I’ve never been much into pie making. I love, love, love to eat pie, especially Apple pie warm with melting vanilla ice cream on top😍, but the number of times I have made a pie can be counted on one hand. I’ve been making an effort lately to remedy this lack of pie experience, and this is my first decorated pie… well…ever.
I’ve made one or two apple pies before with plain crusts, one pecan pie, and a pumpkin pie, but that’s about the limit of my experience in this field, so I decided to step up my game. Boy, did it pay off. This is a super simple, elegant pie with a buttery, flaky crust and a thick, stay-together, non-oozing filling that is perfect for pie beginners (and pie enthusiasts as well!). Not only does it come out of the pan nicely, and stay together well, but the process itself uses minimal tools and ingredients and only took me 30 minutes to assemble. Here’s a sneak peek at the inside of the pie:
I only had 4 apples on hand, so it’s slightly less filling than I would prefer. The recipe listed below will compensate by adding more apples and create a slightly thicker apple pie. I’m also a “use everything” kind of gal. I don’t like waste, and have a tendency to leave the skin on my apples. I’ve never cooked apples for pie, cobbler, or any warm dessert where I had an issue with the peels being stringy or not cooked, or even noticeable at all for that matter. It may be because I use apples that are specifically for pie, like Gala, Braeburn, and HoneyCrisp (my absolute fave!!) and I also cut the pieces into bite sizes so they are easier to serve/chew. The “shinier” kinds of apples with tougher skins, like Red Delicious or McIntosh, might have a tougher peel and would be more noticeable. Plus, with a 6 month old puppy running around these days, I don’t have a ton of time to sit around and peel apples! Here’s a close up of the crust:
I used leaf cutters that I had on hand from a Wilton gum paste flower kit, but any small shape cookie or pastry cutter would work. You could even get creative and use a shot glass and use circles, or a pizza slicer to cut leaf-like shapes! I prefer a more golden crust and also like to sugar mine with turbinado sugar so it gets a nice crunch that marries well with the soft filling. The crust I left a little bit thicker, roughly around 1/4 of an inch thick to stand up to the weight of the apples. I have a problem with pies that fall apart when you go to serve them 😏. For the crust, I used a food processor, so that the warmth from my hands didn’t melt any of the butter, and also to ensure the dough is not overworked. If you don’t have a food processor, use your hands, but mix minimally, use ice cold ingredients, and anytime you feel the butter is melting too much, pop it in the fridge or freezer for a few until it’s nice and chilled. The apples and the crust are not pre-cooked/pre-baked either – this is a super simple, throw everything into the pan kind of dish that I really enjoy. It’s great for those nights where you have surprise guests and need a quick homemade dessert to serve 😊. On to the recipe!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of very cold butter, diced (leave in the fridge until use)
- 1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening (put in fridge or freezer until ready for use)
- ~1/2 cup ice cold water
- 6-7 pie* apples (see Notes), cut into bite size pieces
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or milk if no cream available)
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt together a few times to mix.
- Add your butter and shortening to the food processor and use short pulses approximately 10 times until butter and shortening pieces are pea sized.
- With the machine running, slowly pour your ice cold water into the food processor feed tube just until the dough starts to form a ball. You likely will not use all of your water.
- Dump your ball of dough onto some plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Combine cut apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch in a bowl and mix well. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.
- **I found that a large plastic Tupperware container worked very well to shake all the ingredients together and store them in the fridge as well.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out one half of your pie crust to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Use your pie tin to judge when your crust is rolled out large enough to fill the pan then transfer to your pan. Press the pie crust into the corners/edges of the pan firmly and let it overhang the top edge slightly.
- Cut the pie crust to just outside the edges of the pan. Use your fingers or a fork to decorate the edges, or wait until your leaf design is done and fold the edges over like I did in the recipe picture. This helps keep the pie together when taken out of the pan.
- Add pie filling to the pan.
- Take half of the remaining pie crust and roll it out to the same thickness as the crust. Cut leaves and start layering in circles starting from the outside in to the center of the pie.
- Once you've reached the center you can leave the design as is, add a few small rolled "berries" and two extra leaves, or top with a dough flower of choice.
- In a small container mix your egg and cream or milk and lightly brush onto the crust.
- Sprinkle turbinado sugar onto the crust and place in the oven.
- Bake pie uncovered for 15 minutes, turn temperature down to 350 degrees and cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes, remove foil, and bake 10 more minutes until golden brown.
- Cool 5-10 minutes on the stovetop and serve with vanilla ice cream, or let cool completely and enjoy!
- *Pie apples, preferred variety - Braeburn, HoneyCrisp, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala
- Add raisins (or craisins!) to the apple filling for an extra sweet surprise!