The image of any down-home American table has a golden brown apple pie sitting proudly somewhere front and center. There’s no denying our love for tart apples and warm cinnamon goes on whether we buy or make it ourselves—but that latter leaves even a seasoned cook shivering in their britches.
Unfortunately, many people shy away from baking a homemade pie because making a crust from scratch feels so intimidating. In this recipe, we’re going to use a homemade crust, but if you don’t want to go that route it’s perfectly fine to use a store bought one. Refrigerated crusts are particularly good these days. Simply give them a few minutes to warm on the counter, roll them out and go. There’s no shame in your game. If you’re feeling up to it, don’t be afraid to make your own crust. Even if it’s not perfect, you can be proud you made it. A few holes or patches won’t change the flavor at all.
Tips for a great crust
- Keep your ingredients cold. That means using cold butter or vegetable shortening and cold water during mixing and letting your crust chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling. This makes the crust easier to work with and ensures it’s flaky when it bakes.
- For a more tender crust, use a food processor to blend the fat into the flour. If you don’t have a food processor it’s fine to use your fingers or two knives to cut it in.
- Choose the right fat. Some people enjoy a blend of butter and vegetable shortening in their crust and others just use one of these. Years ago cooks used only animal-based lard. You can still go this route if you choose, but remember lard is a saturated fat and not your healthiest choice even if it does produce a truly amazing crust.
- After adding the water to your flour, work it until it just comes together. If it looks a little crumbly around the edges, bring it together on your plastic wrap and chill. It will be fine.
- If your dough cracks when you try to roll it, it may be too cold. Allow it to sit on the counter 5 minutes or so and then try again. You can push any cracks together with your fingers.
- To transfer your dough to a pie tin, turn your tin upside down on your dough and cut a circle 2 inches bigger than your tin. Remove the tin and roll the circle up over your rolling pin—then unroll it over your pie tin for a perfect fit.
- To avoid a soggy bottom crust, you can preheat a baking sheet in the oven on 400 degrees Fahrenheit then place your pie tin on it. The heat in the baking sheet is transferred into the crust and helps it crisp more quickly.
A few thoughts on apples
For the best contrast in flavor, use a tart apple that won’t make a lot of juice and flood your pie. Granny Smith apples are a great choice and their tartness is nice against the sugar in the filling. If you’re worried about your apples getting brown, a squeeze of lemon juice can stop the process. But it’s really nothing to worry about—by the time you add the cinnamon and it cooks, a little color change won’t be noticed at all. And most importantly, remember to cut your apples the same size. Whether you use slices or cubes, make them as close to the same as you can so they will cook evenly.
Are you ready to give this double crust apple pie a go? Show your friends and family (and yes, yourself) how heart warming a homemade apple pie can be. Get in the kitchen, get your hands dirty, and see how easy this classic can really be.
Double Crust Apple Pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/3 cups cold vegetable shortening, butter or a combination of both
- 10-14 tablespoons cold water
- 8 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and either sliced or cubed into ½ inch pieces
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 egg beaten with 1tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the Crust
In the bowl of a food processor or large bowl mix the flour, salt and shortening/butter. Process 30 seconds to break the fat into pea-size pieces. If using your hands, work the flour and fat together until pea size pieces are formed. Add the water 10 tablespoons first and one tablespoon at a time after until the dough will hold together without being overly sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400.
Stir together the apples, cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
Divide the dough into two parts and roll the first half on a floured surface until it’s at least two inches larger than your pie tin. Trim away any excess dough. Roll your crust around your rolling pin and transfer to your tin unrolling it from one side to the other, pressing it lightly in to place.
Add the apples and set aside.
Repeat the rolling process to make your top crust. Place it over the apples and trim away any excess dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Crimp the edges with your fingers or use a fork to bind the top and bottom crusts together. Trim even with the edge of your tin.
Cut four slits in the center of your pie for steam to escape. Brush the top crust with the egg mixture and sprinkle evenly with the sugar.
Bake until golden brown and bubbling, rotating once, about 50 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the top begins to get too dark. Serve warm or chill and serve it cold.