first time and need something to really wow them. Here at Bitches Who Brunch, we feel that nothing says, “I’m a grown woman and I have my shit together,” better than a home-baked dessert. No one can say no to a classic apple pie, and my mom was gracious enough to allow me to share her recipe with the world.

The secret behind a great apple pie is getting the right balance of sweet and tart. To do this, I use two types of apples: Fuji and granny smith. Fuji apples are great for baking; they’re sweet but also hold up in the oven (there’s nothing worse than mushy apples in your pie). Granny smith apples are crisp and tart, so I make sure to add a couple of these to tone down the sweetness. I also added some cranberries for tartness and to add a little color!

Prep time: 1.5 hours

Baking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

Pie crust:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 10 tablespoon very cold, unsalted butter
  • 6 to 10 tablespoon ice water

Pie filling:

  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 4 to 6 Fuji apples
  • 1 cup chopped cranberries
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon butter

Directions:

  1. Start with the pie crust. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add the shortening, working it in until the mixture is evenly crumbly.
  2. Cut the butter into small (about ½ inch) cubes and add to the mixture, working it in with your fingers or a pastry cutter. You want the mixture to be uneven so don’t worry about leaving larger chunks of butter among smaller ones, you want that!
  3. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of water over the mixture and toss gently to combine. Continue to add water to make a chunky, fairly cohesive mixture. It should hold together when you gather up and squeeze in your hand. 
  4. Divide the dough into two pieces and form into discs, making sure one is larger than the other (the larger piece will be for the bottom of the pie). Wrap the crusts in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. On to the filling! Peel and slice the apples and place into a large bowl with the cranberries. Make sure the slices are relatively the same size so they all bake the same.
  6. Combine with sugar, spices, lemon juice, vanilla, and flour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Once your crusts have chilled enough, place the larger disc on a floured surface. To make a standard 9 inch pie, you will need to roll the pastry into a 12 inch to 13 inch round. Move the crust around on the surface every once in a while to make sure it isn’t sticking.
  9. Lightly grease a pie pan and transfer the pie crust to the pan. This is easiest to do if you fold the pie crust in quarters and unfold it in the pan.
  10. Fold the edge of the pie crust under itself and crimp as desired. It’s nice to make a tall crimp to allow more pie filling!
  11. Pour half of the pie filling into the pan. Place small cubes of butter among the apple mixture, then add the remaining pie filling.
  12. Roll out the second pastry disc. Here you have some liberties – you can either cover the entire pie with the rolled out top crust (adding slits or holes to let the moisture escape), or cut the crust into strips to do some lattice work. I went the lattice route and I’m super happy this was a practice pie because my lattice skills need a little work. Make sure to crimp the edges (of the lattices or top crust) into the lower crust to seal the pie.
  13. For a more golden crust, brush milk or egg white onto the top of the pie and sprinkle on some coarse ground sugar.
  14. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes. Check part way through to make sure the crust isn’t browning too quickly (if it is, place aluminum foil over the top of the pie).
  15. Apples should be soft when baking is complete!

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Tip:

If dealing with the top crust just isn’t your thing, you can always make a crumb top with the ingredients and directions below.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients except butter.
  2. Cut in the butter to create a crumbly mixture using your fingers or a pastry cutter.
  3. Pour on top of the pie, making sure to cover all of the apples
  4. Bake pie as instructed above!

Katlin Gnojek

Chicago Food Editor

A management consultant from 9 to 5, Katlin loves marketing, Champagne, and a killer pair of shoes. When she is not working, you can find her unwinding over brunch, at a BodyPump class, or baking to her heart's content at home. Katlin will never turn down a chocolate croissant.

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