How to Make Apple Pie
It doesn't get much more American than apple pie. Nothing beats a slice of fresh apple pie, especially when the crust is perfectly buttery and flaky and the filling is juicy and sweet. Many people are intimidated by the idea of making a pie from scratch, but learning how to make apple pie doesn't have to be daunting. This guide for How to Make Apple Pie will teach you everything you need to know about pie making. After you check out all of the tips and tricks for how to make apple pie, you can make your own Texas-Sized Apple Pie at home.
How to Make Apple Pie
Table of Contents
What You Need For the Dough:
- all-purpose flour
- very cold unsalted butter
- ice water
For the Filling:
- lemon zest
- lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- egg wash and coarse sugar
See our recipe for Texas-Sized Apple Pie for exact measurements and further instructions.
Note: The most important thing to keep in mind when making pie crust is to make sure that the butter is very, very cold. To make this pie dough, we used butter that was frozen, but you can use butter that has been kept in the refrigerator. Frozen butter will obviously stay colder longer but it requires a lot more elbow grease. For additional methods, see Other Tips and Tricks.
- Begin by combining the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. The bowl should be wide enough for your hands to get in and work the dough.
- To make the dough by hand, cut the very cold dough into cubes. Sprinkle the butter over the flour and then use a pastry blender or two knives to work the butter into the flour mixture.
- Resist the urge to over mix! The bigger chunks of butter, the better. Work the butter into the flour just until the pieces are about the size of peas.
- After the butter is the size of peas, slowly add the ice water to the flour mixture a little at a time. Combine with a rubber spatula. Continue to add water until the dough comes together. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap. Use your hands to flatten each ball of dough into a disc.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 to 2 hours. This will allow the dough to rest and will ensure that all of the flour is properly moistened. The dough will keep like this in your refrigerator for up to a week.
- After the pie dough has chilled, roll out one disc of dough on a well-floured surface using a floured rolling pin.
- When you have rolled the dough into a 12-inch circle, transfer to a pie dish. The easiest way to do this is by draping the dough on the rolling pin, lifting it over the dish, and unrolling it. You can then use your hands to press the dough into the dish. The dough should hang over the edges.
Wrap the pie dish in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out the second disc of dough into a 12-inch circle using the same method described above. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Place the dough on a baking sheet for easy transfer. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
For more Southern desserts, download a free, printable copy of The Best Easy Pie Recipes: 14 Southern Recipes for Pie.
- Peel, core, and slice the apples. We used an apple peeler and corer, but you could also do it by hand. If doing it by hand, make sure that the sliced apples are a uniform thickness. A thickness of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch is ideal.
- Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sugar, spices, lemon zest, cornstarch, and salt.
- Toss the sugar mixture with the sliced apples. Make sure that all of the apples are evenly coated.
- Preheat your oven with a baking sheet place on the middle rack.
- Spoon the apple pie filling into the dough-lined pie dish. Use a spatula to press the filling down as needed. This is a lot of filling, so the apples will be mounded in the center.
- Unwrap the second circle of dough and drape it over the apple filling. Use your fingers to press and seal the edges of the top and bottom crust together. Use kitchen shears to trim the excess dough around the edge of the dish. Tuck the dough under itself on the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edge with a fork or your fingers. Using a paring knife, cut four slits into the top of the crust to vent. Use a pastry brush to brush the crust with an egg wash (one egg lightly beaten with a tablespoon of water).
- Optional: Sprinkle the top of the pie with coarse sugar.
- Place the pie on the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake the pie until it is golden brown and the juices have bubbled up slightly. The pie will be very buttery and juicy, so the baking sheet is very important for catching spillage.
- If the edge of the pie gets too brown while baking, use a pie crust shield to keep the crust from burning.
- After removing the pie from the oven, place it on a wire rack to cool. Allow the pie to cool for at least 2 hours. This will allow the pie to settle and for the filling to thicken.
- After the pie has cooled, slice, serve, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
For the full apple pie recipe, be sure to check out Texas-Sized Apple Pie.
- If you would prefer to use a food processor to make the pie dough, mix the flour mixture together in the processor and then sprinkle with the cubed butter. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Working quickly, transfer the flour and butter mixture to a large bowl. Incorporate the ice water into the mixture as described above. Although it is tempting, do NOT use the food processor to incorporate the water into the dough. The food processor's blade with continue to cut the butter into smaller and smaller pieces and the final crust will not be as flaky and tender.
- You can also make the pie dough by freezing the butter and then grating it using the coarse side of a box grater. The grated butter can then be tossed with the flour. Next, incorporate the ice water into the mixture as described above. This method is rather strenuous, but it will ensure that you have perfect chunks of butter running throughout the crust. For more information on using this method, see our recipe for Better-Than-Anything Peach Slab Pie.
- The pie dough can be made through step 7 and then frozen. If freezing, make sure to wrap the dough in additional layers of plastic wrap. It will keep in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. Allow the dough to thaw in the refrigerator before using.
- Granny Smith is our preferred variety of apple for making apple pie. The apples are pleasantly tart and will hold their shape when baking.
- We prefer our apple pie filling to have a hint of citrus. If you would like your filling to be sweeter, omit the lemon zest.
- If you cannot find coarse sugar, regular granulated sugar can be sprinkled over the crust before baking instead.
- If you do not own a pie crust shield, you can make one out of tinfoil. Place it around the edges of the crust to keep it from burning, but leave the center uncovered so that it can continue to brown.
- The longer the pie cools, the better. The juices in the filling will run everywhere if you cut into the pie before it is properly cooled.
- For more information on the tools we used to make this apple pie, check out our review of Mrs. Anderson's Baking Tools.
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