Few things evoke the comforting warmth of hearth and home quite like the aroma of a freshly baked apple pie wafting through the air. A family favourite this classic dessert combines the tartness of green apples with the sweetness of sugar, complemented by the earthy warmth of cinnamon and the subtle essence of vanilla. Nestled within a golden, flaky crust and crowned with a lattice of pastry, the apple pie is both a treat for the eyes and the palate. Whether it’s served at a family gathering, a festive occasion, or simply as an indulgent treat on a quiet evening, apple pie remains a testament to the simple pleasures of life.
In the recipe that follows, we bring together a step-by-step guide to crafting this delicious pie. By starting with a perfectly crumbly crust, filling it with a luscious mixture of green apples and aromatic seasonings, and finishing with a glimmering egg wash, this pie will surely delight anyone who tastes it. So, roll up your sleeves, preheat your oven, and let’s embark on this culinary adventure to create the perfect apple pie.
Basic Ingredients for Apple Pie
Green Apples: Tart and firm, they hold their shape well during baking and offer a delightful contrast to the sweet filling.
Corn Starch: Acts as a thickening agent, preventing the filling from becoming too runny and ensuring a set texture once baked.
Vanilla Essence: Adds a layer of aromatic flavour that complements the apples.
Lemon Juice: Preserves the colour of the apples and adds a touch of brightness to the flavour profile.
Cinnamon Powder: Gives the pie a warm and spicy note, a classic pairing with apples.
Unsalted Butter: Provides the pie crust with its rich flavor and flaky texture. Butter layers in the dough create pockets that evaporate as steam during baking, resulting in a flaky crust.
Shortening: Also contributes to the flaky texture of the pie crust. Unlike butter, which has a distinct flavour, shortening is neutral and ensures the crust remains tender.
Flour: The foundation of your pie crust, it gives structure and body to the dough.
Salt: Enhances the flavours of the ingredients and contrasts the sweetness of the pie.
Sugar: In the crust, it adds a touch of sweetness, and in the filling, it brings out the natural sweetness of the apples.
Ice Water: Helps bind the pie dough without activating too much gluten, which would make the crust tough.
Egg: Provides a golden sheen to the baked pie crust.
Demerara Sugar: A coarse sugar that gives the pie a crunchy topping and an extra layer of sweetness.
Butter: Can be replaced with margarine for a dairy-free option.
Shortening: Coconut oil or lard can be used as substitutes.
Flour: For a gluten-free option, almond flour or a gluten-free flour mix can be used.
Sugar: Honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar are natural alternatives.
Green Apples: Other apple varieties or fruits like pears or peaches can be experimented with.
Corn Starch: Tapioca starch or arrowroot powder can be used as thickening agents.
Preparation Tips for Apple Pie
- Cold Butter and Shortening: Always make sure to sure cold butter to ensure that it stays in lumps when mixing the dough
- Chilling the Dough: Always work with cold dough. This ensures the butter doesn’t melt prematurely, resulting in a flaky crust.
- Rolling the Dough: Use a lightly floured surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking.
- Apple Slices: Ensure consistent thickness for even cooking.
Serving Tips for Apple Pie
- Temperature: Serve the pie warm to enhance its flavours.
- Accompaniments: A scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream elevates the pie experience.
- Slicing: Use a sharp knife or pie server to get clean slices.
Cooling: Let the pie cool completely before storing.
Refrigerating: Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cover the pie with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Freezing: You can freeze an unbaked pie and bake it fresh or freeze a baked pie. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. Store for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, bake the unbaked pie directly from the freezer (adding additional baking time), or thaw a baked pie in the refrigerator and then warm in the oven.
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup shortening
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup ice water
Apple Pie Filling
- 800 g green apples
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ cup demerara sugar
- Prepare the Crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse to mix. Add the cold butter and pulse 6–8 times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to clump together.
- Chill the Dough: Divide the dough into two equal portions and gently shape each into a disk without over-kneading. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or ideally overnight.
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- Form the Crust: Take one chilled dough disk and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 12–13-inch round, about 1⁄8 inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, pressing it down to line the bottom and sides of the tin. Trim any excess dough.
- Prepare the Filling: In a large bowl, combine the sliced green apples, granulated sugar, cornstarch, vanilla essence, lemon juice, and ground cinnamon. Toss to coat. Pour the filling evenly into the pie dish.
- Create the Top Crust: Remove the second chilled dough disk from the refrigerator and roll it into a 12-inch diameter circle. Cut 10 1.5-inch-wide strips using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter.
- Assemble and Bake: Weave the strips over and under each other on top of the filling, pressing the edges into the bottom crust to seal. Trim any excess dough.
- Prepare the Egg wash: In a small bowl, prepare the egg wash by whisking together one egg with a tablespoon of water. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle it with demerara sugar.
- Baking: Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 180°C and continue baking for another 45 minutes. In the last 15 minutes of baking, cover the edges of the pie pan with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
- Serve: Allow the pie to cool for at least 2 hours before serving, but for the best results, let it chill overnight. Enjoy your delicious homemade apple pie!