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Mastering the Apple Pie (with Recipe)

  • Author: joshisbaking
  • Prep Time: 1 Hour
  • Chill Time: 2 Hours. 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 Hour
  • Total Time: ~4 Hours. 30 Minutes (with Chill Time)
  • Yield: (1) 9in. Apple Pie


Tons of tips & trips to help you master that apple pie this year with that sought-after flaky crust and juicy-sweet apple filling. This post is sponsored by Yes! Apples.

The pie dough recipe is from pie queen Erin McDowell over on Food52. It’s my go-to crust recipe! Definitely check out her cookbook “The Book on Pie” for more tips & recipes.


Units Scale

Pie Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (300g), spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter (226g)
  • 1/2 cup ice water, more as needed (~115g)

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (30g)
  • 67 medium apples peeled, cored, thinly sliced (1/4 inch) (~2 lbs. after slicing)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (155g)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (55g)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (2g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (12g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (8g)
  • 12 tablespoons corn starch (8-15g)


  • 1 large egg (50g), lightly whisked for egg wash
  • 2 Tablespoons turbinado/demerara sugar for sprinkling overtop (can also just use granulated)


Make the Dough

  1. Cut your butter into 1/2 inch cubes, place on a small plate in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to keep firm (you want your butter cold before using in the dough).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour and salt until combined. Add your cold, cubed butter to the flour and toss to coat. Working quickly, squish each piece of butter between two fingers to create flat little “shingles” of butter (you can alternate between this and rubbing the two together with both hands). Work until you’re left with a good mix of walnut half and pea-sized butter pieces.
  3. Make a well in the center of your mixture and add about half of your ice water. Toss the two together until incorporated, adding your water a tablespoon at a time after that until a somewhat crumbly dough comes together (you want to err on the side of crumbly, yet still generally hold together—you don’t want it to be wet and sticky).
  4. Split the dough in two, form each half into discs, wrap both tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. After that hour (working one disc at a time), on a lightly floured surface, roll out each disc into a large ~10 inch square. Then, fold it in half from top to bottom and then from left to right, so that you’re left with a smaller square. Repeat this entire process one more time (rolling and folding a total of 2 times), wrap it tightly in plastic, and chill in the fridge for 1 more hour before using. Repeat with the other disc of dough.

Make the Filling

  1. After you’ve peeled, cored, and thinly sliced your apples—toss them with the lemon juice in a strainer set over a bowl. The lemon juice will help keep them from browning while you prep everything else.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, melt your butter over medium heat. Add your apples, tossing to coat them in the melted butter. Then, add both sugars, all your spices, and salt, tossing to evenly coat the apples. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add your apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract, tossing to combine. Then add your flour and 1 tablespoon of corn starch. Cook for 3-5 minutes more until the mixture has thickened (if it hasn’t thickened enough, you can add another tablespoon of corn starch and cook for about another 2 minutes).
  4. Take off the heat and let the mixture cool before using (you can spread it into an even layer on a large baking sheet to help cool down faster).

Assembling the Pie

  1. While the apple filling cools down, prep your dough. Take one disc out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out into a 12 inch circle about a 1/4 inch thick (if things get sticky: sprinkle some flour on top of the dough, gently flip it over, sprinkle some flour on top again and continue rolling).
    1. TIP: Rather than struggling to roll the dough into a perfect circle, roll it out until 1/4 inch thick, place your 9 inch pie pan upside down in the middle, and cut out a circle leaving an extra inch or two around the pie pan. That way you know you have plenty of overhang to work with and can use the scraps to make your leaf stamp cutouts on top if using.
  2. Help the dough settle into the crevices of your pie pan, making sure you have about an inch or two of overhang around the outside. Place in the fridge to keep cold.
  3. Take out your other disc of dough and if not doing a lattice, roll into another 12 inch circle and place in the fridge to keep cold until ready to use. For a lattice: roll into a large rectangle (~12×14 inches) and cut lengthwise into (12) 1 inch strips (if your filling still needs to cool, just place these on a baking sheet in the fridge to keep cold until ready to use).
  4. Once your filling has cooled, gently pour it over your dough in the pan, evening out with a spatula. Then either lattice your pie for the top or just do a normal double crust (No Lattice: See notes below).
    1. Lattice: See the blog above or notes below for how to lattice your pie crust.
  5. If your dough is starting to get a bit too loose/warm after assembling the lattice, pop it into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm back up before crimping (see the blog above or notes below for how to crimp your crust.)
  6. Once your pie is completely assembled, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.

Baking the Pie

  1. While your pie is in the freezer, preheat the oven to 400°F with your rack in the middle position. Lightly whisk your egg for the egg wash and have your sugar ready to sprinkle overtop.
  2. Once it’s ready to bake, brush the top of your dough with the egg wash (I like to be generous for a darker crust) and then sprinkle your sugar overtop.
    1. Make sure to brush the entire top, including the sides of the crust.
  3. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes on the center rack. Then, lower the temperature to 375°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes (covering the crust at any point with foil if it starts to brown too much).
  4. Let it cool down for several hours before serving.


How to Lattice Your Pie Crust

  • Evenly place 6 of your strips horizontally across the pie pan.
  • Lift 3 alternating strips (start on either side—lift that first strip, skip one, lift the second, skip one, lift the third) all the way back on themselves until they’re basically at the edge.
  • Place one of your unused strips perpendicular (vertically in this case) on top of the strips still laying flat, making sure it’s nestled up against the strips you folded back. Fold back down those initial 3 strips overtop the one you just laid down.
  • Now fold the other 3 strips back (the ones you left flat the first time) so that they fold over the vertical strip. Place another unused strip perpendicular on top again and unfold your 3 strips overtop that. Keep alternating and placing strips vertically until your remaining 4 strips are used!
  • Trim the excess bits of your strips around the edge so that they line up with the outside edge of the dough in your pan (see image above in the blog). Then fold your the bottom piece of dough overtop and inward over your strips, tucking them together tightly and pressing to help seal.

No Lattice: Place your second circle of dough on top, press around the edges to help seal, trimming any excess. Fold the top piece of dough over and under the bottom, pressing down gently as you fold and work your way around the outside edge to seal. Cut a small “x” in the middle to allow steam to escape during the bake.

How to Crimp Your Crust

  • Start anywhere around the curst and with your non-dominant hand, form pinchers with your thumb and index finger. Rest these on the outside edge of the dough as if you’re going to push it inwards.
  • Using your dominant index finger on the inside edge of the dough, push outward into the little v-shaped crevice made by your “pinchers.”
  • Let your dominant index finger do most of the pushing and only slightly press inwards with the v-shape of your other two fingers.
  • Start the next crimp right next to where the first one ended and work your way around the pie until you’re back where you started.

Check out this article here for another walkthrough (and other fun options) on how to crimp your pie crust!