We’re baking apple pies this week because we love apples, and it’s a great way to use what we have on hand from apple picking at the orchard. Over the years, I have tweaked my apple pie recipe because I wanted a filling that, in my opinion, had more of the flavor I was looking for when I imagine my ideal apple pie. I have two crusts I can use for this recipe, one is more focused on a flakey and buttery crust, and the other is my apple pie with all-butter crust recipe, which does not use shortening. This post will focus on the former and my apple pie filling. However, while the crust is important, I think the filling is the best part! This apple pie has a flakey crust and a deep, apple-flavored filling.
About the Apples
I like to use a mix of apples for the filling in my pies, specifically Stayman-Winesap apples from the orchard. The Stayman-Winesap apple is a juicy, tart, and delicious apple that is perfect for desserts. This is one of my favorite apples. It has a gorgeous, deep cranberry color and has a memorable flavor. It’s beautiful and everything you could want from an orchard apple. For these recipes, I used three Stayman-Winesap apples, two Granny Smith apples, and one Honeycrisp apple for additional sweetness, but you can use whichever apple variety you like best!
Before I share the recipe, I would like to take a moment to talk about some of my reasons behind the choices I have made in my apple pie recipe. Some apple pie recipes suggest lemon zest in the filling. While I do think this adds a nice, bright flavor to the filling, I feel that a bite of zest can easily overpower the other flavors in the pie. I like to use 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice so the lemon flavor enhances the filling but does not overshadow the apples.
I chose the lattice top for my pie because I like the look of the lattice, and I wanted to be sure there would be no air pockets under my top crust as the apples cooked down. The boiled cider adds flavor; however, if you do not have access to boiled cider you may omit this from the filling and your pie will still be delicious. Just make the filling as instructed without it. Additionally, your butter and buttermilk should stay refrigerated right up until you add it to your pie dough, it needs to be cold when you mix the dough. I added a bit of cornstarch because I didn’t want a lot of excess liquid in the finished pie. Finally, letting the pie cool completely will help to ensure you can cut beautiful slices of pie for yourself and for your friends and family.
Prep time: 3 hours
Bake time: 1 hour
Total time: 8 hours
- Mixing bowls
- Pastry blender
- Glass measuring cup
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- 9.5-inch baking dish
- Silicone brush
- Cooking sheet
- Wire cooling rack
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt (table salt)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (small cubes)
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- Mix the flour and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and cold butter until the dough comes together in small, pea-sized pieces.
- Using the pastry blender, slowly mix in cold buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour absorbs the buttermilk and starts to stick together in larger pieces.
- In the bowl, use your hands to form the dough together, into one ball, by kneading it a few times (sparingly). Divide in half and shape each half into a small, thick, round disc. Wrap both separately with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 1-24 hours to chill.
- 1 recipe for two-crust pie dough (homemade, see above, or store-bought dough)
- 6 large apples (cored, peeled, and sliced)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (approximately the juice squeezed from one lemon)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (table salt)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup boiled cider (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (8 small cubes)
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Heat oven to 425 F. Remove one, previously prepared pie dough disc from the refrigerator and roll out (approximately 1/4 inch thickness) to 13 inches in diameter. Gently place the pie dough in your baking dish and use your fingers to delicately form the dough to the inside of the dish.
- Mix the apples and the lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate, small mixing bowl, mix sugar, salt, spice, flour, and cornstarch. Stir your spice and sugar mixture into the apples. Add the boiled cider and vanilla to the apples and mix to combine.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop apple mixture into your dough-lined pie dish and stack apples as close together as possible to minimize any gaps in the filling. Discard the remaining juice from the apples. Add butter on top of the apples.
- Remove your second crust from the refrigerator. Roll out your second crust (approximately 1/4 inch thickness) to 13 inches in diameter for the top of your pie. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips and construct your lattice for the top crust. Seal and decorate the edge as desired.
- Whisk together 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon of milk and brush onto the top crust of your pie. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar onto the top crust.
- Using foil, form a tent to protect the edge of your pie while baking. Set the foil aside for later.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 F and bake for 40 minutes or until the filling bubbles. Please note: Cover the pie crust with the foil tent after 30 minutes of baking to prevent the crust from burning.
- Cool on a wire rack for at least 4-5 hours before serving.
(Recipe inspired by Betty Crocker Buttermilk Pastry and Apple Pie recipes.)
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