Essentials: Apple Pie

I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the history and development of apple pie as an American symbol. For a while I thought of integrating a journal component as I taught myself how to bake apple pies. That component didn't make it too far, but I did end up baking a lot of apple pies that year.

I documented the recipe I was using at the time in an appendix to my project, but what I'm doing now is a little bit different. I LOVE playing around with heirloom apple varieties.  I think they can make or break a really fantastic apple pie.

2015's Apple Pie

Putting the YUM in autumn.


  • double crust pie dough
  • 6-7 apples (ideally 2 Twenty Ounce and a few Northern Spy and Wolf River)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 TBS instant tapioca
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (ideally Ceylon)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 2 TBS butter (for dotting)

OPTIONAL TOP CRUST ACCOUTREMENT: 1 egg + 2 tsp turbinado sugar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel, core, and slice your apples so they're all approximately the same size. Dump apple slices into a large bowl with all your dry ingredients (sugars, flour, tapioca, etc) and mix together with your hands until the apples are thoroughly coated. Set aside.

Roll out your first piece of pie dough and line your pie plate. Stick in the fridge to chill.

Roll out your SECOND piece of pie dough. Figure out how you want to style the top of your pie--you could do a full crust with vents or a tightly woven lattice etc etc--but just keep in mind that you want to keep your apples juicy so you don't want to leave too much of your filling exposed. If you do a lattice, keep it tight. After you've planned your top, you can start assembling this big ol' mess.

Grab your pie plate from the fridge and fill it with handfuls of apples so you don't get the crust too soggy with the apple juice liquid sugar mixture you have brewing in the bottom of your filling bowl. Pack your apples tightly together to avoid the dreaded roof space between the pie crust and filling. Once you've used up all your apples, dot with butter (I always forget this step!!), and pour the remaining apple sugar mixture over the top.

Slap your top crust on top of your filling and trim/crimp your edges together to seal in all that deliciousness. Cut vents in your pie crust if you didn't do a lattice. OPTIONAL ACCOUTREMENT: brush your top crust with your beaten egg and a pastry brush and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Stick that baby in the oven. Put a baking sheet on the oven rack beneath it to catch drips JUST IN CASE.

After 15 minutes, drop the temp to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and let bake for another 45 minutes. Remove after 45 minutes or when the filling is bubbling. Let cool and serve as is or a la mode

Quality breakfast fodder and best consumed within 3 days.