Apple pie is a classic that’s welcome any time of the year. For a flaky crust that melts in your mouth, mix an all-butter crust and cut your favorite apples into wedges. Then, combine the apples with spices and brown sugar, roll out the dough, and lay it in the bottom of your pie plate. Spoon the spiced apples into the pie shell and lay the rest of the pastry dough over the fruit. To give your pie a beautiful golden crust, brush an egg wash across the pastry before baking it.
For the Pastry
- 1 2/3 cups (225 g) of all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) of sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) of kosher salt
- 1 cup (225 g) of unsalted butter, cold
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of cold water
For the Filling
- 1 cup (225 g) of packed brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (6.5 g) of ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) of grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) of ground cloves
- 4 1⁄4 pounds (1.9 kg) of tart apples
- 1/4 cup (25 g) of tapioca starch
For the Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of heavy or whipping cream
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 g) of kosher salt
- Makes 1 9-in (22 cm) pie
Making the Pastry Dough
Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt. Get out a medium bowl and put 1 2/3 cups (225 g) of all-purpose flour into it along with 1 tablespoon (15 g) of sugar and 1 teaspoon (4 g) of kosher salt. Whisk the dry ingredients for about 30 seconds so they’re combined.
Avoid using whole-wheat or bread flour for the dough since these will make the pastry too dense and tough.
Cut the butter into 1/2 in (1.3 cm) cubes and mix it into bowl. Cut 1 cup (225 g) of cold unsalted butter into cubes and put them in the bowl with the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to toss the butter and smash each cube until it’s flat.
You don’t need to cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients since it will incorporate when you roll and fold the dough.
Stir in 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of cold water to make a shaggy dough. Pour the cold water into the bowl and use your hands to mix the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be rough and shaggy instead of a smooth ball.
The dough should be cool or it will become sticky and difficult to handle. If you need to cool the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill it for a few minutes before you roll and fold it.
Roll the dough into a 10 x 15 in (25 x 38 cm) rectangle. Sprinkle a large work surface with flour and scoop the dough onto it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large, roughly shaped rectangle.
It’s important to have a well-floured surface or the dough will stick and make it difficult to handle.
Fold the rectangle twice to make a small, thick rectangle. Bring the narrow ends of the rectangle towards the center like you’re closing a book. Then fold them in half again so you’re left with a thick block of folded dough.
Folding the dough will create flaky layers within the pastry.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into 2 portions. You’ll roll out 1 portion for the bottom crust and 1 portion for the top crust.
Since you’ll be rolling the dough into a circle, it doesn’t matter what shape you cut the dough.
Mixing the Apple Filling
Shake the brown sugar, salt, and spices in a sealable plastic bag. Get out a 1 gallon (3.8 l) plastic bag and put 1 cup (225 g) of packed brown sugar into it. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons (6.5 g) of ground cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) of grated nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) of ground cloves. Seal the bag shut and shake it to mix the ingredients together.
If you’re short on time, substitute 3 1/2 teaspoons (8.5 g) of your favorite apple pie spice for the individual spices.
Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/2 in (1.3 cm) slices. Rinse 4 1⁄4 pounds (1.9 kg) of apples and peel them. Then remove the cores and set the apples on a cutting board. Cut each apple into equal sized wedges that are about 1/2 in (1.3 cm) wide.
Use your favorite type of apple such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Jonagold, or Pink Lady.
You should have about 11 heaping cups (1.9 kg)of cut apples.
Add the apples to the bag and shake them. Open the bag with the spices and brown sugar. Put the apple wedges in the bag and squeeze out as much as as you can before you seal the bag shut. Shake the bag well so the apples are coated with the brown sugar spice mixture.
Mixing the apples in the bag will prevent them from browning since they’re not exposed to air.
Let the apples rest in the bag at room temperature for 3 hours. The sugar and spices will draw moisture out of the apples as they sit. Turn the bag every once in a while to coat the apples in the syrup that will develop.
