Basic Apple Pie - Sweet and tart apples are finely sliced, tossed with some flour and vanilla bean paste, then nestled inside a super easy homemade pie crust and topped with a lattice and baked to perfection. This is the perfect fall pie, with a pie crust that is very quick and very easy to make - it is basically foolproof.
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Basic Apple Pie recipe
Hi hi! Just popping in to share this recipe for a 'basic' apple pie. There are a fair few fun and fancy apple pie recipes on Cloudy Kitchen but this is basic one that I go back to time and time again. It has an easy homemade pie crust recipe, and is filled with slices of fresh apple. It's basic, but a classic, and I just love it so much. There really is nothing better than a good homemade apple pie.
I made this when Nz Chef Josh Emett and his lovely wife Helen were in NYC, promoting Josh’s new book, ‘The Recipe’. It’s a collection of recipes from top chefs around the world - all the recipes look incredible, and the photography is so, so beautiful. Josh has some amazing restaurants back home in NZ, and does an incredible cooking segment on his IG stories, so we decided to join forces and make something together - an epic apple pie! My teeny NYC kitchen is a far cry from Josh’s insane kitchen back in Auckland, but we made it work!
Easy Homemade Pie Crust
I use a little tip that my baking bestie Erin Mcdowell taught me - to laminate my pie dough after making it but before rolling it out for use. What this does it pops a few layers within the pie dough. This makes it homogenous and easy to work with but also still nice and flaky. So you get the best of both worlds - flaky AF pie dough which is super easy to work with. Here's how you do this:
- Make your pie dough - For this recipe I make the dough then form it into a rectangle. Then I wrap tightly in plastic and chill for only an hour. This gives the butter time to chill down enough that it won't melt everywhere when you roll it out.
- Roll out and perform turn 1 - Roll the dough into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Then brush off any excess flour and perform a letter fold - where you fold it like a business letter.
- Perform turns 2 and 3 - Repeat the process again two more times. Your dough should be super homogenous at this point!
- Divide and shape - At this point I split the dough in two and shape each into a disc rather than roll out and laminate each piece individually. Works much better. If you're using it for a lattice top, shape into a rectangle. Starting with the shape you are wanting to achieve makes rolling out much easier! I like to divide the pie dough into ⅓ and ⅔ - shape the smaller one into a disc as it will be your bottom crust, and shape the top into a rectangle so it’s the right shape when it comes to cutting out lattices.
- Chill again - Either chill your dough for at least 2 hours or overnight, or freeze for another time.
The Best Apples to use for Apple Pie
I love to use a mixture of apples to make apple pie. We used three - Mutsu, Honeycrisp and another green variety. The variation in flavour and texture makes for a super delicious pie - go for something a little sweeter, and something a little more tart. If you’re in NZ, a mixture of Braeburn and Gala would be great. Braeburn hold their shape nicely in the oven and provide the tartness, and gala is more sweet.
You want to ‘shingle’ in the apples when you are adding them to the pie, in order to have as few gaps as possible. Apples cook down in the oven, so layering them tightly ensures that they bake evenly.
How to lattice an apple pie
It is no surprise that I am a touch extra when it comes to finishing pies. I love making a really beautiful, fancy lattice, and spending time making cut outs and things to add to the top. The quantity of dough in the recipe accounts for that - if you do not want to do a fancy topping and want to keep it simple, you can make a regular batch of dough such as the one in this recipe.
We used pie stamps to cut out the shapes for the edge of the pie - I have collected a whole bunch over the years - I have this set and this set of leaves, and then this set is where the flowers are from. I think I also have this set! I also love a plain lattice made with a pastry cutter and a ruler - you do you here and do whatever you like!
The importance of a good bake for a pie
Often people worry about getting a soggy bottom on their apple pie and lots of the time it is because the pie is not baked well enough. Pies, particularly double crusted pies such as this apple pie that does not have a par bake, require a really good bake to ensure that they are properly done.
Don't be afraid to bake this pie until it is deep golden brown. If you are worried about the crust looking too done, you can tent it with foil while the filling finishes off. You want to be able to see the filling bubbling through to know that it is done.
For more recipes with Apples, Check out:
- Apple Slab Pie
- Apple and Cardamom Pie with Cardamom and Vanilla Bean Crust
- Laminated Cinnamon Buns with Apple
- Apple Crumble
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Basic Apple Pie - Sweet and tart apples are finely sliced, tossed with some flour and vanilla bean paste, then nestled inside a super easy pie crust and topped with a lattice and baked to perfection. This is the perfect fall pie, with a pie crust that is very quick and very easy to make - it is basically foolproof.
- 540g All-purpose Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Tbsp (13g) sugar
- 345g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup (240ml) cold water
- 1 cup ice
- 60g (¼ cup) Apple cider vinegar
- 1.5kg apples, peeled and thinly sliced (yields about 1200g sliced apple)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 45g all-purpose flour
- 85g raw sugar (increase this to taste if needed)
- big pinch of salt
- Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
- Raw sugar to finish
- Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat.
- Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only large pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
- Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I usually start with about 180g liquid, mix that in, then go from there and add additional liquid as needed) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet.
- Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into a rectangle, Rest in the fridge for one hour.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle, fold it in thirds like a letter, then roll again and repeat the folding. Repeat this process one more time. Divide the dough into two pieces, one larger than the other. Shape the smaller one into a disc and the larger into a rectangle. Rewrap tightly in plastic, and rest for at least two hours, or preferably overnight, before using.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately ⅛ inch (3mm) in thickness. Line a 9" pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice.
- Roll out the second piece of dough (the rectangle) into a rough rectangle approximately ⅛ inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut strips for your lattice. If you would like to make a braid, roll a piece of pie dough into a long thin rectangle, cut thin strips, and braid.
- Place your strips and braids onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and store in the fridge until ready to use. Press together the scraps and re-roll, these are good for extra lattice strips or for using pie stamps to cut out for the border - freeze for 10 minutes or so before stamping out to help the stamps hold their shape.
- Place the sliced apples in a large bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, then add to the apples and toss well to combine. Transfer the filling to the lined pie dish a little at a time, packing the slices of apple in tightly, and mounding in the middle. Remember that it will bake down a little, so it is ok for the pie to seem a bit full.
- Arrange the strips of pie dough on the top of the pie, weaving into your desired lattice. If you are adding stamps, trim any overlapping pie dough and lattice strips so that they are flush with the edge of the pie dish, then glue on the stamps with a little egg wash. If you are crimping, trim the crust with a little overhang and then crimp as desired.
- Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425°f/ 220°c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Brush the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375°f / 190°c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, ideally with a scoop of ice cream.
- Store leftovers wrapped in foil at room temperature and re-warm slightly when serving.