If you want to prepare the apples in advance, refrigerate the apples as they macerate for up to 8 hours.
Add the tapioca starch and shake the bag. Open the bag with the apple filling and add 1/4 cup (25 g) of tapioca starch. Seal the bag and shake it well so the tapioca starch mixes with the juice. The tapioca starch will thicken the filling as the pie cooks.
If you don’t have tapioca starch, substitute cornstarch (also called corn flour) or instant clearjel.
Assembling the Pie
Roll half of the dough into a 14 in (35.5 cm) circle and lay it in a pie dish. Sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and place half of the dough on it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large, thin circle that’s 14 in (35.5 cm) in diameter.
Turn the dough frequently as you roll to prevent it from sticking to your work surface. You may need to sprinkle more flour if the dough becomes sticky.
Lay the pastry in a 9 in (22 cm) pie plate and trim the edges of the dough. Press the dough down so it fits into the corners and sides of the pan. The dough will extend up and over the sides of the pie plate. Take a sharp paring knife and cut the edge of the dough so it hangs over by 1 in (2.5 cm).
Discard the scraps or roll them thinly (about 1/4 in or 6 mm) thick and dust them with cinnamon and sugar. Bake them at 350 °F (177 °C) until they crisp up and become golden brown.
Roll the remaining half of the dough into a 14 in (35.5 cm) circle. Sprinkle your work surface with a little more flour and roll out the remaining half of dough into another large circle. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and lay the pastry circle on it.
Avoid trimming the circle for the top of the pie before you assemble the pie.
Cover and chill the pastry for 2 hours. Cover the pastry in the pie plate with plastic wrap and cover the pastry on the baking sheet with plastic wrap. Transfer them to the refrigerator and chill them for 2 hours so the gluten in the dough relaxes.
If you’re in a rush and can’t chill the dough, you can skip the resting time. Keep in mind that the pastry may not be as tender though.
To make the pastry ahead of time, roll and chill it for up to 8 hours.
Spread the apple filling into the pastry-lined shell. Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Open the bag with the apple filling and pour it into the pastry in the pie pan. Use your hands or a spoon to arrange the apples so they’re evenly distributed and mound a little in the center.
Remember to pour the accumulated spiced liquid into the shell too since this will thicken the filling.
Lay the top pie crust over the filling and seal the edges. Remove the baking sheet with the circle of pie dough and take off the plastic wrap. Place the circle over the apple filling and then pinch the top crust to the bottom crust. Then take a sharp knife and trim the edge to 3/4 in (19 mm) thick. Fold the sealed edge under itself loosely crimp the edges.
If you prefer, press the tines of a fork around the edges to create a hatched look.
Baking the Apple Pie
Preheat the oven to 400 °F (204 °C) and chill the pie for 30 minutes. Turn on the oven and chill the pie while the oven is heating up. Refrigerate the pie until the pastry is firm and cold.
You can refrigerate the assembled pie for up to 1 hour.
Beat the egg, yolk, cream, and salt to make the egg wash. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl and add 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of heavy or whipping cream, and 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 g) of kosher salt. Whisk the mixture until it’s completely combined and pale yellow.
The egg wash will make the pie a rich, golden brown as it bakes.
Brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and cut 6 vents in the pastry. Remove the chilled pie from the refrigerator. Dip a pastry brush in the egg wash and brush it evenly over the top of the pie. Then use a sharp knife to cut 6 vents across the top of the pie.
Each vent should be about 3 in (7.5 cm) long so steam can escape from the filling as the pie bakes.
Set the pie on a baking sheet and bake it for 75 minutes. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set the pie on it. Put the pie on the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake it until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden brown.
The baking sheet will catch any drips if the filling bubbles up and over the pie as it’s baking.
Cool the pie for at least 1 hour before you serve it. Take the pie out of the oven and let it rest at room temperature so the filling sets up. Then slice the pie and serve it with whipped cream or ice cream.
To store leftover apple pie, cover it with aluminum foil and keep it at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also refrigerate it for up to 4 to 5 days